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Report from the Legislative Front

The 2014 Kansas legislative session is in full swing. Unlike the last two years, where well-supported bills to overhaul parts of the Kansas workers compensation, wage payment, and unemployment laws were on the agenda, this year there are no major employment law bills on the horizon. But there are bills that would have collateral impact on the employer-employee relationship if they become law. One such bill is House Bill 2473, which addresses a variety of issues relating to the possession of firearms. 

Many of the bill’s proposed changes relate to municipal ordinances, the disposition of firearms confiscated by courts, or criminal laws. Most notably, the bill would prevent municipalities from enacting or enforcing laws that restrict the open carrying of firearms.
The bill contains several provisions relevant to municipal employees, including the following: 
  • Municipalities are prohibited from requiring an employee to disclose whether the employee possesses a valid license to carry a concealed handgun. 
  • Municipalities may not terminate, demote, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against an employee due to the employee’s refusal to disclose the fact that the employee possesses a valid license to carry a concealed handgun. 
  • Municipalities cannot create or maintain any record of whether an employee possesses a valid license to carry a concealed handgun or that the employee has disclosed that he or she possesses such a license.   
  • Municipalities may not be held liable for any wrongful act or omission related to the actions of any person carrying a firearm, including employees. 
  • Municipalities may prohibit the unconcealed carrying of a firearm in municipal buildings, so long as the building is conspicuously posted in accordance with the rules and regulations issued by the attorney general.   
  • Cities and counties may adopt and enforce any ordinance relating to the personnel policies of the city or county and the carrying of firearms by employees, except that any ordinance must comply with the Personal and Family Protection Act, which governs the concealed carrying of firearms.  
House Bill 2473 also provides that it is lawful for individuals legally possessing a firearm, regardless of whether they have a concealed carry license, to possess, store, carry, or transport a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle. This bill doesn't say whether private employers may prohibit employees who don't have a concealed carry license from keeping a loaded handgun in their vehicle while they're on company business or on company property.
The House has not yet voted on this bill. We’ll keep you up to date on this and other employment-law-related legislative developments.

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Don Berner, the Labor Law, OSHA, & Immigration Law Guy
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Boyd Byers, the General Employment Law Guy
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Jason Lacey, the Employee Benefits Guy
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