Archive for Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2nd District Senate candidates debate coal plants, smoking ban

Democratic state Sen. Marci Francisco and Republican challenger Scott Morgan introduce themselves.

September 30, 2008


Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

Democratic state Sen. Marci Francisco and Republican challenger Scott Morgan disagreed Tuesday on several major issues, including a statewide smoking ban, an increase in the state minimum wage, and coal-burning power plants.

Morgan and Francisco faced off in a forum at Lawrence High School that was sponsored by the Voter Education Coalition, a nonpartisan partnership of 18 local organizations. The two candidates are battling in the Nov. 4 election for the 2nd Senate District, which includes most of Lawrence.

Morgan refused to be pinned down on the question of whether he supported Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' denial of two coal-fired plants in southwestern Kansas. The issue roiled the last legislative session after Sebelius, citing concerns about climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions, vetoed bills that would have paved the way for the plants.

"I can't give you a yes or no," Morgan said when asked if he supported denial of the project. He added, "I think we need to have coal plants in the state."

He said use of fossil fuels must be part of a comprehensive energy plan, and added that he could support a "revenue-neutral" tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

Francisco opposed legislation to build the plants, noting that most of the energy produced from the project would have been sent to out-of-state customers while Kansas would have been saddled with the pollution problems. She said energy conservation had to be a large part of any comprehensive energy proposal.

The two also were at odds over a proposed statewide ban on smoking in indoor, public places that would be similar to the ban in Lawrence.

Francisco said she would support extending that ban to the entire state, but Morgan said he "would have hesitation." He said he wouldn't want to tell other places in the state what to do because he wouldn't want legislators from other parts of the state getting involved in local policies affecting Lawrence.

Francisco said an increase in the cigarette tax, coupled with the statewide smoking ban, "would significantly improve the health" of Kansans. Morgan said he wasn't "morally opposed" to a cigarette tax increase, but that it wasn't a priority for him.

On the state minimum wage, the two candidates drew sharp differences. The $2.65 Kansas minimum wage is the lowest in the nation.

Francisco said she would support an increase. "It's not an appropriate wage to be paying to anyone," she said.

But Morgan said, "I would prefer to see it stay where it is."

The state minimum wage affects about 19,000 workers in Kansas, mostly in service or agricultural jobs who aren't covered by the federal minimum wage law, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.


gccs14r 9 years, 7 months ago

Yay Marci! Now if we can just get a commuter rail corridor set up from Manhattan to Independence, MO....

Professor_Marvel 9 years, 7 months ago

I saw a whole page of these issues Bozo. Do you want me to go look them up and pick another one? It is not one vote..... it is DOZENS of non-votes.Meanwhile, no one has answered the question. Why did she not vote on the phelps resolution. She said she didn't want to offend non-Christians. i saw nothing in the resolution which could offend anyone.I say passing (not voting) at a rate exceeding every other senator by a significant margin and multiple IS by itself a very important issue.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 7 months ago

Scott's in a very tough situation. If he agrees with Marci on the issues, then it has to be asked why he's running, given that she shows up and does the job better than anyone else in the Senate, which is why he was desperately trying to make an issue of the non-issue of a very few votes where she "passed." But if he takes a hard conservative line, that won't get him elected in Lawrence.

Phil Minkin 9 years, 7 months ago

DouglasCountySucks (Anonymous) says: Looks like Francisco wants to destroy the whole state with a smoking ban and cig taxYeah, I notice that several states, including Calif., and many nations that have adopted a ban have disappeared. Can you name any business, except the already pathetic Herford House, that have gone belly up because of the ban. It's been a boom for outdoor deck builders.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 7 months ago

"I say passing (not voting) at a rate exceeding every other senator by a significant margin and multiple IS by itself a very important issue."Tell you what, marv, go add up all of the "passed" votes plus missed votes (because they didn't show up) of all the senators, and if Marci is high up on that list, or even above average, you might have an issue. Otherwise, this looks like an obsession looking too hard for any sort of a rationale.

Meatwad 9 years, 7 months ago

Morgan sounds like my worst nightmare. No smoking ban, no cigarette tax, pro-coal plants. I'm guessing he has more nightmare plans up his sleeve. I hope he loses by a landslide.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 7 months ago

Scott Morgan is a TABOR thinker and will not be good for public schools in spite of his time on the school board. When it comes to public school funding he will be just another republican like Roger Pine. Twisting their arms to get them to do the right thing will be a full time job.Beware TABOR is Coming Morgan does not support neighborhood schools which is irresponsible. As many children as possible need to walk or bike to school.From my observations Kansas republicans get their directions from Washington D.C. as does the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. Morgan supporting coal plants is an example of how he is not truly a fiscal conservative. Coal plants produce very expensive power and produce radioactive waste out of their smokestacks. Toxic waste in the air creates medical problems thus increasing the cost of medical care/insurance.AND he must NOT be aware that the feds pulled their support from a so clean coal project due to the extraordinary high cost of construction. Not to mention that the Bush admin had initially agreed to support 74% of the cost with our tax dollars....this is fiscal irresponsibilty at the max. Is it any wonder why Sunflower keeps pushing for this outrageous coal plant deal? This nonsense is high dollar electricity which requires huge subsidies to hide the real cost each month. Face it todays republicans are not fiscally conservative or fiscally responsible. They are Reaganomics thinkers aka voodoo economics. Neoconservatives.

Nobama 9 years, 7 months ago

There are serious issues for this community (KU) that the Senator who "shows up and does her job" couldn't find the courage to cast a vote. She is going to have to address this before the campaign is over. Still shaking my head over the Phelps fiasco. Way to Represent! wait.........I mean essentially vote no.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 7 months ago

You've taken one issue (or is it non-issue?) voting to a ridiculous extreme, Prof. Marv.

Bob_Keeshan 9 years, 7 months ago

It appears the librarian is confused about how a debate works.You see, Miss Marion, in a debate the moderator asks a question about a topic that has been an issue for the office in question and then the candidates respond.In this case, the topics were a statewide smoking ban and an increase in the cigarette tax. I suppose your preference would have been for the candidates to answer those questions by talking about the economy and abortion.

Professor_Marvel 9 years, 7 months ago

Bozo: if that number has any value, i presume marci will be distributing it. But she hasn't. I bet you she is at the top of that list too.

Nobama 9 years, 7 months ago

posted yesterday by Professor Marvel:#Anonymous userProfessor_Marvel (Anonymous) says:a concurrent resolution concerning funeral picketing.whereas, Funerals are private, solemn events which should provoke expressions of respect;whereas, Military funerals should be events reflecting the dignityand honor of the deceased;whereas, The First Amendment right of free speech is a hallowed American right;whereas, Fred Phelps and his followers of Westboro Baptist Church are entitled to their exercise of this right;whereas, The message of Mr. Phelps and his followers is held by most to be extremely egregious and offensive and even more so when presented at a military or other funeral; andwhereas, The American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard of Kansas are particularly helpful in protecting the mourners from the impact of Mr. Phelps and his followers: Now, therefore,Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Kansas, the House of Representatives concurring therein: That the Kansas Legislature commends the Patriot Guard and the American Legion Riders for their positive intervention at funerals where Mr. Phelps and his followers are picketing;andBe it further resolved: That the Kansas Legislature condemns in the strongest manner possible the hateful activities of Mr. Phelps and his followers; andBe it further resolved: That the Kansas Legislature wishes it to be known throughout the nation that the people of Kansas largely embrace a true religious message of love for one's neighbors, rejoicingwith those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep and that Mr. Phelps and his followers do not reflect the true spirit of the people of Kansas.Passed: 39-0-1, with Marci being the one present at her desk but not able to come to a decision.

Professor_Marvel 9 years, 7 months ago

Did Marci explain why she could not make a decision on the Fred Phelps resolution?

lmgp 9 years, 7 months ago

I agree with DCS that businesses and consumers should dictate the smoking policy. It's all about our personal freedom and if people want to sit in a smoky bar and increase their chances of lung cancer they can do that. And the hypocrites who argue with them can go ear their saturated fat patties from their favorite fast food chain.And liberals want you to step outside the same energy policies that have been PROVEN (if you believe in science) to be detramental in a catastrophic way to the environment. We have tons of wind and solar possibilities to investigate, so we should. Sorry if us liberals are trying to make the world better for YOUR children. Don't fear change!

Frank Smith 9 years, 7 months ago

Well, at last! Perhaps the first of Marion's 12,623 posts I agree with (well, in part, anyway).She's right about there being good reasons to not support the "mom and apple pie" resolution praising the "Patriot" Guard. These guys are largely fake vets, wankers and wannabes as bad in their own way as the Phelps clan. At least the latter had enough brains to get law degrees, even though they seem to use them infrequently. What business indeed does the KS legislature have endorsing that alleged "Patriot" crew that have found their reason for existence in trying to terrorize a bunch of women and kids waving signs and singing hymns? Real tough guys.I've been a motorcyclist and a vet also, both for over 50 years and spent two years in Viet Nam. These wusses make me want to puke.You think that GLBTs would get upset about a "no" vote? You are not giving them the credit they deserve. The majority in the KS legislature is definitely not their friend and they know it. Look at what those elected idiots did four years ago, spending taxpayer money to put their fundy "marriage" amendment on the ballot in order to entice the snake handlers to go to the polls. That was a measure of which the Phelps clan heartily approved.The $2.65/hr. KS minimum wage has not been increased for about twenty years. I wonder how enthusiastic Scott Morgan would be if his salary was dropped to what he made in 1988? Were that the case, he'd still be living in his mother's basement.The bought and paid for KS legislators, especially in the senate, frittered away nearly the entire 2008 legislative session trying to pass a bill that combined bad economic and worse environmental policy, over the governor's vetoes. These plants would have sucked the life out of the southwest KS portion of the High Plains/Ogalalla acquifer, eventually cost Kansans crushing carbon taxes for the very little power that would not have been exported to other states. The proponents refused to give a guarantee that they wouldn't use even undocumented workers to build it. Morgan doesn't know where he stands on it? What a weasel!

Marci Francisco 9 years, 7 months ago

I was interested in knowing how my voting record would compare to other state senators if the totals included both votes passed and votes that were missed. Therefore, I asked a friend to tally the NV (not voting, pass or absent) records on key votes since 2006 published on the Project Vote Smart website. I was identified as NV on seven of those votes along with another senator, fourteen senators passed or were absent more times than that including two who were passed or were absent 21 times, three times more than I.

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