Archive for Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Proposal would put chapel in the Capitol

February 28, 2012, 7:00 a.m.

Updated: February 29, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

— Legislators this week are expected to consider a proposal to set aside space in the Statehouse for an all-faiths chapel.

House Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, has proposed a place “reserved for prayer and meditation in the state Capitol building.”

Siegfreid’s House Bill 2694 says that belief in God, prayer and meditation have played a significant part in the history of the United States and Kansas. A hearing on his bill is scheduled Wednesday and Thursday before the House Federal and State Affairs Committee.

Asked about the proposal Friday, several legislators said it could raise some legal issues.

“A lot of us pray here, constantly,” said Senate Republican Leader Jay Scott Emler, R-Lindsborg. But he said legislators would need to get a legal opinion on whether they could put a chapel in the Capitol.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said he didn’t think putting a chapel in the Statehouse was necessary. He noted that there are several large churches across the street from the Capitol.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said that Gov. George Docking, who was governor from 1957 to 1961, vetoed putting a chapel in the Statehouse because he suspected legislators would hide their whiskey in it.

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