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Archive for Thursday, October 15, 1998

BUSINESS SETS AGENDA FOR 1999 LEGISLATURE

October 15, 1998

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Highways should be the top priority of the Kansas Legislature when it convenes in January, the state's largest business group said Wednesday.

The idea was one of several discussed as officials of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry met with business leaders in Lawrence. The meeting was the first of more than a dozen ``road shows'' by the lobbying group as it fine tunes its 1999 legislative agenda.

``This is based on the theory that if business people don't hang together, they'll all hang separately,'' KCCI President John Fowler said of the meetings this month and next.

Fowler and KCCI officials outlined the legislative plan, which began to take form after KCCI's annual meeting last month.

KCCI found that 41 percent of its members thought a continuation of the state's transportation program should be the top legislative priority. The current 10-year program expires this year.

The group also is considering recommending increased coordination among the state's institutions of higher education. The issue was a contentious one during the last legislative session.

The question arises because community colleges and vocational-technical schools are controlled by the State Board of Education and locally elected governing boards, while the state's six public universities -- including Kansas University -- are controlled by the Board of Regents.

Some think that having two governing bodies leads to a lack of coordination.

KCCI's board will approve a final version of the legislative agenda in December.

-- Richard Brack's phone message number is 832-7194. His e-mail address is rbrack@ljworld.com.

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