Daily Archives: May 4, 2011

Senate vote very likely kills adult-business bill for the year

TOPEKA — In a vote that could foreshadow campaign postcards of 2012, state senators today almost certainly killed a bill designed to drive sexually oriented businesses out of business.

By a vote of 22-17, the senators opted not to pull the “Community Defense Act” out of a committee that had voted down an identical measure earlier this year.

Among its major provisions, the bill would:

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House to schools: Shift money from special programs to routine expenses

TOPEKA – The House today approved a bill to allow school districts to shift money from special funds such as bilingual education, at-risk programs and building construction, to cover their routine operating expenses.

Representatives also approved a measure that would require school districts to report their budgets in a consistent manner across the state to make it easier to compare spending from district to district.

After an hourlong debate, representatives by voice vote advanced House Substitute for Senate Bill 111, which breaks down most of the spending “silos” that limit how local school boards can spend special-purpose money.

The bill specifies that the districts would have the increased spending flexibility for a year, although some representatives said that would likely be extended and possibly made permanent.

The districts would not be allowed to shift any bond funds because the state Constitution limits use of that money to the purpose approved by voters.

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Committee seeks to reignite debate on casino smoking

TOPEKA — A bill to ban smoking on the floor of state-owned casinos is making one final appearance this legislative session.

In a hastily called meeting of the Health and Human Services Committee today, Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, stripped an old Senate bill and replaced the language with the smoking ban.

If it passes the full House, the bill could force a floor vote in the Senate, which has declined to take action on a casino smoking ban passed by the House earlier this year.

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Legislators hoping to talk about putting $2 million back in budget for DUI community corrections

A Sedgwick County Sheriff's officer watches while a suspected drunken driver walks a line during a Sedgwick County Sheriff DUI check point on South Webb Road in 2005.

Rep. Pat Colloton, chair of the House’s Corrections committee, says she has found a legislator on the budget committee willing to at least talk about putting $2 million in the budget for community corrections related to DUI offenders.

That money has been in play all day as leaders of a conference committee have been working Senate Bill 6, which would stiffen penalties for DUIs and create a central repository to track offenders, among other actions.

In a bold move this morning, Sen. Tim Owens, chair of the state’s DUI commission, refused in a conference committee to talk more about the bill until his counterparts in House appropriations and Senate ways and means find $2 million for community corrections.

Owens said both sides are unwilling to discuss Senate Bill 6, “which I will say publicly is an abomination.”

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