Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, May 2, 1998

FILIBUSTER THREATENED TO FORCE VOTE ON KAW DREDGING

May 2, 1998

Advertisement

A Lawrence senator is considering a filibuster today to get the Senate to approve recreation areas on the Kansas River.

Sen. Sandy Praeger is preparing to filibuster today in the Senate to get the votes needed to ban sand dredging on parts of the Kansas River.

``I don't know if I'm going to do it, but it's good to have the threat out there,'' Praeger, a Lawrence Republican, said Friday.

Praeger is planning the filibuster because the vote is expected to be close on a river legislation considered to be a compromise between environmentalists and sand dredgers.

The legislation would set up a 20-mile section of the Kansas River from Lawrence's Bowersock Dam to Topeka as a recreational area. Another section of the river 45 miles west of Wamego also would be designated as a recreational

In those two areas, no sand dredging would be allowed.

The House has overwhelmingly approved the legislation. But it has been held up for a month by a Senate committee.

The legislation was inserted into a bill dealing with deer hunting permits by a House-Senate conference committee.

That bill was scheduled to come up for a vote Friday in the Senate. However, Praeger asked that it be held up until she had a chance to try to sway votes informally in a Senate Republican caucus.

``Some of the conservative senators don't like it and think it's a property-rights issue,'' Praeger said.

However, she said that the legislation requires that before any public access, boating facilities, ramps or docks be built, written approval must come from the property owners or from the drainage district.

Praeger said a filibuster will be a last resort to get the legislation through.

A filibuster is a parliamentary move where a legislator has the floor and holds the entire proceedings hostage in hopes of getting others to change their vote.

Legislative observers said the tactic hasn't been used in the House or the Senate for close to 10 years.

Praeger said during the filibuster, she plans to read aloud all of the lengthy river studies that have been done during the last few years.

``I thought I might read from the Lewis and Clark diaries to give a feel for what it's like to recreate on the Kansas River,'' she said.

Under Senate rules, she would be able to yield the floor to another senator to rest, who would then yield back to her.

The process could go on indefinitely, she said.

``We don't have cloture rules in the Senate,'' she said. ``I think it's an appropriate issue to do this with because people are committing their votes without understanding the issue.''

-- Dave Toplikar's phone message number is 832-7151. His e-mail address is dtoplikar@ljworld.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.