March 9, 2007
Heading down the home stretch, we finally have an agreement on the schedule for adjournment. The last day for committees to meet will be March 23rd. March 26-28 we will be on the floor all day, and conference committees will meet all day March 29 and 30. April 2-3 will be floor days again, with the 3rd being the last day of the regular session.
PAGES: These deadlines change my page schedule a bit! I had pages on March 29th and 30th, but we won’t be in session those days. Mary wrestled a few more page days though, if your student would like to come to Topeka for the day.
March 26th, April 2nd, and April 3rd are all available for as many students as I can get! Reply to this email ASAP if your student can come to Topeka on those days.
Education and Personal Activities
Commerce & Labor
Government Efficiency & Technology
• Dead Sea Scrolls invitation: We’re about 8 folks shy of the threshold for cheap tickets for this exhibit. If you would like to join us on April 14th, let me know!
• Senator Julia Lynn (if you live in Lenexa south of 79th but west of Maurer, and you live in my district, she is your Senator) is also sending a frequent email newsletter. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to join her list.
• CORRECTION!!!! HB 2314, the accounting bill, I reported to you that I voted YES, but I voted NO. I opposed the bill because I do not feel 150 hours is needed for an accounting license. We should have two separate levels of CPA licensing – those who intend to practice in-state should only be required to attain an undergraduate degree and pass the CPA exam. If a student wishes to practice across state lines, they should have to be compliant with the Uniform Accounting Act, which requires 150 hours.
To be honest, this has been another “rats and cats” week on the House floor. We have had dozens of bills from the consent calendar (I discussed that a week or so ago), where bills are placed if they are non-controversial. Seriously, we ran a bill that changed a comma; we handled about four wildlife/big game bills, a mortuary bill and a fireworks bill. None of them were controversial or of broad interest.
Education and Personal Activities
It has been a crazy week in the House! In addition to very busy committees, I have been training the Republican caucus how to improve/enhance their constituent communications. The biggest hurdle for those of us in politics is learning to speak in “plain talk”. In fact, governors in Florida and Washington recently instituted “plain talk” initiatives in their states, going as far as to hold trainings for state employees to learn how to speak without the jargon and acronyms standard to governments.
Commerce & Labor
SB 292 (http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2008/292.pdf) deletes a provision in current law that holds general contractors liable for the unpaid unemployment contributions, penalties, and interest. Seems pretty sensible to me! If you run a business and you subcontract, why should your responsibilities as a business change when you are subcontracting? Someone else should not be liable for your responsibilities.
SB 210 (http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2008/210.pdf) deems county treasurers as agents of the state for the purpose of issuing driver’s licenses and state-issued ID cards.
HB 2559 (http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2008/2559.pdf) regulates “MUTs” which are micro-utility trucks you may have seen lately. Due to rapidly changing environmental standards in Japan, these trucks no longer meet regulations in Japan, but still run fine, and are being exported to the U.S. to be used in light work around farms. They are traditionally retrofitted to comply with U.S. safety regulations, but are right-hand drive. This bill would prohibit these vehicles from driving on roads with a speed limit higher than 55 mph. The bill also sets up regulations on how they are tagged and registered.
Government Efficiency & Technology
We held hearings all week on the KU Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital affiliation. CEO of KU Hospital, Irene Cumming, addressed the committee on Monday with the hospital’s concerns about a perceived loss of physicians, a reduction in residents, and increased competition from St. Luke’s.
Reggie Robinson, President of the KS Board of Regents presented the Regent’s perspective on Wednesday. The Board has not been very involved in the process, and I don’t know that it’s their place to micromanage the institutions anyway. He did not seem to have concerns about the affiliation, but was interested in the medical school and hospital working out their differences before moving forward.
Dr. Barbara Atkinson, Executive Vice-Chancellor of KU Medical School presented their case on Thursday. The medical school does not have concerns about the affiliation because it only expands current affiliations with St. Luke’s, similar to other arrangements with hospitals where residents are currently serving, and will continue to serve.
• Some expressed concerns about a reduction in services at the Wichita branch of the medical school. Rural health across our state has become a major concern to the legislature, and an increasing focus at KU Med. I asked a constituent for help understanding the statewide ramifications of this proposal. A 17th District constituent, Dr. Mike Kennedy is the Assistant Dean of Rural Health at KU and is slated to be the President of the KS Academy of Family Physicians next year. It is convenient to have such experts right here in our backyard! Dr. Kennedy is excited about the opportunities this affiliation present for rural health in Kansas, including the Wichita campus. Expanding this affiliation will enable the school to accept 100 extra medical students over the next few years.
My conclusion? A rising tide raises all boats.
• KS Assn of Insurance and Financial Advisors legislative day with constituents Lee Thaete, Paul Ridgway, and Maury Loridon
• Blue Valley NEA, Dr. Al Hanna and 5th grade teacher Ryan (I can’t find his last name!)
• MS Society Day at the Capitol, met with constituent Dr. Sharon Lynch
• Met with Senator Dave Kerr about the KU Hospital/KU Med/St. Luke’s Hospital affiliation discussions
• Shawnee Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs meeting
Last Week’s Question: It’s a current event – These Johnson County musicians are “going places”. Who are they? Where are they today, March 4th, and what are they doing? (Today is the day/date you email your answers.) What is TG4? Where will they be in the evening on March 17?
Winner and Answer: Bryan Redmond of Roeland Park with the band Grand Marquis had the correct answer. His answer: The Elders will be in Ireland March 4th, taping for an Irish TV show "Ardan." TG4 is an Irish national network, speaking entirely Gaelic. March 17th is their 5th annual Hoolie at the Uptown Theatre.
We played a festival with them last year.
Email my session assistant, Mary Koles at email@example.com to answer the question. The first correct answer received to that address will win a prize, and recognition with the correct answer in next week’s Sharp Record.
Question: A top amateur player in the 1950s and 1960s with a lifetime record of outstanding service to the golf industry, this native Kansan is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and the first woman elected president of USGA. Who is she? What is the name and purpose of the $50-million initiative the association implemented under her leadership? What is the title of her autobiography? Bonus/tie breaker question: Name the amateur who turned pro during her tenure as president and report where he will be March 15-18, 2007.
This week’s winner will win something golf related, but I need to find something cool!
Find your long lost CASH!!! http://www.kansascash.com/prodweb/up/disclaimer_page.php
Keep Kansas Sharp Blog: www.keepkansassharp.blogspot.com
Kansas Legislature: http://www.kslegislature.org
KS Ethics Commission: http://www.kansas.gov/ethics/
KS Legislative Research: http://skyways.lib.ks.us/ksleg/KLRD/klrd.html
Johnson County Election Office - www.jocoelection.org
Spring Primary Election information:
Voter Look-Up: See your sample ballot!
Advance Voting starts March 27th:
* March 27 - March 30
Tuesday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
* March 31
Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
* April 2
Monday 9:00 a.m. to noon
Johnson County Statehouse Hotline! Call Topeka for free – 913-715-5000 and ask to speak with your Representative or Senator.
Next week’s committee schedule: See anything of interest to you?
House Agenda: http://www.kslegislature.org/agstat/2007/ha0309.pdf
Senate Agenda: http://www.kslegislature.org/agstat/2007/sa0309.pdf
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