February 27, 2004
FALSE ALARM!! Due to anticipated controversy, the vote on the marriage constitutional amendment was moved to next week. SO, if you have NOT replied with your vote, please submit it now. Let me compliment you. I have been incredibly impressed with the quality responses I have received on this issue. Yes, a handful have been purely emotional, and vehemently so. However, many, on both sides, are very thoughtful, thorough, and well versed responses. In an effort not to skew results from those who have not voted, I will wait until next week to share the findings.
Well folks, my dad would have been 57 this week, so this is my opportunity to sermonize and preach a little prevention. If you are over 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, have you had a colonoscopy? No, it’s not fun to talk about, but it really isn’t as bad as you might think, and I guarantee it isn’t as bad as surgery and chemotherapy! OK, I’m stepping off the soapbox now. Back to business.
Personal Activities and Education:
TOWN HALL MEETING
I have organized a Shawnee/Lenexa Town Hall Meeting! Tuesday, March 2, 7:00 pm, at the Trailridge Middle School Library (75th and Quivira). Confirmed attendees are: Sen. Nick Jordan and Reps. David Huff, Cindy Neighbor, and Rob Boyer. Sen. Kay O’Connor is a tentative.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be addressing many controversial issues. During an election year, it is quite popular for Members to introduce these issues to achieve “postcard votes”, or votes that could be used in elections, either positively or negatively against a candidate. What is truly frustrating is that these issues affect so few Kansans, yet they will take up a large majority of our time. The issues that affect most of us: education, bio/life sciences and economic development, transportation, and indeed the budget, will garner very little of our time for consideration on the floor. I will be taking polls of these issues in the next couple of editions of the Sharp Record. Please take a minute to respond, as they are very helpful to my decision-making. One such issue is concealed carry of handguns.
What do you think? Currently, Kansas law states that you can carry a weapon, so long as it is not concealed (gun rack, holster, etc.). Here is a link to the statute:
Should Kansans be allowed to carry a concealed weapon?
We passed a BUNCH of bills, but seriously, there isn’t anything even interesting enough to mention, that will come later in the session. Except – the Kansas Economic Growth Act. This is the one I’m really excited about. Just imagine if the state of Kansas could have an impact on cancer research? What if we found a new chemo that let people avoid nausea, fatigue, and hair loss? Heck – what if a cure was found in Kansas? Passed 119-6.
For the lawyers out there, we passed a court reorganization bill: Passed 64-61.
Passed: Trails bill – there was some confusion about the intent and outcome of this bill.
Because of the confusion and concerns from the district, I voted against the bill. It was not certain that the “kinks” could be worked out in the Senate, which we do a lot – pass bills that are OK, but need fixed, and hope the Senate fixes it before it comes back to us in conference committee. It passed 66-59.
Increased penalties for mistreatment of a dependent adult. This is if you defraud your sick grandma, we’re comin’ after ya’!
Died: Allowing Wichita to elect municipal court judges instead of appointed by the city council. This bill was awful. That’s what the electoral process is for, people. If you don’t like who your city council is appointing, elect different council members!
Commerce and Labor:
A bunch of Worker’s Compensation votes, recorded ones for those who are interested. There were three bills, all three had motions to refer to the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council for consideration. Of course, the WCAC has done NOTHING about the problems in the system, and they rarely meet. Moreover, it consists of 5 representatives from business and 5 representing employees. Unfortunately, all 5 employee representatives are union members. Just 10 percent of Kansas employees are unionized. You do the math!
We did not want these bills referred the committee mainly because we spent a great deal of time and we wanted the bills to pass or fail in the committee, not pass the buck to another entity where we know nothing will happen. In other words, it’s a good way to kill the issue...
Nothing happened in this committee on Tuesday, the last day to pass bills out of committee. Yes, you heard the gossip right. Of a 17 member committee, 10 of us boycotted the meeting on Tuesday due to the inappropriate behavior of the chair during hearings last week.
Many voters acquire political information from a media that thrives on the “train wreck effect”; voters don’t hear about the good, and only about the bad apples. By now, you know that I work very hard to dispel stereotypes about politics. However, it is hard to disprove these misperceptions when my committee chairwoman only confirms them.
So what happened? In short, the chairwoman was rude and disrespectful to conferees and committee members. It was not the first time, and we refused to justify her behavior by granting a quorum. This was not personal, it was professional, and we are working very hard to emphasize that point by trying to come to an agreement on how the committee should move forward next week. If you have questions or comments on this subject, feel free to reply to this email.
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:
LIVE! Paperless House Health and Human Services Committee (1:30 – 3:00 pm daily):
- See and hear the committee in action, read agendas and testimony for the day
- You see everything I do!
LIVE! House or Senate Chamber:
Where’s Waldo (Rep. Sharp)? February 20 – February 27, 2004
(Besides session and committee meetings 9am – 5 pm)
- Met with K-State and Hutch CC students discussing funding for higher education
- Meet and greet with Adam Taff at constituent Tom Manning’s house
- “Eat Concrete” ice cream social by the Pavement and Concrete Assns
- OK, I went twice… But I met constituent Larry Mauck of Shawnee, so I justified it!
- Lots of pages this week:
- Beth Copeland, Katie John, Rachel Hulse, Kendra Jones, Beckie Fairchild, and Chris Fairchild
- Met with five firemen from Shawnee, they were fun to chat with!
- Freshman lunch briefing with Chris Courtwright from Legislative Research on the status of state revenues
- Johnson County delegation lunch sponsored by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters
- Kansas Hospital Association
- KS Community Bankers’ Assn
Question of the Week!
Last Week’s Question: This is for you city buffs out there – from Sheila Shockey of Lenexa:
What city hired the first female city manager? (HINT: They have a female city manager today.)
Answer and Winner: Rena Milner in Kinsley was the first female city manager in Kansas. Marsha Bagby is the current manager. This week’s winner had to be a repeat because he was THE ONLY response on that one! Dave Fairchild of Shawnee (whose children are paging for me today) was the winner.
NEW QUESTION: Just one Kansas county is named for a woman. What was her name?
17th District, KS House
Serving Lenexa and Shawnee