Monthly Archives: March 2010

Late-term abortion bill veto appears likely

TOPEKA – A bill changing the state’s late-term abortion laws seems unlikely to find a friendly reception on the governor’s desk.

Shortly before midnight Tuesday, lawmakers approved the negotiated proposal. The votes fell short of veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

While he hasn’t read the bill, Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, said Wednesday that the state’s current law stuck a good balance reflecting the different views on the issue.

“We should only amend it or change it if there are compelling reasons to do so,” he said. Read More »

Would the real business community representatives please stand up?

coininviceTOPEKA – Who really speaks for the business community?

Last week, more than a dozen local chambers of commerce said they would be wiling to accept some tax increases to prevent further cuts to education and maintaining the state’s transportation infrastructure.

“We urge the Kansas Legislature and Governor to make cuts the state can withstand but also make the difficult decisions necessary to maintain our state’s quality of life for its citizens and for the future growth of Kansas,” said the letter sent to state leaders. “If revenues must be enhanced for basic government services our chambers can support rational state revenue enhancements.”

For the original story, see here.

In response, the state Chamber of Commerce sent out a release saying the 14 chambers – which included Arkansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, Hutchison/Reno County, Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas – of throwing businesses under the bus. Read More »

Test out the options for new Century II seats Thursday

The sliding seats currently in Century II Concert Hall

The sliding seats currently in Century II Concert Hall

Anyone can swing down to Century II Thursday morning and test out a variety of seats that are being considered to replace older seats in Century II’s Concert Hall.

The seat testing kicks off with a news briefing at 10 a.m. in the Concert Hall lobby. Chair samples will be revealed, Wichita City Council members and others who decide to attend will ease into them and vote for their favorite.

New seats are part of the $22 million in upgrades the city plans as it prepares for a potential $450 million overhaul that will likely be shelved until the economy and the city’s finances rebound.

Lawmakers head home for break, leave budget crisis unresolved

kansas statehouseKansas lawmakers ended the regular part of their 2010 session early Wednesday morning after putting off the year’s most challenging decisions.

Lawmakers left the Statehouse after taking final votes on dozens of bills.

But the really big stuff – solutions to the state’s budget crisis – will wait until lawmakers return for a wrap-up session that begins April 28. This year is the first in memory that lawmakers left for spring break without a budget in place.

The state faces a $467 million deficit in next year’s budget, even after lawmakers cut more than $1 billion in spending. Balancing the budget will require slashing more funding for schools and other services, tax hikes or some combination of the two.

New state revenue estimates will be released in two weeks; lawmakers hope the updated numbers will offer clarity and make consensus easier to find.

Read More »

House is done, off to bed

TOPEKA – The House adjourned at 12:50 a.m. and lawmakers are leaving town until April 28 at 10 a.m.

For a detailed list of where issues the Eagle has covered throughout the session stand, read Thursday’s Wichita Eagle.

The major outstanding issue for both chambers is crafting a balanced budget for fiscal year 2011 which starts July 1. There is at least a $470 million budget shortfall lawmakers have to find a way to fill in.

Senate is done for now

TOPEKA – The Senate finished up business at 12:07 a.m. and adjourned until the wrap-up session which starts April 28.

Among the bills they will be discussing when they return are measures regulating strip clubs and other sexually oriented businesses and the an amendment that would bar the federal government from requiring Kansans purchase health insurance.

The House is still busy debating one of its final bills – which would require insurance coverage of autism treatment and oral chemotherapy drugs for state workers.

For a more complete review of where major bills we have covered during the session stand, read Thursday’s Wichita Eagle.

Senate passes protections for journalists

typewriterTOPEKA – The Senate late Tuesday passed a bill that protects journalists from being forced to turn over unpublished notes, video or photographs.

House Bill 2585 passed the Senate 39-1 and the measure now goes to the House for a vote, which will likely happen tonight.

Under the proposal a journalist would have to disclosed unpublished information or anonymous sources unless:

  • The material was relevant to the proceeding

  • The information would not be available through reasonable alternative means and

  • The disclosure is of compelling interest.

UPDATE: Legislature passes late-term abortion bill

LATE, LATE Update: The House passed the bill 83-36, one vote shy of a veto proof majority. The measure now goes to the governor.

TOPEKA – The Senate passed a late-term abortion bill after a debate that focused mostly on procedural motions.

 The Senate passed the measure 24-15. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a similar measure last year. The Senate needs 27 votes to override a veto.

Read More »

Pompeo lands endorsement from Koch’s political arm

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo

Republican congressional candidate Mike Pompeo landed an endorsement from Koch Industries’  heavy-hitting political action committee today, the campaign announced.

KochPAC‘s endorsement carries some meaning given that Koch is one of the biggest employers in the area and its political arm has already spent more than $1 million on campaigns the 2010 election cycle, according to a breakdown by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Meanwhile, one of Pompeo’s opponents, Jim Anderson, snared an endorsement from the Republican Liberty Caucus, which advocates limited government. Read More »

Panel clears Speaker O’Neal of ethical complaint

mikeonealKansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal broke no ethical rules by taking on legal clients in a lawsuit against the state and should face no punishment, a legislative panel concluded today.

But the panel, made up of three Democrats and three Republicans, recommended that lawmakersthe Legislature should rewrite ethics rules to prevent legislator-attorneys from doing the same thing in the future.

After meeting for more than an hour behind closed doors the committee voted to dismiss the ethical complaint filed against O’Neal by top House Democrats. The vote was unanimous.

Read More »