Daily Archives: Feb. 10, 2014

Steven greasing the wheels in Topeka

cashRodney Steven, president of Genesis Health Clubs in Wichita, has made campaign donations to about 70 members of the Legislature in his quest to pass a bill exempting for-profit health clubs from state and local property taxes, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Steven donated a total of about $45,000 to 24 members of the Kansas Senate, which approved the bill last session. This session, he has spread $22,000 in donations among at least 45 House members. If the House approves the bill, it will go to Gov. Sam Brownback, whose re-election campaign received $2,000 from Steven.

Open thread (Feb. 10)

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Legislator claims Supreme Court selection is ‘predetermined’

justiceladyAt a recent legislative forum in Hays, Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, R-Palco, complained about “left-wing politics in the courts” and argued for changing the way Kansas Supreme Court justices are selected in favor of a “more open process” that would give lawmakers a role. As reported by the Hays Daily News, he also suggested that the current nominating commission, which assesses applicants and forwards three names for the governor to choose from, rigs the process. “What they often do, they have the person they want, and they’ll make the other two so unacceptable to the governor it’s really a predetermined selection,” Couture-Lovelady said. Wichita attorney Jay Fowler, who has represented the 4th Congressional District on the commission since 2009, told The Eagle editorial board in his experience “that is not anything the commission has ever done.” Fowler added: “It’s always been our intention and we make a diligent effort to send the best three people based on their qualifications and experience, and without regard to politics.”

City smart to invest in Kansas Aviation Museum

aviationmuseum2The future of aviation in Wichita may be uncertain, but the preservation of its past is in good hands at the Kansas Aviation Museum, which received welcome approval from the Wichita City Council last week for $1.8 million in needed upgrades. The to-do list includes handicapped-accessible restrooms, an elevator, and a heating and air conditioning system for the 25,000 square feet of the former Wichita airport terminal without climate control. The museum has raised $900,000 for the improvements, which should help it attract more facility rentals and better serve visitors.