Daily Archives: June 30, 2010

New poll shows Moran,Tiahrt tied in Kansas GOP Senate battle

The Republican Senate contest in Kansas could be tighter than recent polling would indicate, the Tiahrt campaign is suggesting.

Republican Congressmen  Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran are “statistically tied,” according to an internal Tiahrt campaign poll.

The telephone survey this week of 400 likely Republican primary voters showed Moran ahead, 37 percent to 34 percent, with 26 percent undecided. The margin of error was 4.9 percent.

Read More »

Judge bars smoking ban from applying to private clubs; most of Kansas goes smoke free at midnight

smokingbanTOPEKA – Shawnee County District Court Judge Franklin Theis issued an temporary injunction barring the statewide smoking ban from applying to 31 private clubs.

The rest of the state — except for Wichita — will go smoke free as of midnight when the state’s indoor smoking ban takes effect.

Attorney General Steve Six called the ruling a “victory,” saying that Thursday most of Kansas will go smoke free.

The latest ruling, which is available on Shawnee County Court’s website, applies only to private clubs whose licensed were issued after Jan. 2, 2009.

Under the law passed by lawmakers, private clubs licensed Jan. 1, 2009 or before were exempted from the smoking ban. The law also does not apply to long-term elder care facilities and gaming floors at state-owned casinos.

Also exempted from the smoking ban are bars and restaurants in Wichita, which fall under a temporary restraining order. There will be a July 15 hearing to determine the outcome in that case.

For more on the smoking ban, and other laws taking effect tomorrow, read Thursday’s Wichita Eagle.

Panel of governors calls on Congress to pass medical assistance extension

Warning that the loss of a $25 billion extension of the Federal Medical Assistance Program could send states into a double dip recession, several governors called on Congress to pass the program.

The bi-partisan group of speakers said Wednesday that their state’s had build the money into their budgets after the extension had passed the House twice and Senate once.

“We expected and I think rightfully so that we were going to get this FMAP,” said Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat.

It was the worst time for state’s to be losing the money, she added.

“This is not the time to suddenly discover fiscal restraint, when we are in the depths of a recession and starting to recover from it,” said Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, speaking by conference call.

For Kansas, losing the medical assistance money would mean cuts to schools and the loss of about 3,600 teachers, he said.

“We have cut the waste that can be, cut we have cut beyond the waste and any more cuts will be beyond pain,” Parkinson warned.

California has the most to lose – some $1.8 billion according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican.

“Like all states California has been hit very hard. Over the last three years we have been forced to make more than 60 billion in spending cuts,” he said. “The federal money is critical to preventing deeper pain and deeper job losses.”

He called his own budget cuts “absolutely devastating. They break my heart.”

Mayor and council salaries were on a pretty steady climb, until recently

City HallBefore City Manager Robert Layton laid out his preliminary budget recommendations this year, which includes significant cutbacks, Mayor Carl Brewer took the unprecedented move of calling for a vote to forgo salary increases for elected officials.

The message was pretty clear: In a year of likely wage freezes, layoffs and furloughs for city employees, the big bosses are not getting any bumps either.

No vote was necessary — they need only decline raises with the human resources department. But the move led to each council member to publicly decline a raise. It was the first time they’d done that in recent history. Here’s a look at the much quieter raises council members got in recent years.

Keep in mind, council members are technically part-time and the mayor is full-time. Their increases are based on the Consumer Price Index, though you may notice that when the CPI went down in 2009, there was no salary decrease — just no increase.

Year      Council salary                  Mayor salary

2003                   $29,845                                   $70,272

2004                   $30,532                                   $71,889

2005                   $31,601                                    $74,913

2006                   $32,707                                   $77,535

2007                   $33,557                                   $79,551

2008                   $34,866                                   $82,654

2009                   No change                               No change

2010                   Declined                                   Declined