Daily Archives: March 4, 2009

No confirmation timetable, Sebelius says

TOPEKA – Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday she did not know what the time table was for her confirmation hearings as Health and Human Services Secretary.

“I am not presuming anything, I’m back here to do my job as governor and prepare for hearings,” Sebelius said after an appearance at a Kansas Citizens for the Arts meeting in Topeka. “The timetable is really in the control of the United States Senate.”

On Monday, President Barack Obama introduced Sebelius as his pick for the country’s top health spot.

In the mean time, the governor said she was “fully engaged,” in the 2010 budget process.

Death penalty bill up for committee vote

TOPEKA – The Senate Judiciary Committee could vote on a bill abolishing executions in Kansas this morning.

The measure, Senate Bill 208, would eliminate the death penalty as an option for cases sentenced after July 1, 2009.

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, conceived the bill as a way to save cash-strapped Kansas some money in a tight budget year.

Execution opponents have argued that death penalty cases are more expensive to try and do not deter crime.

Supporters of the death penalty have said a price should not be put on justice.

Wedding dresses and diapers would be tax exempt under bill

TOPEKA – School kids and their parents aren’t the only ones who would get a break under a proposed tax holiday – brides, babies and people looking to spice up their unmentionables collection could also benefit.

House Bill 2328 would set aside the first Thursday through Sunday in August as a back-to-school sales tax holiday. But along with the expected tape, globes, compasses, clothes and computers that would be exempt from sales tax, there a few items that Dick and Jane are unlikely to be schlepping to class this fall.

Bridal gowns fall into that category – at least bridal gowns that cost less than $300. As do disposable diapers, rubber pants, costumes and garters and hosiery. But if you want a mask to go with the costume, you’re out of luck.

The bridal gown exemption earned the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, some questions during a hearing in the House Taxation Committee on Tuesday.

Believe it or not, there’s a rather logical explanation for the apparent oddity.

Items like bridal gowns are part of the state’s definition of clothing for sales tax purposes.

Under Peck’s proposal, the exemption would apply to:

• Clothing and accessories worth $300 or less;

• Equipment with a taxable value of $300 or less;

• School, art and instructional supplies totaling $100 or less per purchase.

• Computer software with taxable value of $300 or less;

• Computers or school computer supplies up to $2,000.

The definitions are largely because Kansas is part of an effort to streamline tax codes to make it easier to tax items bought online.

In Kansas, clothing is defined as “all human wearing apparel suitable for general use. According to the state of Kansas, bridal gowns and disposal diapers are included in that list.