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Investigation Into Comments Made By Democratic Kansas Lawmaker Continues Friday

Stephen Koranda

Friday is the final ceremonial day of the 2015 Kansas legislative session. In many years, there’s no real legislative work done on the last day, but this year there will be an investigative hearing on comments made earlier this session by a Democratic state representative from Kansas City.

Representative Valdenia Winn faces a formal complaint signed by nine Republicans. They don’t like comments she made about a bill amending tuition rules at Kansas universities. It would have taken away in-state tuition for some Kansas students who are in the country illegally.

Winn railed against the bill during a hearing, which caught the ire of Republican Representative John Barker.

“I want to apologize to the students and their parents whose lives are being hijacked by the racist bigots who support this bill,” said Winn.

“Mr. chairman, I object. She's just referred to this committee as racist and bigoted,” said Barker.

Democrats say the comments are protected by Winn’s free speech rights. The Republicans who signed the complaint against her say Winn stepped over the line.

A group of six lawmakers will decide if Winn should face any punishment. Their ruling would then need to be approved by the full Kansas House.