March 26, 2004
A couple of late nights (yesterday was 14 hours straight on the floor), and finally –education plans (yes, that’s plural)! And a lot of drama. If this week is any sign, this session is wrapping up to be a great one (do me a favor and knock on the nearest hunk of wood!). A teaser for what’s in today’s Sharp Record: Two education plans. Transportation plan. Increased speed limit. And, not to be forgotten, the biosciences bill that already passed the House. And, of course, another dose of abortion and gay marriage. Hold onto your Inbox folks, next week starts the famed Sharp Record Play-by-Play.
House Republican Education Plan
This is the plan I mentioned last week: Local option for supplemental special ed and cost-of-living-adjustment funding. At-Risk and Bilingual weighting increases will cost about $28 million, and can be found in existing funds. This bill is the best of both worlds for us, statewide help and local control. The bill originally failed L. However, a vote to reconsider the bill passed, the Homestead exemption (supplemental special ed) portion was removed, and the revised bill passed on Final Action Thursday.
- Passed 68-57. I voted YES.
Kassebaum/Governor’s Education Plan
A modified “Governor’s Plan” drafted with the help of Rep. Bill Kassebaum (one of the “Sweet Sixteen”, and the son of Fmr. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker) was introduced as an amendment on another education bill, that most of SMSD folks didn’t like anyway. The amendment was a gut-and-go, meaning it removed the language of the original 2940 and inserted the Kassebaum plan.
- The modified plan includes a 5% Local Option Budget (LOB) increase, a .2% sales tax increase, and a 4.5% income tax surcharge. What does this mean to you? If you make $60,000 (JoCo average income) you will pay about $89 in taxes ($7.40/month), in exchange for a $100 per student increase for Shawnee Mission Schools. These provisions were separated out for roll call votes that were truly amazing:
· LOB vote: 81-41
· Income tax vote: 71-53
· Sales tax vote: 77-48
· Forwarding the entire bill to Final Action: 81-43
The best part of the deal is that now we have two education bills that have passed the House, giving us a very strong bargaining position when these bills go to conference committee. At-risk, bilingual, COLA, LOB, income tax and sales tax are now all “conferenceable” items, meaning they have passed one chamber and are able to be part of a final package without passing the other chamber first.
- Final Action: Passed 72 – 52. I voted YES.
The House Transportation Committee worked very hard to develop a transportation plan that would help the state finish its current obligations under the Comprehensive Transportation Plan of 1999, without bonding nearly $500 million that the Governor’s Plan proposed. The House plan includes just $150 million in bonding. Details are included in the bill.
- Passed 119-6. I voted YES.
- HB 2918 http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2004/2918.pdf
- Here’s an article from the Wichita Eagle that may be easier to understand than the bill text:
SPEED LIMIT INCREASE!!!
This bill increases the speed limit on Interstate Highways from 70 mph to 75 mph, and maintains the “10 mph buffer” for any ticket to affect your insurance. Although my mother will never take advantage of this when she drives across Kansas to visit, many of you will! The bill originated in the Senate, but there were amendments, so a conference committee will be appointed to flesh out a compromise.
- Passed 64-61. I voted YES.
- SB 384 http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2004/384.pdf
“Unborn Victims” rears its head again, but this time in a compromise??
Yes, there was actually a compromise on this bill that everyone seemed to like. It establishes two separate crimes for injuring a pregnant woman and her child (the Laci Peterson bill), but limits the definitions specifically to that act. The previous iteration of the bill spread the definitions across every criminal statute! This passed with the support of many who had previously opposed this kind of legislation.
- Passed 105 – 19. I voted YES.
- H Sub 280 http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2004/280.pdf
Gay marriage in the Senate
An eloquent speech by Senator David Adkins turned the tide in the Senate yesterday. Sen. Adkins held the Senate floor for five hours yesterday in attempt to use up the Senate’s “five roll call” rule. He offered the following roll call motions: Strike the resolving clause, ban homosexuality in Kansas, ban divorce in Kansas, and insert the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. All four, in addition to a motion to refer the bill to the Judiciary Committee failed.
The resolution passed with 21 votes onto Final Action. Later, the Senate voted 16-17 with seven abstentions. Twenty-seven votes were needed for final approval.
Commerce and Labor
Final meeting, we passed out another Realtor bill – if you’re a realtor, you’ve had a great year! Currently, agents are only allowed to pay a referral fee to out-of-state agents who lead to a sale of commercial real estate, instead of sharing commissions. This bill allows agents to officially cooperate across state lines and share commissions.
Also – SB 66 (title insurance bill) finally passed the full House. I mentioned last week that the compromise legislation passed the Committee. I don’t see why the conference committee would make any changes to this compromise.
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)? March 20 – March 26, 2004
(Besides session and committee meetings 9am – 5 pm)
- Constituent visits: Forrest Saucier, Nikki Steege, and Laura
- Johnson County delegation luncheon sponsored by the Kansas
- Constituents Steve Bachenburg, Greg Weatherd, and Bill Anthony attended.
- Johnson County delegation luncheon sponsored by the Kansas Professional Engineers
- Kansas Bankers’ Assn
Question of the Week!
Last Week’s Question: Tell your friends and neighbors about the Sharp Record. The “email-raiser” continues until April 1st (no foolin’). Compile your friends and neighbors, colleagues, relatives, just about anyone you know! A spreadsheet is the best format. I will send out a reminder next week before the close of the contest. T-shirts and collectible legislative coffee mugs are the prizes for this weeks contest!
17th District, KS House
Serving Lenexa and Shawnee