Monthly Archives: January 2009

Editorial praises Layton with a rose

Robert Layton’s departing gift from from The Des Moines Register is a rose. In their Sunday opinion piece, which gives out roses and thistles, Layton was praised for his long-tenure in Urbandale, Iowa.

The paper’s editorial sums it up as “… Kansas’ gain, Iowa’s loss.”

Layton starts as Wichita’s city manager Feb. 2.

$300 million in reductions proposed in Senate budget, mostly in spending cuts

The Senate budget discussions appear to be the most popular thing going on right now. The committee room is standing room only, with more people listening to the audio in the hall outside.

Sen. Jay Emler, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, has introduced an alternative plan that cuts about $300 million from the current budget, mostly through cuts. Read More »

Kansas Legislature’s agenda for Jan. 26 to 30

Here are some of the hearings scheduled in House and Senate committee meetings for next week. The list is preliminary and can change.

The House and Senate each publish daily calendars listing the hearings scheduled for the week and what bills might be debated in the respective chambers. The calendars are posted on the Kansas Legislature’s website.

Jan. 26-30

Monday Read More »

Workers’ issues top state Democrat’s priorities

TOPEKA – House and Senate Democrats unveiled a list of legislative priorities Thursday that focused mostly on issues impacting workers including benefits, workplace safety and training.

“Kansas will recover from this recession, but if we don’t protect our hardworking Kansas families now, the long-term impact of this economic downturn will be much more far reaching and have much more damaging consequences to the future of our state,” said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.

Democrats plan to push to keep a plan that would make state employee pay competitive with the private sector and create a cost of living increase for state retirees.

They also want to protect kindergarten through 12th grade education and make sure technical education receives adequate funding.

Read More »

Karl Peterjohn wants to protect corporate jets

Karl Peterjohn, the man whom aviation leaders said would be bad for Sedgwick County, has stepped up to protect corporate jets.

This week, Peterjohn asked county staff to draft a letter to Kansas’ Congressional delegation as well as leaders in the U.S. House and Senate asking them to consider the importance of the aviation industry.

Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, earlier this month tried to block companies from receiving federal bailout funds unless they divested their corporate aircraft fleet or their jet leases. Read More »

Pastor takes on abortion in the House invocation

Following is the prayer Father Brian Schieber, of Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Topeka delivered Thursday in the state House of Representatives.

“Gracious Father you created us in your own image and likeness and said of each and every one of us that we are very, very good.

On this 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade we remember the over 53,000,000 beautiful, innocent unborn children who have been legally exterminated in our land. Read More »

Tuesday is State of the City speech

Mayor Carl Brewer plans to give his second State of the City speech Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Invitations to the speech were sent out a week ago, but no official announcement has been posted on the city’s web site. Brewer, who has struggled with some speeches and proclamations, has been rehearsing the speech for at least a week.

Last year, Brewer spoke to a packed city council chamber of mostly invitees. His 3,800-word speech drew applause more than 30 times, giving it the feel of a State of the State or State of the Union address. But his themes were hyper-local, addressing gang violence, the murder of Robert Ridge, fighting blight and retaining and attracting business — particularly in the aviation sector, where Brewer worked until he was elected as mayor, a full-time job, in 2007. This year, we anticipate that the speech will focus on layoffs in the aviation sector and downtown development.

In keeping with the parallels between the city speech and those of governors and presidents, here is a “word cloud” image that balloons the words he used the most in his 2007 address. This cloud was created using Wordle. Similar clouds are used by major media outlets, such as The New York Times, to give readers a sense of the dominating themes of speeches.

Brewer speech cloud

Brewer speech cloud

Even now, aviation research and training need support, lawmakers hear

TOPEKA – Despite the lay-offs and economic downturn, now is the time to be investing in aviation research and training, industry leaders told two legislative budget committees today.

“We need to be ready for the comeback,” said Dan Dymarkowski, director of labor relations for Hawker Beechcraft Co., as he explained the importance of the National Center for Aviation Training.

Industry studies still predict aviation manufacturing is going to need about 20,000 trained workers in the next 10 years to accommodate growth and replace retirees, he said. Read More »

More Senate budget talks

While many people are focused on the inauguration happenings in Washington D.C., work in Topeka goes on.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee, has resumed its budget conversations which will continue through tomorrow.

“We will take no final action on Senate Bill 23 today,” said committee chair Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg.

That means the full Senate will not debate or vote on a revised 2009 fiscal year budget, which would have to include about $186 million in cuts to meet projected budget shortfalls.

Initially, Senators on Friday had hoped to pass the measure. That plan got side railed by discussions about education fund.

The committee is currently listening to Deputy Commissioner of Education Dale Dennis discuss how various options would impact school districts.

Layton praised at going away party in Iowa

Wichita’s incoming city manager, Robert Layton, was praised for his quarter-century career in Urbandale, Iowa last night and said it’s tough to leave, according to a story in the Des Moines Register.

“I love movies about Iowa, and ‘Field of Dreams’ is my favorite. And I can’t stop thinking of a quote from the movie: Once a place touches you like this, the wind never blows as cold,” Layton told the newspaper. “It’s so hard to leave.”