TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas lawmakers have failed to revive a bill establishing parents’ rights to object to certain educational materials. 

The Kansas House voted 78-45, failing to reach the constitutional majority needed to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of House Bill 2236. The Senate voted 23-17 to pass the bill in March, also falling short of the 27 votes needed for a veto-proof vote.

The bill would have established the parents’ right to direct the education, upbringing and moral or religious training of their children including the right to object to harmful and inappropriate educational materials.

Some lawmakers argued against the bill, during debates earlier this month, stating that it was unnecessary, given current protections that are in place.

“This protection already exists in the United States Constitution… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” said Representative Silas Miller, D- Wichita.

“You already have the right to have a moral objection to something that your students are learning. Writing laws that protect moral or religious exemptions… it’s going to go too broad.”

However, Rep. Susan Estes, a Republican from Wichita who carried the bill, said there is a reason to have the measure in place. During initial debates in the House, she argued that the issue is not addressed in the education section of the state’s constitution.

Estes claimed that the bill only applies to the officially adopted curriculum in the district. 

“When I as a parent and have had objections and gone to the teachers of my children, they’ve been happy to give us an alternative assignment, but what we heard in committee were parents who not only went to their teacher… they went to their principal and higher up in the school district… and did not have their concerns addressed and did not have alternative assignments that could be offered,” Estes said. “If there is one family who are denied their rights, we need to address it.”