Kansans protest federal meddling

TOPEKA | About 65 Kansans converged on the Statehouse Wednesday to protest what they see as federal attempts to meddle with Kansas’ sovereignty.

Several waved signs citing the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reserves powers for the states that aren’t specifically given to the federal government.

The reason for the event? A resolution sponsored by Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, a Shawnee Republican, that calls on the federal government to “cease and desist” from withholding federal funds from states that don’t meet federal mandates.

Speakers included Sen. Tim Huelskamp, a Fowler Republican. He cited the stimulus package’s funding requirements as the latest attempt by Washington to control the states.

“Here we are a month later and we still don’t know what’s in there,” he said of the stimulus. “It’s scary.” — David Klepper

State unemployment and food assistance get boost from federal stimulus money

TOPEKA – People who get unemployment checks in Kansas will see an extra $25 a week from stimulus money sent to the state.

While an additional $25 per week might not seem like much, it means an extra tank of gas or more groceries for the approximately 59,000 Kansans receiving unemployment, Kansas Secretary of Labor Jim Garner said on Monday.

Money available for food assistance also is increasing. Read More »

Sebelius says coal bill is “DOA”

TOPEKA – A coal bill that the House of Representatives could debate Thursday doesn’t stand a chance with the governor.

“The coal bill is DOA with me,” Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, told reporters Wednesday.

The proposal House Bill 2014, would allow the construction of two coal-fired power plants in Holcomb and block the state’s top regulator, Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby, of the authority to regulate carbon dioxide.

In 2007, Bremby blocked permits the 1,400 megawatts expansions by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. citing concerns over the carbon dioxide the plants would release.

“We don’t want to go back to the want, we want to be leaders in the future,” she said.

Sebelius vetoed three similar bills in the 2008 session. She said the current effort would be a “step backwards” especially with the federal stimulus package which includes $30 billion for green initiatives and energy efficiency.