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Archive for Saturday, March 6, 2004

Punctual lawmaker chided for tardiness

March 6, 2004

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— A lawmaker who recently chided his colleagues for their frequent tardiness received some ribbing when he showed up 13 minutes late for a meeting.

Sen. John Vratil, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, last month ordered the panel's secretary to record latecomers' arrival times to the committee's meetings.

When Vratil showed up late to a 10:30 a.m. meeting Thursday, a colleague was ready with a jab.

"What time is it?" asked Sen. Ruth Teichman, R-Stafford, as Vratil entered the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee's meeting room.

Vratil, R-Leawood, said he had been stopped by a lobbyist.

"I understand that when you make rules, you have to be prepared to live with them yourself," he said. "But I'm very conscious about getting to committee meetings on time or as soon as I can get to them. And in addition, I'm not so concerned about the people who come in five or 10 minutes late; it's the ones that were coming in 20 or 25 minutes late."

Vratil had taken steps to curb tardiness after five members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were at least 10 minutes late for a meeting.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said heavy committee assignments and tight meeting schedules make it difficult for many senators to be punctual.

"I find it ironic that Sen. Vratil would criticize his colleagues and then show up late for a meeting himself," Hensley said. "The chickens come home to roost on stuff like that."

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