Archive for Monday, March 12, 2007

Capitol Briefing

News from the Kansas Statehouse

March 12, 2007

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Ed commissioner search

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Wagnon, D-Topeka, whose district includes Lawrence, said a new education commissioner would probably be selected by the board in May - about one month later than earlier scheduled.

The board is in the process of searching for a replacement for Bob Corkins, who resigned last year after a tumultuous year as commissioner.

The board probably will interview candidates in April, Wagnon said.

Wagnon said applicants will be asked to address such issues as how to close the student achievement gap, develop a work force and articulate a coherent view of education in Kansas.

Senate Dems fight

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka has removed Sen. Jim Barone, D-Frontenac, from three positions this year. Hensley appointed former state Rep. Ed McKechnie, of Arcadia, to the Kansas Bioscience Authority to replace Barone, whose term expires March 15.

Hensley also recently removed Barone from a spot on the State Buildings Committee after questioning Barone's vote for a Republican-sponsored bill that would require a person registering to vote for the first time to produce a birth certificate. Hensley has been highly critical of the bill, saying it will dampen voter participation.

Earlier, Hensley, whose district includes part of Douglas County, demoted Barone as ranking Democrat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Barone defended his vote for the voting bill, saying that's how the majority of people in his district would've wanted him to vote. He said his absence from the Buildings Committee will hurt his ability to fight for funding for Pittsburg State University.

Keeping score

During Friday's House Appropriations Committee meeting, Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, was able to keep his colleagues up-to-date on the Kansas University-Oklahoma game in the Big 12 Tournament, of which he had the running score on his laptop computer.

When he explained an amendment to the appropriations bill, Yoder substituted dollar amounts for the score, such as $23 million versus $24 million.

Quote of the week

Burning the remains with hospital trash is not acceptable."

-Rep. Mike Kiegerl, R-Olathe, concerning House Bill 2341, which would require hospitals set up procedures for disposing of fetal remains.

What's next:

1:30 p.m. today: Hearing on HB 2055, allowing slots at pari-mutuel tracks, before House Federal and State Affairs Committee, Room 313-South, Capitol.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday: Hearing on House Bill 2569, which would allow destination casinos, before House Federal and State Affairs Committee, Room 313-South, Capitol.

1:30 p.m. Wednesday: Hearing on House Bill 2568, which would allow destination casinos, before House Federal and State Affairs Committee, Room 313-South, Capitol.

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