Archive for Monday, March 14, 2011

Capitol Report for March 14: Human rights activists plan march against Brownback move

March 14, 2011

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Activists plan march against Brownback move

A coalition of activists will hold a march and rally on Saturday to protest a proposal by Gov. Sam Brownback to put the Kansas Human Rights Commission under the attorney general’s office.

The coalition says that proposal will destroy the independence of the commission, which investigates complaints alleging discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodations and housing, as well as racial profiling in conjunction with traffic stops.

Opposed to Brownback’s plan is the board of the human rights commission, the NAACP, Kansas Equality Coalition, Kansas League of Women Voters and Kansas NOW. The march will start at noon at the former Monroe Elementary School and end at a rally at the Capitol.

Budget director takes flak from Democrats

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director, Steve Anderson, received some pointed questioning last week from Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, but also from at least from one Republican, state Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora.

Brown said he didn’t think much of Brownback transferring $200 million from the state highway fund to help balance the budget.

He said the Legislature should be making the tough decisions to cut the state budget instead of using the highway funds.

Anderson said that he would have rather not used the funds but that the deficit was so large it had to be done.

Quote of the week

“The legislative function is not solely to be the treasurer, or write checks for the education system.”

— House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, during a committee meeting considering his proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the State Board of Education and Kansas Board of Regents.

KU employees lobby for higher ed funding

About 10 workers from Kansas University visited with legislators last week to voice support for Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed budget for higher education.

“Our message is the staff is on board,” said Phil Wilke, who is media manager at Kansas Public Radio.

Brownback’s budget for higher education is essentially flat, which higher education officials have praised since there is a nearly $500 million revenue shortfall for the overall state budget.

What’s next:

• 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, hearing on House Bill 2130, prohibiting public employee unions from endorsing candidates, prohibiting unions from collecting dues for political activity, before Senate Commerce Committee, Room 548-South, Capitol.

• 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, hearings on House Bill 2340, allowing smoking in bars that sell lottery tickets; House Bill 2039, deleting exemption of casinos for indoor smoking ban, before House Health and Human Service Committee, Room 784, Docking Building.

• 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Kansas Senate considering a resolution rejecting Gov. Sam Brownback’s executive reorganization order to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission.

• 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, hearing on HCR 501, proposed constitutional amendment that would require supermajority of two-thirds to increase taxes or spend above the rate of inflation and population, before House Taxation Committee, Room 783, Docking Building.

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