Archive for Monday, January 29, 2007

Capitol Briefing

News from the Kansas Statehouse

January 29, 2007


KU students' agenda

Kansas University student government leaders will push for passage of several bills during the 2007 legislative session, including a proposal to give tenants more protection that has been the subject of tough hearings before in the Legislature.

The other proposals would exempt textbooks from the state sales tax and give war veterans full tuition reimbursement.

Ian Staples, legislative director for KU Student Senate, said students also would lobby for a plan to address deferred maintenance at state universities.

He said most of the proposals are aimed at "helping lower the cost of higher education without hurting the universities."

Death penalty

Tuesday will mark the 100th anniversary of the day in 1907 that Gov. Edward Wallis Hoch signed legislation abolishing the death penalty, which had been on the state's books since 1859 when Kansas was still a territory.

The death penalty was reinstated in 1935, repealed again in 1972 and finally reinstated in 1994. But opponents of the death penalty will seek abolition of the punishment again.

Several organizations will announce this week the filing of legislation to do away with the death penalty, stating that the current statute has numerous flaws that have resulted in lengthy legal problems "contributing to a financial cost far above providing a life without parole sentence."

Hawver honored

After 30 years, Martin Hawver was given a pair of socks.

Hawver, who with his wife, Vickie, publishes an influential newsletter on Kansas politics and government, was honored last week by the Kansas House for his longtime reporting at the Statehouse.

Hawver, known for his casual style of wearing loafers with no socks, received a certificate and pair of socks from House leaders.


At least one blogger noticed a similarity between U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback's call for a cure for cancer and that of fictional president Josiah Bartlet, portrayed by Martin Sheen on "The West Wing" television show.

In announcing his bid for president Jan. 20, Brownback, R-Kan., said: "Let's put our energies into conquering the No. 1 fear in America : the fear of getting cancer. We can end deaths by cancer in 10 years."

During a "West Wing" episode that aired Jan. 17, 2002, Bartlet told his staff, while preparing a State of the Union address, "I think in the State of the Union, I can announce that I'm directing our researchers to have a cure for cancer in 10 years." Later in the show, an aide reads from the speech as it is being prepared. "We'll cure cancer in 10 years," the speech says.

Quotes of the week

Seeing for yourself, you would understand our concerns of the catastrophe we would have on the Lawrence campus if a tunnel caved in, severing heat, power, Internet and telephone connections to a group of our education buildings."

- Richard Lariviere, KU provost and executive vice chancellor, speaking to a Senate task force on deferred maintenance at universities

Basically, our campus is falling apart."

- Kansas State University President Jon Wefald after an 84-year-old steam pipe burst, causing a temporary shutdown of heat to much of the K-State campus last week

What's next:

9 a.m. today : Hearing on HB 2219, moratorium on construction of coal-fired electric plants, before House Energy and Utilities Committee, Room 313-South, Capitol.

3:30 p.m. today : Hearing on HB 2143, which would prohibit hunting or fishing licenses for people who owe child support, before House Judiciary Committee, Room 313-South, Capitol.

9:30 a.m. Wednesday: Hearing on SB 128, which would require electric utilities to provide energy conservation information to consumers, before Senate Utilities Committee, Room 526-South, Capitol.

1:30 p.m. Wednesday: Hearing on HB 2140, which would make English the official state language, before House Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee, Room 241-North, Capitol.


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