Topeka Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday said Kansas should confront climate change by producing more renewable energy and becoming a national leader in alternative fuels.
In starting the 2008 legislative session, Sebelius also reaffirmed her endorsement of a 50-cent per pack increase in the cigarette tax and a statewide ban on public smoking in indoor places.
She also called for an increase in funding for early-childhood education, full-day kindergarten and scholarship funds for higher education.
In the State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature, Sebelius didn't mention her administration's denial last year of permits for construction of two 700-megawatt coal-burning plants in western Kansas. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment rejected the $3.5 billion plants, citing concerns about carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.
The decision in October shook the political landscape, and it threatened to disrupt much of the legislative session.
On Monday, Sebelius told lawmakers, "It is clear the people of Kansas welcome an informed discussion about our energy future, economic opportunities and the protection of our environment."
She said Kansas should join 36 other states in putting together "a comprehensive climate change action plan."
Pointing out her guests -- 1-year-old twins Kimberlin and Samuel Lovell of Mulvane and their parents and grandparents -- Sebelius called on lawmakers to do the heavy political lifting now for future generations.
"Let us tonight resolve to create a Kansas in which futures are bright, hopes are realized and our communities are safe and secure," she said.