Daily Archives: April 23, 2009

Text of Gov. Sebelius’ abortion veto

Text of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ veto message on Thursday of a bill making changes to the Kansas abortion laws:

“For more than a decade, Kansas laws have banned partial birth abortions and post-viability abortions except in those very limited cases where it is necessary to preserve the life or health of a pregnant woman. The United States Supreme Court has consistently held that while states can limit the availability of post-viability abortions, they must allow them where necessary to protect the health or life of the woman. As governor of Kansas, I have worked hard to reduce abortions by supporting a range of initiatives including adoption incentives, encouraging parental involvement and individual responsibility for young men and women, expanding health services for Kansas children, promoting access to affordable contraceptives, expanded maternal and infant health services and promotional efforts, providing funds for proven successful pregnancy maintenance programs and encouraging age-appropriate sex education. These efforts have resulted in reducing the number of abortions by more than 10 percent in the last six years in Kansas. I am confident that with a more united effort to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies, combined with creating conditions that provide support and assistance for mothers and their babies, we will have even greater success reducing abortions in our state. Unfortunately, House Sub for SB 218 will not help to reduce the number of abortions in Kansas, and would likely be declared unconstitutional. Under the bill, a physician intending to comply with the law could later be criminally prosecuted. A physician acting in good faith to save a pregnant woman’s life, and using his or her best medical judgment, should not be subject to later criminal prosecution. Similar language was declared unconstitutional by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Women’s Medical Professional Corp. v. Voinovich, 130 F.3d 187 (6th Cir. 1997). The provisions in this bill that would allow for the criminal prosecution of a physician intending to comply with the law will lead to the intimidation of health care providers and reduce access to comprehensive health care for women, even when it is necessary to preserve their lives and health. While I agree that we should try to reduce the number of abortions, it cannot be at the increased risk to the life or health of women. Therefore, pursuant to Article 2, Section 14 of the constitution of the state of Kansas, I veto House Substitute for SB 218.”

Kansas Gov. Sebelius vetoes late-term abortion law

TOPEKA – The governor vetoed a bill that would have require doctors to give more detailed justification for a late-term abortion on forms sent to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Explaining the veto Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, said the House substitute for Senate Bill 218, included provisions that might be unconstitutional.

She singled out a provision that would allow a woman or immediate relatives to sue an abortion provider they suspected of violating the state’s abortion law. The provision also allows a district or county attorney or the Attorney General to bring criminal violations against a doctor.

“The provisions in this bill that would allow for the criminal prosecution of a physician intending to comply with the law will lead to the intimidation of health care providers and reduce access to comprehensive health care for women, even when it is necessary to preserve their lives and health,” she wrote. “While I agree that we should try to reduce the number of abortions, it cannot be at the increased risk to the life or health of women.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved the governor’s nomination as health secretary sending the matter to the full Senate where its stalled.

Abortion opponents have raised concerns about Sebelius’ strong pro choice track record and her ties to Wichita late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

District attorney Nola Foulston won’t let assistants carry guns at courthouse

Sedgwick County District Attorney is saying “no” to allowing her assistant prosecutors to carry weapons at the courthouse. A new state law gives assistant district attorneys the right to carry weapons at courthouses — as long as the district attorney says it’s OK. The idea behind the law is that some jurisdictions do not have enough law enforcement personnel to adequately staff courthouses. 

Foulston is not giving her permission for the Sedgwick County courthouse. In a letter to county officials, she said “As District Attorney, I will not authorize deputy and assistant district attorney staff to carry weapons on these premises or in the conduct of their professional business. Only law enforcement officers are permitted to carry weapons in this building and on official business for this office.”

 

 

Track stimulus projects in Sedgwick County

Sedgwick County has created a tracking system to help residents keep informed about projects for which federal economic stimulus funds may be used.

The link at www.sedgwickcounty.org features the full text of the  federal stimulus bill, economic stimulus resources, Sedgwick County’s Stimulus Task Force members and meeting minutes and Sedgwick County’s and other community projects.

George Kolb has a job prospect in Michigan

Former Wichita City Manager George Kolb

Former Wichita City Manager George Kolb

Former Wichita City Manager George Kolb appears to be a finalist for a vacancy in Grand Rapids, Mich., according to a story in The Grand Rapids Press.

But it’s not exactly smooth waters up there. The Press story focuses on the mayor, who is upset with the city’s search firm, which forwarded another candidate (not Kolb) with some tarnished credentials.

Kolb, who has been working as an interim city administrator in Valley Center, is one of four finalists the Press has identified.

Gov. Sebelius signs Kansas minimum wage increase into law

TOPEKA – The handful of workers that make the state’s minimum wage of $2.65 will see their pay checks increase Jan. 1.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, today igned Senate Bill 160, which would bring the state’s minimum wage up to the federal $7.25. It’s the first time in two decades Kansas has increased the rate.

The issue has long been a top goal for Sebelius’ party but had initially found little support among Republicans. In her statement on the bill, the governor called the increase “long overdue.”

“While the state minimum wage only applies to a small sector of Kansas’ workforce, to them and their families, this legislation is critically important,” she wrote. “Our economy must return to its core principle that an honest day’s work brings home an honest day’s pay, and today we’re taking a step in that direction.”

Minimum wage was one of two high-profile bills sitting on the governor’s desk. Still no word on what she plans to do on a proposal that, among other provisions, would change late-term abortion reporting requirements.

Today is the deadline for Sebelius to take some action on the proposal – either sign it into law or veto it – or the bill could become law without her signature.

Earlier this week, the Senate Finance Committee approved the governor’s nomination for secretary of Health and Human Services, sending the matter to the full U.S. Senate.

While she didn’t face questions about abortion during her confirmation hearings, abortion opponents have vocally opposed her for the position. They’ve pointed to her prior use of vetoes to block legislation changing abortion rules and her ties to Wichita late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

Senate vote on Sebelius may wait until next week

By Steve Kraske

Republican objections to immediate Senate action on Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ nomination for health secretary will probably push a final vote to next week.

It’s the latest snag for President Barack Obama’s attempts to get a Health and Human Services secretary in place to work on a health care overhaul.

The Finance Committee approved Sebelius for the job Tuesday, and supporters predicted a full Senate vote this week.

But when Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to raise the nomination Thursday, Republican leader Mitch McConnell objected, citing opposition in the Finance Committee.

Now Reid will probably have to invoke Senate procedures requiring 60 votes to move forward, which would likely happen next week. Democrats say they have the necessary votes.