Daily Archives: March 23, 2009

Kansas House votes a pay cut for itself

TOPEKA – Representatives in the Kansas House voted to cut their pay 10 percent in the next budget year.

Lawmakers are paid $88.66 per day for the 90-day session. The cut would equal about an $8 reduction.

Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, offered the amendment, which passed on a voice vote. Only a few tentative voices yelled out no.

“I know this is a tough thing but you have to realize we are laying people off, people are hurting,” Otto said.

“We’re going to take our share and it is showing the people we are willing to take a cut, step up to the plate,” he added.

The cut won’t impact what lawmakers receive for this legislative session, which is scheduled for first adjournment on April 4. The temporary cut applies to fiscal year 2010 which beings July 1 and would encompass the 2010 Legislature session.

The money isn’t the only compensation lawmakers receive while they are in session. While they are in Topeka, legislators receive a $109 per diem and $354.15 every other week for 19 biweekly peoris to defray costs between session such as postage, phones and office costs.

House resumes its budget debate

TOPEKA – The House is back to debating the budget after taking a break for lunch.

The first amendment offered by Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, would removed $2.1 million from the budget that was slated to support Kansas Public Broadcasting and give the money to Home and Community Based Services.

The amendment failed 42-74.

House expands health care coverage for 8,000 Kansas kids

TOPEKA – The Kansas House voted 75-48 to add $1.2 million to next year’s budget to expand health care coverage for moderate- and low-income children’

The money, matched with about $6 million in federal money, will help expand eligibility for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to families that are 250 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four that equals an income between about $51,000 and $55,000 per year.

“It saves the state in the long run,” said Rep. Jill Quigley, R-Lenexa who offered the amendment.

The program would help prevent illness by helping about 8,000 more children access health care.

The House is debating the 2010 budget, which starts July 1. The House Appropriations Committee recommended spending $5.76 billion in the budget.

“What this budget tries to do is find a balance of what are all awful tough decisions,” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, who chairs the chamber’s budget committee.

Every part of the state budget shared in the cuts, but kindergarten through 12th grade education was given a priority, he said.

The Senate is expected to debate it’s budget bill on Tuesday.

DUI bill sent to conference committee

TOPEKA – The House on Monday voted to send a bill creating the Kansas DUI Commission and amending some of the state’s drunken driving laws to a conference committee.

The committee – of three House members and three Senate members – will work to develop a compromise bill.

The Senate inserted the measure into House Bill 2096 and the House wanted to study the bill more.

In addition to the commission and amending some laws, the bill also creates statewide driver improvement clinics.

Governor reappoints Wichitans to state councils and panel

TOPEKA – Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has reappointed two Wichita residents and a Derby woman to two state councils and an advisory panel.

Travis Francis, Wichita, has been reappointed to a three-year term on the Athletic Trainers Council. This council licenses and monitors athletic trainers in the state of Kansas.

Gary Mason, Wichita, has been reappointed to serve a two-year term on the Compliance Advisory Panel to the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program. This panel renders advisory opinions concerning the effectiveness of the small business stationary source technical and environmental compliance assistance program; makes periodic reports to the administrator; and reviews and comments on proposed regulations.

Beverly Urmey, Derby, has also been reappointed to three-year terms on the Respiratory Care Council. This council conducts examinations and registrations of applicants in the field of respiratory therapy.