Archive for Monday, March 5, 2007

Statehouse briefing: A return to the days of Dodge City?

March 5, 2007

Here are today's headlines from Kansas government:

(Topeka Capital-Journal) Gun bill fires up critics: Topekans can't strut along Kansas Avenue with a six-shooter strapped to their hip. At least not yet. In the fight over whether municipalities can place their own restrictions on carrying concealed handguns, a revised bill has inadvertently opened up the possibility of allowing open carry across the state.

(LJW) Bill would help pay for cleanup at crime scene: It's not cheap to clean up the scene of a violent crime or a traumatic event, but someone has to pay for it. In part because of the cost for victims to clean up crime scenes, Attorney General Paul Morrison began lobbying the Kansas Legislature to support a bill that would provide up to $1,000 for individual crime-scene cleanup costs if someone doesn't have another way to pay for it, such as property insurance. Cleanup would be defined as removal of blood, stains, odors or debris caused by the crime or the processing of the crime scene.

(KTKA) Higher tuition considered for repairs: Higher tuition could be the answer to the state's university maintenance crisis if some lawmakers have their way.

(LJW) Morris travel ... Bush on Iraq ... Capitol briefing .. Former State Board of Education member Connie Morris charged taxpayers $2,339 for her travel in December to Washington, D.C., according to her travel payment voucher obtained by the Journal-World ... After a recent meeting of U.S. governors and President Bush, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said that despite calls from numerous quarters to seek a political solution to the war in Iraq, Bush is determined to keep U.S. troops there and follow his plan of increasing troop numbers in Baghdad ... Western Kansas legislators are battling over a groundwater conservation program known as IGUCA, for Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area. In these areas, state officials can limit new water rights applications and even restrict water use.
Audio: The Capitol Report: Who is Lance Kinzer?

(AP) Property tax relief proposed: The state would almost double the amount of property tax relief it provides to home owners who are 55 or older under a bill likely to come up for a vote next week in the House Taxation Committee. The committee worked on the bill Friday, rewriting it at the suggestion of Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, who contends such relief is the best way to help seniors who are struggling financially.

(Topeka Capital-Journal) Measure would increase DUI penalties: Area sheriffs think alike when it comes to tougher penalties for those who drive while intoxicated. They support getting tougher on people who drive drunk, but some are concerned about what stiffer penalties could mean for their jail populations. A bill being considered by the House Judiciary Committee would double the jail time for drivers with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit. Potential jail time also would be doubled for drivers who refuse to take a breath test to determine their blood-alcohol content.

(KC Star) Lawmakers want to repeal bi-state: Sixteen years after Kansas and Missouri agreed to the first bistate compact to renovate Union Station, some Johnson County lawmakers want to end the compact.

(Kansas Health Institute News Service) Senator suggests linking KPERS to connector: The state's small business groups say they don't like the idea of a state-administered insurance exchange or "connector" that would require their employees participate. Senate Bill 309, which is in the Senate Health Strategies Committee would do just that. But a lot of small governments might jump at the chance to have their workers in the connector. Or at least that's the view of some Kansas senators.

(Harris News Service) Rural senator advocates education: It isn't unusual for state Sen. Janis Lee to speak out on education issues in the state Legislature. When lawmakers found themselves in heated debates over school finance in recent years, the Smith County Democrat was a vocal supporter of addressing the needs of small schools and rural areas, Senate Education Chairwoman Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, said.

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