THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
And what a week it was, following the Army bromide “hurry up and wait” the legislature has been waiting for bills to make it through the committee process and come to the floor, and come in abundance they did last week. We lost 4 days due to the weather and now we must hurry to catch up. Several important measures were dealt with and I believe we made a good start to end the fiscal crisis we’re facing without increasing taxes. Living within our means requires discipline and the determination to do the right thing and the acceptance of some pain. We must first fund what we need and not what we want and our wants always exceed our needs. That is human nature.
PAY/GO RULE ADOPTED
A fundamental and important new rules change was adopted by the House over the strenuous objection by the tax and spenders. Rule 2110 , also known as Pay/Go requires that anyone proposing an increase in spending by amendment must indicate where funds will come from, i.e what other program will need to be cut to cover the expense. The importance of this provision cannot be overstated. It forces fiscal discipline and makes us live within our means. In past years during budget deliberations at omnibus a large number of amendments were introduced ( 64 last year alone! ) asking for a last minute increase in spending for the members favorite cause. The new rule ends this exercise and I might even be able to vote for the final budget for the first time. I inserted my strong support for this measure in the Journal of the House.
RESCISSION BILL PASSED
After four hours of sometimes acrimonious debate the House passed the governor’s budget freeze spending bill which provides a positive ending balance under the new pay/go rule played proved it’s value and we passed a responsible budget with a tiny positive balance at the end of the fiscal year. This is important as we debate the governors first budget which covers July, 1, 2011 to June 30 ,2012.
One item contained in this bill is a 7.5% pay cut for state employees making more than $100,000 a year. This cut is actually far less than appears, it only covers 6 pay periods. The howls were unexpected in their intensity. It would seem that the economic sky is falling when top earners are asked to sacrifice a little. There are too many people making fat salaries when 114,000 Kansans are looking for work. The huge education budget shows that some superintendents make twice what the governor gets. Makes little sense to me
By a 91-26 vote we also diverted $335,000 of funds from abortion provider Planned Parenthood to community health centers in the state. Last year this provision was line item vetoed, this year it will be signed into law.
THE KANSAS HEALTH CARE FREEDOM AMENDMENT PASSED
In a strong vote ( 91- 27 ) for HCR5007 – which I co sponsored – the House send a resounding message that it will oppose the overreaching regulations of the “health care reform” which restricts the rights of our citizens to make their own health care decisions. If passed by the Senate this amendment will go on the ballot letting you decide what health care system you prefer and whether you can accept being forced to buy government insurance at the pain of a penalty. This is not an attempt at opting out but to protect your liberty to control your own medical affairs.
THE AFFORDABLE CARE AND PATIENT PROTECTION ACT
…..Is a misnomer. We cannot afford it financially and we should reject it on it’s (de)merits. Remember how this bill was rammed down our throats in the middle of the night and Nancy Pelosi declaring that we have to pass it to find out what’s in it, and the bribery to get it passed.. Now we’re finding out what’s in it and the vast majority of Americans want no part of it. There are some good items in the bill but the bad are far more numerous and deleterious. If the bill is so good, why are federal employees and members of Congress exempt ? Why have 1,000 labor unions and organizations close to the administration requested and received exemptions?
It seems clear that this act will lead to rationing of care, interposition of a bureaucrat telling your doctor how to treat you ,what drugs are permitted ,a shortage of physicians and choices, and drive costs higher. The $600 billion transfer from Medicare to Medicaid will break the former by 2019 Don’t take my word for it, inform yourself of specifics by going to wwwncpaorg for a brochure on what does health reform mean for you? Then cast your vote.
MORE E.R.O. ACTION
The governor proposes per Executive Reorganization , ERO 39, to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission as a public agency, transferring it’s duties., powers and functions to the State Historical Society..Replacing it is the newly formed Kansas Arts Foundation, a private, nonprofit agency the consensus is that as such it would remain eligible to receive Federal funds. Much as I appreciate the arts,( I take my saintly wife Peggy to the Metropolitan Opera every November for our anniversary ) I will support the governor., fact is that the commission is not an essential part of State government, and we’ll save $575,000 a year.
The governor also proposed to eliminate KTEC ( the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp transferring it’s duties to the department of commerce. This bill passed the House with my support. Cost saving $371,000 per year.
ERO 37 abolishes Kansas Inc ERO 40 consolidates agriculture related activities Animal heath Agriculture products development within the Department of agriculture. More cost savings, efficiency and a leaner government resulting.
The Children and Family committee, concluded hearings on the waivers for disabled kids and introduced two appropriations bills. One is to entirely eliminate the wait list for autistic children which is most urgent. These kids age out when they turn 6 and federal funds will then be lost. There are 265 children on this list total cost for elimination in State funds is $2.1 million which under rule 2110 I must find, and I’m confident I can. To eliminate the 4000+ kids on DD waivers would cost $55 million, which is a steep mountain to climb, whatever we can do to reduce this shameful list, or at least keep it from growing, will be done. There are only three more meetings of the committee before turn around time ( Feb 25 ) and I will use these to work bill.
The Federal and State Affairs committee worked two major bills. The discussion on HB 2006 became heated at times. This bill would reverse the in-state tuition subsidy for kids of illegal aliens. I oppose granting a benefit to children of law breakers who should not be here a benefit not granted to native born American citizens. I am always amazed to hear the mental acrobatics used to argue in favor of this injustice. Conferee after conferee stated that the issue was education and that the cost to the state was very modest. In fact no one wants to deny any student the opportunity to study the question is who will pay foe it. In state tuition is $250 per credit hour, others ( say from Mo or Co ) pay $600.This means a subsidy of $8,000 per year The 430 illegals cost Kansas tax payers $3.2 million last year. We have no money for disabled American kids, How can this be justified when considering in addition that upon graduation these students cannot legally work in the US? The bill will be voted out of committee, I’m confident. I believe the House will pass it but whether it makes it through the senate is questionable.
We also passed out the late term abortion bill which was vetoed last year (HB2035). Should make it this year.
The Social Service budget Committee discussed funding of the mega agencies SRS and KPHE. We will be dealing with their final budget requests in the upcoming week. I’m especially alert working these line items as I expect to find rule 2110 money for my disabled kids there.
O TEMPORA O MORES
Just when you think you heard it all you’ll be surprised. In working the voter ID bill a person presented that she would have a difficult time proving citizenship because she used to be a man! It strains logic what excuses not to obtain a picture ID are adduced by those who don’t take voter fraud seriously.
THE IMPACT OF THE SMOKING BAN
The Johnson County Health Department reports that since the imposition of the smoking ban the number of smokers decreased by 8,000 in the county and that the number of folks who never smoked increased from 62.5% to 63.5% which means another 5,000 never began. Seems to be working.
BILLS PASSED AND MY VOTE
Note a description of these bills is in my previous news letter. You can read the entire bill on www.kslegislature.org. HB 2001, 2020, 2033, 2049, 2056, 2088, 2070, 2054, 2078, and 2083 all passed by margins with over 100 in favor and I supported all. HCR 6004 passed 76-45, HCR 5007 passed 91-27. I supported both.
A large number of bills will be introduced this week and I’ll enumerate them in the next newsletter.
COMPUTER PROBLEMS – FACEBOOK ETC
I have experienced trouble on my new computer at work as well as my home computer. If you send a message and I have not responded please call me. 1 785 296 7676 My apologies if you had to wait. Remember I do not do Facebook, simply no time.
My next day for pages is Mar 14., first come first served.
…will be incredibly busy, so the newsletter may possibly be out in 2 weeks. Pray for me!
A LITTLE HUMOR ( VERY LITTLE) YOUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AT WORK
TSA stringent security measures at airports have yielded the following results through pat downs and nude screenings:
1) Transvestites 133
2) Hernias 1,485
3) Hemorrhoids 3,172
4) Enlarged Prostates 8,249
5) Breast implants 59,350
6) Terrorist plots discovered 0
THE LAST WORD
“Whatever must happen ultimately should happen immediately.” – Henry Kissinger