The issue? Immigration.
The Republican from Hutchinson nailed this one. And on Friday, House Republicans sided with O'Neal and blocked debate on an immigration bill.
were itching for a fight, which, not surprisingly, was fueled by the
state's activist secretary of state, Kris Kobach. Kobach, who gave this
state its voter fraud law, helped draft Arizona's and Alabama's
controversial and legally-challenged immigration laws.
Other GOP lawmakers supported an immigration bill of a different sort. They wanted to create a program that placed some illegal immigrants in hard-to-fill jobs in agriculture and other industries. Influential business groups blocked that plan.
Helping small and large ag producers retain their immigrant workforces is worthy of debate. Unfortunately, given the political climate in Kansas and the nation, the discussion would have devolved quickly into an argument that likely would put the fear of God into legal immigrants, as did the laws passed in Arizona and Alabama.
O'Neal didn't have a dog in this fight, and he preferred fellow lawmakers avoid what was sure to be a bloodbath over immigration.
issue isn't nearly as easy as what you are planning to put on your
postcards," O'Neal told the GOP caucus this week, referring to election
campaigns this year.
Yet O'Neal received some push-back earlier this week from Republicans who said their constituents were demanding action on immigration.
The speaker held his ground, though, and leaned on the support of
moderate Republicans, some of whom don't trust GOP conservatives to give
the immigration debate a fair hearing.
going to look bad, and who's going to win?" Dan Kerschen, R-Belle
Plaine said earlier this week. "The Democrats are going to sit over
there and say, 'Look at them, they're imploding.' "