Senate to mull budget measure
The full Senate will probably consider a budget recommendation next week, leaders said.
The proposal hammered out by the Senate Ways and Means Committee closes a $500 million revenue shortfall for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
The biggest hit is to public schools, which will see a cut of approximately 5.6 percent, or $226 per student in base state aid. Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said combined with earlier cuts to schools, education has sustained heavy cuts over the past couple of years.
Quote of the week
“It looks like to me that if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem.”
— State Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, commenting in the House Appropriations Committee. Peck later said he was joking and then issued a two-sentence apology, but numerous national groups and legislators called on Peck to resign.
Death penalty bill in the hopper
Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, has filed a bill on abolishing the death penalty. She said that she doubted there would be a hearing on it this year but that the legislation needs to be considered eventually.
McGinn has been an opponent of the death penalty, favoring instead a life-without-parole sentence. Funds currently spent on expensive death penalty appeals, she said, could be better directed toward crime prevention programs.
‘RINOs’ buttons in crosshairs
A dozen or so people were at the Statehouse on Friday showing support for a proposed constitutional amendment that supporters say would block the federal health care reform law in Kansas.
The people were wearing buttons that had a picture of a rhinoceros in crosshairs. Sometimes moderate or liberal Republicans are called RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only, by their critics. The use of crosshairs in signs has been criticized recently after the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.
House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said the buttons were “disgraceful.”
No sales tax on guided, nonguided hunt fees
The Kansas Department of Revenue has determined that hunting guides and nonguided hunt fees are not subject to state sales tax.
“Governor Sam Brownback is promoting our state’s world-class outdoor tourism opportunities, and this will keep these activities more affordable,” said Kansas Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan.
Most of the legislative action will take place before the full House and Senate today, Tuesday and Wednesday.