April 4, 2003
April 4, 2003
Dear Friends: My week started with a bang – I was very honored to present American and Kansas flags and a resolution from the Kansas House to Chris Liston of Shawnee, and a student at SM Northwest, for earning the Eagle Scout Award. What a great example of Shawnee Mission students. Congratulations, Chris! We are all proud of you.
1. Floor Action
Sub SB 144 – If you remember from last week, the House killed this bill on insurance scoring because of some discriminatory amendments, but the Senate version of the bill was conferenced into another bill without the House floor amendments. So, the “clean” bill came back and passed the House. See http://www.ksinsurance.org/other/press_releases/2003-02-11/2003-02-11.pdf for more information.
SB 82 – School advisory boards. This puts the decision on continuation or elimination of school advisory boards in the hands of the local school boards. A board can pass a resolution to eliminate the boards if they choose. Voters in the district would then submit petitions from five percent of the district’s electorate in order to put the question to a ballot vote.
Governor’s Revenue Proposal – You probably saw the news about Governor’s revenue proposal. Or, as the Freshmen call it, “shell games.” We had the opportunity to vote against two parts of that proposal this week: 1) laundering tobacco settlement funds dedicated for children and issuing $175 of revenue bonds that would be paid back over 15 years without making payments on the principal debt until FY 2008, and 2) accelerating property tax payments from June 20 to May 15, 2004. These kind of gimmicks move one-time money in and out of fiscal years where it is convenient. They do not solve any of our problems. Many of us are discussing options to truly solve the state’s problems, not merely Band-Aid them for next year.
Tobacco Settlement Securitization – We have been debating this for hours now. Again, this is another fiscally irresponsible, money-shifting mechanism. Securitizing all or a portion of the settlement monies gives us a lump sum now and reduces our payments in later years – reductions that are not taken into account in the current budgeting process. Looks like we have halted debate for now, though I am certain this issue will raise its head later. See http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0217.pdf for more information.
Sunday Sales – On a bill that brought the entire state into uniformity under the Liquor Control laws, I supported an amendment to allow counties to bring Sunday sales of alcohol to a vote. This bill does not open the state up to sales, but it gives counties local control of the issue. The bill passed and the amendments were removed in conference. There will be an “Agree to Disagree” motion which, if it passes, will send the bill back to conference committee because the House did not like that the conference committee removed its amendments.
2. Committee Action
NO ACTION in Ethics, Insurance, or Health
Commerce: We heard introductory testimony on SB 181 which tweaks the worker’s compensation laws with regard to pre-existing conditions. If you have personal stories from your own business or experience, I would like to hear about them. It is helpful for me to have examples from constituents when we hear the bill in full during the next session.
You recall from last week our friend Rep. Faber who proposed an amendment to prohibit cities and counties to raise sales taxes for schools? He just did it again and it passed! Fortunately, Rep. David Huff of Lenexa was carrying the bill and he urged the chamber to pass the bill out unfavorably, which in effect, kills the bill. That motion passed and the bill (and Faber’s amendment) is dead.
4. Answer to Week 4 Question of the Week
John Miller of Lenexa is the winner at 4:39 p.m. on Friday. Again, John wins a Seal of Kansas lapel pin.
The CORRECT answer was A, a desk and a chair. Six of you had the correct answer and four chose D which was “All of the above.” Computers, printers and fax machines can be purchased with campaign funds. Additionally, the file cabinets are not equipped for hanging files, so I purchased the file apparatus and a couple of boxes of files.
Attached you will find pictures of my office space and my two office-mates, Reps. Bob Bethell of Alden and Bill Light of Rolla. On the other side of the cubicle, I also share space with Reps. Lee Tafanelli of Ozawkie, Joe Humerickhouse of Osage City, and Jeff Goering of Wichita. The six of us share two secretaries.
5. Next week’s question!
There are 40 members of the Kansas Senate and 125 members of the Kansas House. What is the party breakdown (i.e. how many Republicans and Democrats in each chamber)?
Today is the final day of the regular session. We return on April 30 to start the veto session. During veto, we will work on the budget, revenue packages, and any bills the Governor vetoed while we were gone. What will I be doing during the break? A couple of “fun” things – I started a new job working for the Kansas Immunization Action Coalition. So I will be training during the break because following the veto session, I will start traveling nine key counties and talking to doctors about how to increase immunization rates among the Medicaid and HealthWave populations.
Additionally, my brother is getting married on April 19 in Estes Park, Colorado. As long as United does not go bankrupt before the 16th, I will be enjoying a couple of days with my ENTIRE family. My brother was working in Denver until February when he took a last minute transfer to Los Angeles – that was not in the plans when they set the wedding location!
Keep an eye on the news on April 22. That is the date of the next revenue estimate which will be used in our deliberations on the budget and any necessary revenue packages. My next update may not come until that week, when I have something to share that is worth cluttering your Inbox!
Although we are on a roll and more may happen yet this evening, I want to get this out the door. Until next time, have a great weekend and enjoy the KU game! Please let me know if I can be of assistance to you.
17th District, KS House
Serving Lenexa and Shawnee