ON A PERSONAL NOTE
I’m still getting questions on my health and how I’m doing after my stroke. I’m fairly well recovered, still a bit wobbly and with some difficulties standing and walking but I’m grateful to have recovered as much as I did, I can live with the residual disability. I recently had a consultation with a neurosurgeon and I am relieved that I will not need surgery; my chances for further improvement are still possible.
A personal experience with Physical and Occupational therapy gave me an insight about our high health care cost. After discharge from the hospital I was ordered to go to out patient therapy. I discovered that the charge for two 45 minute sessions was $1,040 to Medicare. Outrageous! Occupational therapy consists of improving dexterity and hand/eye coordination. One exercise involves peas put on the table which you pick up with the affected fingers to put in a cup. Physical therapy requires riding a stationary bike and other activities. These exercises are certainly valuable and I completed them religiously in the rehab hospital, however I decided to save the government some money and quit out patient “rehab” after the first session. I am doing what I need on my own at home.
ADDRESSING CITY COUNCILS
It has been my habit to come before the councils of the cities I represent each year after the session to explain what transpired in Topeka, new legislation and my voting record and to answer questions.
This is intended to allow the public to judge how they were represented. I spoke in Gardner last week and will be before the Edgerton Council next week on Aug. 25, 7 pm. On Sept. 8 I’ll be in Spring Hill also at 7 pm. Everyone is welcome to meet and greet. Bring your questions and concerns.
THE 2011 SUMMARY OF LEGISLATION
…has been published and is available online at http://www.kslegislature.org/klrd. It gives a description of all new legislation and the effective date of the new laws.
MY VOTING AND ATTENDANCE RECORD
After 6 years of perfect attendance and voting records this year my illness kept me away from the House for 18 days and I missed 3.6% of final action votes. My record on individual bills is on the state web site.
KS vs PP
The legislature resolved to defund Planned Parenthood the notorious abortion provider with the expected outcry by the usual subjects. Much misinformation was disseminated, especially by the rabidly pro abort KC Star which published lead articles decrying our action and complaining that poor women would loose access to health care. False.
We did not omit the $400,000 going to PP but allocated the entire sum to community health clinics which provide comprehensive care at low rates or free of charge but do not provide abortions. The legislation reflects what the majority of Kansans believe – that tax payers should not be forced to pay for elective abortions (you might have read my letter to the editor exposing this falsehood.)
Look for another letter. In the Friday Aug 19 edition the goofy, brainless “columnist” Barb Shelly averts in a piece slamming Governor Brownback that he signed a bill into law which prohibits insurers to cover abortion in a health insurance policy. She is either ignorant or doesn’t care to report the facts. Abortion coverage is available but if you want it you pay the premium not all Kansas consumers.
IMPORTANT COMMITTEE ACTIONS
The committee charged with proposing the required redistricting has met and will continue to meet through out the state for citizen input. The meeting in Overland Park will be on Sept. 2 at 2 pm, at JCCC. Feel free to attend and voice your opinion. There is little doubt that the 43rd district will be redrawn. A House district ideally should have 22,500 constituents, but with the fast growth of Southern Johnson County I represent almost 29,000. I have suggested incorporating my three Olathe precincts into the 15th district now represented by my good friend Arlen Siegfreid, but it is not my decision to make. Were this to be agreed to, I would no longer reside in district 43.
The committee charged with the responsibility for proposing KPERS reform will meet Aug. 31 at 9 am in room 346-S in the capitol. On the agenda is testimony by out of state experts. It is open to the public as are all committee meetings.
The legislative post audit budget subcommittee meets to consider 2013 budget requests on Aug. 23 at 9 am at 800 SW Jackson.
THE CHILDREN AND FAMILY ISSUES COMMITTEE…
…Which I chair is preparing for the upcoming session. Interested parties are encouraged to submit proposals for legislation. I have visited with the staff of Lake Mary, TLC, Safehome, and Johnson County Development Support so far and meetings with the Autism task force and groups related to the challenge of educating autistic kids are scheduled. I have also directed the committee’s reviser of statutes to research legislation in other states in particular bills which give preference to grand parents in foster care and adoption cases. Expect action on this and other issues relating to children in need of care.
The Speaker and the Director of SRS favor legislation dealing with reporting of missing children as a consequence of the Casey Anthony trial in Florida and a bill will be proposed to assure serious penalties for failure to report a missing child. This is likely to be argued in Judiciary rather than the Children’s committee (the speaker will assign), but my input will be clear. There is no defensible reason why a child’s disappearance should go unreported. Casey did not report her missing 2 year old for a month and it is an outrage that she got away with it.
It is important to do as much preliminary work on bills before the session begins to meet House deadlines. The time to investigate, discuss, and propose bills is now.
I was interviewed by Comcast, the local TV cable folks again. These 5 minute talks have been useful in the past. They always concentrate on one topic. This year we taped at the Negro Hall of Fame (a most interesting place) to discuss the budget crisis. You can see the tape by logging on to their website. https://files.mecom/metrosports2011/02aoy
I don’t believe I ever won an election on my looks, but seeing the big gut on me on television, I resolved to go back on the Sacred Heart Medical diet. Wish me success. I just have to shed weight, hard as it is.
TALKING ABOUT FOOD
Come join us Sat. September 10 for the Sunflower Republican Club picnic in the Quivira Park shelter. Meet and greet is at 4 pm, we eat at 5 pm and the program begins at 6 pm. All statewide and Johnson County elected officials are invited to address the crowd.
THE TRUTH ABOUT EDUCATION SPENDING
Marc Rhoades, chairman of the important House Appropriations Committee who did an incredible job in putting a workable budget together which could be accepted by House, Senate and the Administration published an interesting article on spending on schools. He asks:
Which is correct?
a) School spending went up
b) School spending went down
His answer is C. It depends on the line item.
Overall spending for K-12 increased $261 million this year and increases another $86 million next year. The state’s funding supports many line items such as base aid, pensions, bond payments for construction etc. Funding for state base ad was cut $232 per pupil; other items were funded at a higher level. The small reduction in base aid set off a firestorm, legislators were inundated with hate filled messages accused of disliking children and education and selling out the future of our kids.
Looked at realistically, we’re still spending more than $12,000 per student per year. Think of 24 kids in a classroom – that is $288,000. Let’s be generous and give the teacher $60,000. Ask yourself where is the other quarter million is going? We are highly inefficient with 293 school districts, and top heavy in administration and overhead. Less than 60% of funds go into the class room, and some superintendents make more than the governor. I’m hopeful that these problems will be addressed next session.
COMCAST INTERNET ESSENTIALS
I can recommend a meritorious program by Comcast called Internet Essentials, a new program which brings affordable home internet access to students. It allows purchase of a computer for $150 and gives a price of fast internet service for $9.95 per moth guaranteed not to increase. I believe this program is well worth its price. To apply go to WWW.internetessential.com.
THE LAST WORD
“One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors.” PLATO