April 28, 2005
Welcome to the Sharp Record 3rd Annual “Veto Session Play-by-Play”. This series of newsletters has become a reader favorite because it’s like you are here on the floor with me. Now, granted, there isn’t NEARLY as much going on this year as in previous sessions, so you’ll probably see one email per day, unless things heat up. Let’s get started!
Personal Activities and Education
As you may have noticed, I-35 southbound from 87th Street is now closed, with a detour to 95th Street. But – 69 highway southbound is now open for business. I used the new on ramp this weekend and LOVE it! Great job Lenexa!
Personal Activities and Education
I am very flattered that the Supreme Court reads the Sharp Record. How do I know? They must have read it and been giggling – I sent out my report about 11:30 on Friday, April 15th, and I said they had not released anything on school finance. They issued an announcement about the case shortly thereafter! Read it here.
What did they say? Basically the state has to defend what it sent over to the Court. The state must submit its brief detailing the provisions of the bill and how it addresses the concerns stated in the preliminary opinion in January by April 25th. The plaintiffs in the case submit their briefs by May 5th (A piñata would be funny!). Then, oral arguments on either side of the bill start on May 11th.
OK, there are about 387.29 different opinions on this one, but here’s the guesstimate:
The court will take a look at this, and if trends continue, they’ll take their own sweet time. They’ll take the parts they like, kick out the parts they don’t (remember, there’s the “line-item veto” provision in there, so they can pick and choose the parts they like), and then see where we are. If they think more money needs to be put into the finance plan, a variety of things could happen, but the most likely:
The Court could tell the Governor to increase funds for education by $XX. The Governor would have to add this money from existing revenue (i.e. cut existing programs). Obviously, that’s not a very smart thing to do, so she would most likely call us back for a Special Session sometime after July 1st, assuming we have something from the Supremes by then. We would then have to figure out how to add $XX, by cutting programs, or somehow raising revenue… Gambling, taxes, etc.
PLEASE keep in mind – this is not the only option, the Court has a LOT of options on the platter, I’m certainly not a lawyer, and this is just one perspective.
Yesterday - SB 181 – this is the controversial bill that was opposed by Shawnee Mission parents, teachers, and the school district. There were provisions of the bill that discuss suitability. From the Legislative Research Department: “In determining whether the plaintiffs have met their burden of proof, the court panel would not be bound by the manner in which state funds were allocated, but would make a determination based on an analysis of adequacy, had state funds been utilized first to fund the reasonable and necessary costs of providing the required subjects or areas of instruction and related services.” The concern is that certain crucial aspects of education will be left out of what is considered “suitable”, like music, physical education, or nursing and counseling services.
The bill would also require that future school finance lawsuits be sent to a three-judge panel instead of one district judge. I like this part!
Final Action – 63-59. I voted NO. We were on a LONG “Call of the House” where the House doors are closed and we are basically sequestered in the chamber until someone changes a vote. Unfortunately, the votes did not go our way. The bill is now headed to the Senate – CALL YOUR SENATOR! If you live in my district and you are anywhere East of Maurer or North of 79th Street, Senator Nick Jordan is your Senator. If you live South of 79th Street and West of Maurer, your Senator is Kay O’Connor. See the hotline under Resources to call Topeka for free.
Today, we are working on the Omnibus budget, which basically means any extra stuff we didn’t have in the budget last month. There are a slew of amendments, but so far, nothing TOO exciting. We did add salary increases for the teachers at the School for the Blind and School for the Deaf. They make considerably less than SMSD teachers.
I’ll keep you updated with “breaking news” when it happens from Topeka!
Where’s Waldo (Rep. Sharp)? Mar 25 – Apr 29, 2005
(Besides session and committee meetings 9am – 5 pm)
- Eagle Scout presentation – Lenexan Joe Carey
- Shawnee Chamber Government Affairs Committee meeting
- Hosted the American Council of Young Political Leaders Indonesian delegation here in Kansas City
- Johnson County Public Policy Council Eggs & Issues forum
- Town Hall @ Lenexa HyVee
- Adam Benlon’s wedding – Congratulations to Adam and Emily (Grint) Benlon! Also to parents Lisa and Randy Benlon.
- Governor’s bill signing ceremony of HB 2077 – the Cancer Drug Repository bill
- Lenexa Chamber of Commerce
- Legislative fundraiser for the Special Olympics – hello to Donna Zimmerman!
Johnson County Statehouse Hotline! Call Topeka for free – 913-715-5000 and ask to speak with your Representative or Senator.
LIVE! House or Senate Chamber
LIVE! Paperless House Health and Human Services Committee (1:30 – 3:00 pm daily)
Changes, additions and deletions: Please reply to this email to change your address, delete your address, or add a new address. Simply forward to your friends, or send me their email addresses to add new subscribers. Thanks!
Question of the Week
Last Week’s Question: The first woman elected to the U.S. Congress was from Kansas. What was her name and where was she from in Kansas?
Answer and Winner: Cathy Brents of Lenexa wins a Kansas Seal lapel pin and one of my cool new emery boards (guys, that’s a nail file). Kathryn O’Loughlin McCarthy was the first Kansas woman elected to Congress. The Hays woman was elected in 1932.
NEW QUESTION: Who was the first woman elected to the Kansas House of Representatives?
Please do not hesitate to reply to this newsletter if you have questions, concerns, or comments about these issues or others of importance to you. I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve you!
17th District, KS House
Serving Lenexa and Shawnee