March 31, 2006
Don't forget! There are elections in three Shawnee wards on Tuesday, April 4th. DO NOT miss this opportunity to exercise your right to vote. Vote like you had to fight for it – thousands of Americans are fighting for you today, and millions in Iraq only dreamed of this chance until recently. Honor our friends and neighbors in the military by exercising your vote on Tuesday!
Articles on the races:
Editorial, March 28: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/14200124.htm
New pictures of the deliberative democracy forum on the website: http://www.stephaniesharp.com/photo_album/photos/index_html?slide=5
**Correction on Constitutional Amendment 5032 from last week's Record, it needed 84 votes, and failed. I didn't catch the change on my template, mea culpa…
Education and Personal Activities
Commerce and Labor
Governmental Organizations and Elections
Can I just say that you never cease to amaze me? I am consistently impressed with how involved, informed, and active you are as voters.
As a result of the KS Board of Education's actions last week, I
asked for your thoughts about "S education" being offered as opt-in for
all students, or opt-out.
Of the 50 responses I received on that issue alone, only 3 supported an opt-in policy which would provide "S education" only to those students whose parents signed permission slips to participate in the class. Some points you made need repeating, and some I never considered…
§ Kids and selective information to parents – if kids don't want to see an embarrassing movie, the slip may never make it home
§ Forgery. OK, let's face it, parents' signatures change… J
§ One person mentioned opt-in policies are anti-woman – our society encourages men to have "conquests". Men who make conquests are praised, yet women, well, you know the word that is used…
§ Pregnancy and birth are health issues for women and informed women make for a better society for all of us.
§ Additionally, women are at higher risk for STDs because of our physiology.
This week, we are considering a lot of bills that have been mentioned here before, but are at different stages of their legislative lives. You may have noticed I have changed my verbiage to say "Bill passed the House XX-XX," instead of just "Bill passed…" It can be very confusing because bills can be bounced back and forth a couple of times throughout a session.
Conference Committee Report: When a bill has passed the House and the Senate, but were amended in the process (in committee or on the floor), so they look different when they passed each chamber. The exact same bill must pass both chambers in order to hit the Governor's desk.
§ Exception: If one chamber makes amendments, and the other chamber doesn't mind the changes, they can just concur on the changes and the bill is sent to the Governor for her signature.
So, the chair, vice-chair, and ranking minority member of the Senate and House committees on the bill's subject (Judiciary, Health, etc.) get together and work out the differences in the bill. The House members are supposed to support and negotiate the version that left the House, and likewise for the Senate. When a compromise bill is developed, the conference committee sends a report to the Senate and House. The compromise must pass both chambers in order to be considered by the Governor.
I've tried to parse out the bills that are headed to the Governor, where we voted on the conference committee report, under a separate section below.
Education and Personal Activities
As you probably heard, the Senate killed three education plans this week. It's pretty obvious they aren't up for re-election this year and have no incentive to work together, get the job done, and avoid a Special Session. That's my rant for the day.
What do you think about a blog spot on my newsletter?
Seemed like a lot of bills, but none that were too interesting. We worked a lot last week, so this week seemed fairly vanilla. Read on:
A bill allowing the sale of Kansas wine at the KS State Fair was amended to allow wine shipment to Kansas. Right now, if you go to www.wine.com or other internet wine sites, you cannot have your wine delivered to a Kansas address. An amendment to this bill would allow wine to be shipped directly to your home address or as a gift to another friend in Kansas.
Bill: SB 297 http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2006/297.pdf
Bill passed the House 63-62. I voted YES. Bill is headed to conference committee.
Fred Phelps bill - unlawful to picket a funeral…
In response to the picketing of funerals of soldiers who have fallen in Iraq, and out of respect to their loved ones, the House made changes this week to the Kansas Funeral Picketing Act. SB 421 would amend the Kansas Funeral Picketing Act by prohibiting persons from engaging in picketing or a directed march within 300 yards of any entrance to any cemetery, church, mortuary, or other location where a funeral is held or conducted. The prohibition would commence within one hour prior to, during, and two hours following the commencement of a funeral. Picketers also would be prohibited from blocking public access while engaged in picketing or protesting.
Bill: SB 421 http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2006/421.pdf
Bill passed the House 125-0. I voted YES. Bill is headed to conference committee.
Abortion information bill - This has been one of the most interesting bills of my tenure with regard to constituent communications. Usually I receive a handful of emails about an abortion bill, but this one was an anomaly. The underlying bill would open up a lot of information on who, what, when, where, why an abortion happened. I had some concerns about HIPAA and basic privacy issues, but not one constituent asked me to support it, and about three dozen people asked me to oppose it. Moreover, 90 percent of the communications were from people who had never contacted me before and have not received the newsletter. A couple of those were older women who called, had never called before, and don't have email addresses. On this issue, I normally receive a lot of form letters generated from organizations on either side. I received more contacts on this bill than any other abortion bill, ever, and from folks who had never contacted me before, and weren't responding to a form letter or push poll.
Bill: SB 528 http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2006/528.pdf
Bill passed the House 77-48. I voted NO. Bill is headed to conference committee.
PS: For those new folks, welcome to the Sharp Record!
Bills headed to the Governor (passed House &
Scruffy/Magnum - The conference committee on SB 408, the animal cruelty legislation, ended up with a great product I think you will like.
Conference Committee report passed the House 116-7. I voted YES.
Gift Certificate bill – This is Representative Huff's protection of your gifts - make sure that $100 wedding gift is actually $100 when the recipient spends it, that it hasn't been reduced by fees or rendered null and void by an expiration date.
Conference Committee report passed the House 96-27. I voted YES.
Johnson County Statehouse Hotline - Call Topeka for free! Dial 913.715.5000 and ask for your Representative or Senator. If you don't know, simply give them your address and they'll head you in the right direction!
Please do not hesitate to contact me about these or any other issues of interest to you. I appreciate the opportunity to represent you in Topeka.
Rep. Stephanie Sharp
17th District, Kansas House
Serving Lenexa and Shawnee
Topeka phone: 785-296-7654 (Note: this is a change from last year.)