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LWVK Legislative E-Report

LEGISLATIVE E-REPORT
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF KANSAS
Ernestine Krehbiel                                                                                                 Issues No. 5
President & Editor                                                                                                 Feb 5, 2011


Report from Paul Johnson LWVK Legislative Liaison
BUDGET UPDATE
The review of the Governor’s proposed FY 2012 budget is now happening since the Kansas Legislative Research Department Staff have completed their review. Numerous budget subcommittees are starting their work.
ANY MORE CUTS COMING TO THIS CURRENT YEAR’S BUDGET?
(FY 2011 that ends June 30)
The Kansas House and Kansas Senate are still reviewing the proposed reductions by the Governor to the FY 2011 budget that ends June 30. The January tax revenues came in $29 million over projections. The hope and prayer is that this is a trend that will continue over the next few months. If so, some of the reductions in the proposed FY 2011 budget such as funding per K-12 pupil and special education may be restored.
The Kansas House has voted their version out of the Appropriations Committee with floor action postponed until February 8. The Kansas Senate Ways & Means committee has not completed their action and may be waiting to see what happens with the version from the Kansas House.

UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS

ALL ARE ISSUES ON WHICH THE LEAGUE AS STRONG POSITIONS

1:30 Tuesday February 8 and Wednesday February 9 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 346-S,
Kansas House Federal and State Affairs committee will hold hearings on HB 2006 – Repeal of KSA 76-731a which grants residency for tuition purposes to certain aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States. This is aimed at children who were brought to the US by undocumented immigrant parents but grew up in Kansas and graduated from Kansas high schools. The LWVK opposes this repeal based on our national position on immigration.
9:00 a.m.  Wednesday February 9, in Room 546-S
The LWVK and other opponents to HB 2067 – Voter photographic identification requirement – will be heard before the Kansas House Elections committee
9:30 a.m. Wednesday February 9 in Room 159-S, the Kansas Senate Ethics and Elections
SB 66 — Elections; campaign finance; public service advertisements near elections; civil fine
SB 43 – Campaign finance; transfer of campaign money to another candidacy.

DEFINING A ‘SUITABLE EDUCATION’

The State Constitution gives the Kansas Legislature the responsibility to find ‘suitable provisions’ to fund public education.
The Kansas House was assigned the responsibility by the Governor to define a ‘suitable education’. There is great debate over who has this responsibility? Kansas has a constitutionally created State Board of Education that establishes educational standards. The voters in Kansas have turned down a few times through constitutional amendment ballots the opportunity to eliminate the State Board. There are some conservative lawyers who argue the Kansas Legislature can overrule the State Board of Education in setting educational standards.
Will Governor Brownback come forward next year with a proposal to eliminate the State Board of Education? If not, the Kansas Supreme Court may have to ultimately decide who defines ‘suitable education’.

PROPOSED LEGISLATION

Senate Bill 98: Elimination of certain sales tax exemptions, imposition of sales tax on certain services, provision of sales tax exemption for certain purchases of food, and reduction of sales tax and certain income tax rates.
(This is the start of the tax debate in Kansas proposing that corporate income taxes be ended, sales tax exemptions be dramatically reduced and some provision be made to take sales tax off of groceries. Doubtful that this debate will fully blossom this year but be held for the Governor’s preference next year.)
HCR 5008: State constitutional amendment relating to the reapportionment of senatorial and representative districts.
Explanatory statement. The purpose of this amendment is to eliminate the adjustment of census taken by the United States bureau of the census regarding nonresident military personnel and nonresident students when reapportioning the Kansas senate and house of representatives.
“A vote for this amendment would eliminate the adjustment of census taken by the United States bureau of the census regarding nonresident military personnel and nonresident students when reapportioning the Kansas senate and house of representatives.
“A vote against this amendment would continue in effect the requirement for the adjustment of census taken by the United States bureau of the census regarding nonresident military personnel and nonresident students when reapportioning the Kansas senate and house of representatives.”


New development in Holcomb coal plant issue
By Scott Allegrucci of Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy
If you aren’t following this story, you might want to:
In a letter date-stamped February 3rd, 2011, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks advises the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) that there are a number of deficiencies with the air quality permit granted by KDHE on December 16th, 2010 to Sunflower Electric for the Holcomb 2 coal-fired power plant.
In the letter, Brooks notes that KDHE did not respond adequately to concerns about the permit expressed previously by EPA.  The concerns about the permit outlined in the letter focus primarily on emission allowances for Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2).
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) contributes to respiratory ailments and ischemic stroke, and creates acid rain, which has destructive and costly impacts upon infrastructure, agriculture, and habitats.
Nitrogen oxides (NO2) contribute to acid rain and are ozone precursors that affect the respiratory system, exacerbating asthma and causing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stunted lung development in children.
Furthermore, the letter clearly states that EPA “disagrees with KDHE’s interpretation of federal law” on the issue of ensuring new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
Brooks invites Sec. Moser of KDHE to establish a dialogue on how to address the deficiencies in the permit, and the (mis)interpretation of federal law by the state agency, and requests Moser contact EPA “in the very near future” to set up a meeting.
Stay tuned.  This could get interesting.
To read the letter from Brooks of EPA to Moser of KDHEclick here.
To read the 12/16/2010 statement by KDHE Acting Secretary John Mitchell concerning the Holcomb 2 permit, click here.
To read more about the health and environmental impacts of coal-fired power plant emissions, click here.
Scott Allegrucci scott@gpace.org of Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy
GPACE remains dedicated to promoting a well-informed, open, and bipartisan debate over energy policy in Kansas.  GPACE.org

 

 


LawrenceLeague.com

 

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  1. […] Link: LWVK Legislative E-Report […]

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