Daily Archives: Jan. 14, 2010

Lawmakers and staff get vaccinated at H1N1 clinic

Assistant House Democratic Leader Jim Ward, Wichita, waits to receive a H1N1 shot from Ashley Phillips, a nurse with Shawnee County Health Agency, on Thursday. The agency and Kansas Department of Health and Environment held a vaccination clinic Thursday for lawmakers and their staff.

Assistant House Democratic Leader Jim Ward, Wichita, waits to receive a H1N1 shot from Ashley Phillips, a nurse with Shawnee County Health Agency, on Thursday. The agency and Kansas Department of Health and Environment held a vaccination clinic Thursday for lawmakers and their staff.

TOPEKA – A few minutes and a quick stick is all it took for lawmakers and their staff to get vaccinated against the swine flu on Thursday.

The clinic in the Statehouse was set up by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Shawnee County Health Agency.

The clinic’s aim was to show Kansans that anyone could find the time to get an H1N1 vaccine, said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, director of health for KDHE.

“Who is busier in Kansas right now that the people who work under the dome,” he said.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, Lawrence, said he had meant to get the vaccine before the session started on Monday, but hadn’t accomplished the task.

“It is important for people to not just think about doing this they need to get out and actually get it done,” he said.

Surveys have shown most people don’t get vaccinated because they just haven’t gotten around to it, he said. About 2 million Kansans have yet to received the vaccine, which is available in both a shot and nasal spray.

Eberhart-Phillips said people should still get vaccinated. “In most years the flu season peaks in the month of February, so the time to get vaccinated is right now.”

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said he’d never been a fan of needles, but the shot didn’t hurt a bit.

“They have kinder and gentler needles out there, this was nothing,” he laughed afterward.

Legislator H1N1 vaccination clinic from Jeannine Koranda on Vimeo.

Revenue asks that people pay more to file income taxes on paper

TOPEKA – The state Department of Revenue is trying encourage people to file taxes electronically by charging fees when taxpayers use paper.

Under the request, you would pay $25 to file a paper income tax return and $5 for a paper sales or user tax return.

Want your return in the form of a paper check? That will be $10 extra with your income tax return.

Secretary of Revenue Joan Wagnon on Thursday told lawmakers the fees would help offset the costs of people manually processing paper returns.

The department is also reducing printing costs by not printing as many instruction tax booklets.

In prior years, the printed booklets of the instructions were available at Post Offices, libraries and other public areas. The department is also going to sell the tax forms to accountants.

The department is charging tax preparers $25 for the printed booklets, she said. So far the department has not heard any complaints, she said

Metal detectors await visitors to Kansas Statehouse

kansas statehouseTOPEKA — Starting today, visitors to the Kansas Statehouse must pass through a metal detector and have their belongings x-rayed. Everyone but state lawmakers, law enforcement officers and large groups of visiting school children will have to wait in line before gaining access to the Capitol.

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Revenue secretary recommends eliminating some sales tax exemptions

TOPEKA – Secretary of Revenue Joan Wagnon went before the Senate and House taxation committees Thursday pitching her recommendation to eliminate certain sales tax exemptions.

The suggestion would garner about $200 million for state coffers. About $55 million in fiscal year 2011 would come from eliminating exemptions for various non-profit organizations, including Victory in the Valley and the West Sedgwick County- Sunrise Rotary Club.

Wagnon recommended a bill that would provide a exemption for all similar organizations or do away completely with the exemptions. The recommendations were developed by the Kansas Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations. Annual fundraisers such as Girl Scout cookies or popcorn for the Boy Scouts would be exempted under a rule allowing for annual fundraisers, Wagnon told the House Taxation Committee.

The full list of sales tax exemptions that the council has recommended eliminating is available here.

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When Brownback and Obama shared a stage

Back in December 2006, a few weeks before President Obama, then a senator, made his final decision about seeking the White House, he shared a stage with Sen. Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican from Kansas.

Brownback has been one of the leading figures on the Christian right. He has found common cause with several Democrats on issues like sexual trafficking and violent entertainment.

According to Game Change, the new account of the 2008 presidential campaign, both men had been invited on World AIDS Day to the California megachurch of evangelical Pastor Rick Warren.

Obama later returned the favor by asking Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration.

Brownback spoke first, telling Obama, “Welcome to my house,” the book stated.

When Obama spoke, he said, “There is one thing I’ve gotta say, Sam, though: This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”

The authors, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, said Obama quoted Scripture and talked about using condoms to curb the spread of HIV. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.