Morris issues travel report
Former State Board of Education member Connie Morris charged taxpayers $2,339 for her travel in December to Washington, D.C., according to her travel payment voucher obtained by the Journal-World. The trip occurred about three weeks before she left office. Morris, a Republican from St. Francis, was defeated in the August primary by moderate Republican Sally Cauble of Liberal.
In a brief written report, Morris said her three days of meetings in Washington were "extremely productive and encouraging." She didn't report with whom she met but said the subject of the meetings covered illegal immigration, English as the official language, science standards and the evolution debate, judicial activism, media bias, agriculture, federal office closures, faith-based initiatives and economic development.
Her Washington expenses included $1,300 for mileage - she drove and paid her own way for lodging en route. She said the $1,300 in mileage would have been comparable to flying and paying transportation costs in Washington.
Sebelius: Bush undeterred
After a recent meeting of U.S. governors and President Bush, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said that despite calls from numerous quarters to seek a political solution to the war in Iraq, Bush is determined to keep U.S. troops there and follow his plan of increasing troop numbers in Baghdad.
"There is no timetable, there is no adjusting this schedule. What you see on the television is what we see behind closed doors," Sebelius said.
"He is very determined that this has to work and convinced that it will work. We wish him Godspeed, but we could not get a very clear answer about what is the next game plan. No real willingness to engage in dialogue with other regions and other countries," she said of Bush.
On second thought
When asked last week to respond to a proposal to charge speeders on the turnpike higher tolls, Kansas Turnpike Authority spokeswoman Lisa Callahan said the bill's author, Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, hadn't talked to the authority about it, and that there were a lot of unknowns about the measure.
A day later, Michael Johnston, KTA president and chief executive officer, issued a much stronger statement.
"We don't think it's a very good idea," Johnston said. He said the proposal could encourage people to speed if they were willing to pay a small additional toll.
"We don't want people to speed at any price," he said.
Western Kansas legislators are battling over a groundwater conservation program known as IGUCA, for Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area. In these areas, state officials can limit new water rights applications and even restrict water use.
House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, supports a moratorium on new or expanded IGUCAs.
But Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, opposes a moratorium, saying IGUCAs are a good way to administer use of dwindling resource.
Quote of the week
"It looks like they are trying to create a meltdown."
- House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Ward, D-Wichita, on efforts by House Republicans to cut taxes before reaching budget agreements.
3:30 p.m. today, Wednesday and Thursday: Meetings on Kansas University's proposed health care affiliation agreements before House Government Efficiency and Technology Committee, Room 526-South, Capitol.
9 a.m. Tuesday: Hearing on Senate Bill 128, which would require electric utilities to provide energy conservation information to consumers, before House Energy and Utilities Committee, Room 241-North, Capitol.
1:30 p.m. Tuesday: Hearing on House Bills 2098 and 2255, which would define certain terms related to human cloning and prohibit use of tax dollars for human cloning, before House Federal and State Affairs Committee, Room 313-South, Capitol.
1:30 p.m. Tuesday: Hearing on House Bill 2292, which would provide certain restrictions on minors getting abortions, before House Health and Human Services Committee, Room 526-South, Capitol.
1:30 p.m. Thursday: Hearings on House Bills 2020, which would restrict protests at funerals, and House Bill 2367, which would ban public benefits to illegal immigrants.