In Kansas politics, the state plane used by the governor can be an asset or a liability.
House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, recently accused Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of getting people to vote against the coal-fired power project by flying them to Kansas University basketball games.
"The governor, who knows what she did to get some of these people?" Neufeld said in a brief meeting with reporters after the House failed Thursday to override Sebelius' veto of a bill authorizing construction of the two 700-megawatt plants in southwest Kansas.
"We know, for example, that the governor took some people to the NCAA Tournament and they voted no after that trip," he said.
Sebelius and legislators who were on the flights deny Neufeld's allegation.
"I've been very disappointed in him alleging somehow that legislators are being bribed," Sebelius said.
"I have consistently throughout my term in office tried to attend a whole variety of activities and events that highlight Kansas kids and Kansas schools.
"In every occasion, I try to fill the plane with whoever is a supporter of that school, whoever is around, and I just find it very offensive that he would choose to somehow allege that people who wanted to come to a KU basketball game were being bribed," Sebelius said.
Here's who traveled and when:
¢ On April 5, Sens. Duane Umbarger, R-Thayer, and John Vratil, R-Leawood, and state Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, flew to San Antonio for the Final Four and returned April 8.
¢ On March 30, Sens. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, and David Wysong, R-Mission Hills, flew back and forth to Detroit for the KU-Davidson game. On the return trip, state Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, was on board.
¢ On March 28, Reps. Annie Kuether, D-Topeka, Terrie Huntington, R-Fairway, and Julie Menghini, D-Pittsburg, traveled to Detroit for the KU game against Villanova.
¢ On March 22, state Rep. Sydney Carlin, D-Manhattan, and Davis flew with Sebelius to Omaha for the KU game against UNLV and Kansas State University game against Wisconsin.
Umbarger and Vratil have consistently voted to approve the coal-fired project and to override Sebelius. Francisco, Kelly, Wysong, Ballard, Carlin, Davis, Huntington, Kuether and Menghini have sided with Sebelius.
Davis said he presumed he was invited to go with Sebelius because he is a big KU fan and the school is in his legislative district.
"Vratil and Umbarger were on the plane, and both have been supporters of the coal plant and have never indicated that they have wavered in their support for that," Davis said.
He said there was no discussion about the issue during the trip.
"This is just a crazy accusation that the speaker has made. There is no basis for it, and he is trying to create a diversion," he said.
Francisco also said there was no discussion about it during the trip she took with Sebelius.
"I talked with her (Sebelius) quite a bit about nutrition and health care and my interest in increasing the amount of money we spend on school lunches," Francisco said.