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Archive for Monday, February 11, 2013

Capitol Report: Medicaid expansion, switchblades and no public funds for lobbying

February 11, 2013

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Medicaid expansion supporters say look at the big picture

— Sheldon Weisgrau, director of the Health Reform Resource Project, said when trying to determine whether it is prudent to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, there is more to consider than only the impact on the state budget.

Expanding Medicaid will cost Kansas approximately $600 million over 10 years, according to an executive summary of a study released last week by the Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration.

But Weisgrau said any analysis of the issue should also include offsets in other parts of the budget; the effect of expansion on health care providers, such as hospitals that face growing costs in caring for the uninsured; and the value to people’s health in being covered.

Even though the federal government will pay the entire cost of the expansion for three years and no less than 90 percent in subsequent years, Brownback has said he is concerned that the federal government could renege on its funding commitment.

But several Republican governors who have been adamant opponents of the Affordable Care Act have agreed to the expansion. Addressing the concern about future federal funding, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Medicaid expansion there will include a “circuit-breaker that automatically rolls back enrollment if federal reimbursement rates decrease.”

Bill to block cities from switchblade regulation considered

A measure to prohibit cities from enacting ordinances that ban switchblade knives is being considered by a House committee.

State Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, said Second Amendment rights to bear arms are absolute, and that includes knives.

Todd Rathner, director of legislative affairs for Knife Rights Inc., said Kansas laws on knives are antiquated.

But several law enforcement groups oppose the measure, saying that it would make police work more dangerous.

No public funds for lobbying to be aired

A proposal that would prohibit public funds from being used to lobby the Legislature will be considered at 9:30 a.m. today before the Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee.

Senate Bill 109 also says that no public funds can be used to pay membership dues to an association that is engaged in lobbying the Legislature.

Conservative Republicans have sought similar legislation before, mostly because of resentment over lobbyists for schools testifying in support of more school funding.

SB 109 says representatives of the state, city or an association representing certain municipalities could communicate with a legislator “on the request of that member.”

Quote of the week

“I’m kind of like the spouse who receives flowers and immediately wonders what are they up to. Their offer to mediate is inconsistent with how they have behaved in this litigation from the beginning.”

— Alan Rupe, an attorney representing school districts in lawsuit against the state, in response to Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to send the lawsuit to mediation.

What’s next

Today

9 a.m. — Possible action on House Bill 2201, telecommunications regulation, before House Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, Room 582-North.

Wednesday

10:30 p.m. — Hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 1608 that says suitable provision of school finance determined by Legislature, before Senate Judiciary Committee, Room 346-South.

1:30 p.m. — Hearing on House Bill 2025, creating the KanCare oversight committee, before House Health and Human Service Committee, Room 546-South.

1:30 p.m. — Hearing on House Bill 2234, naming the secretary of transportation as chairperson and chief executive officer of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, before House Transportation Committee, Room 582-North.

Thursday

9 a.m. — Hearing on House Bill 2054, regulating sexually oriented businesses, before House Federal and State Affairs Committee, Room 346-South.

10:30 a.m. — Continued hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 1608 that says suitable provision of school finance determined by Legislature, before Senate Judiciary Committee, room 346-South.

1:30 p.m. — Continued hearing on House Bill 2025, creating the KanCare oversight committee, before House Health and Human Service Committee, room 546-South.

Comments

bad_dog 1 year, 2 months ago

Good to see the legislature is focusing on sexually oriented businesses...again.

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Dusty 1 year, 2 months ago

Based on the above am I right in believing that the popular collaspable batons are also illegal?

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dougbe50 1 year, 2 months ago

The knife law is designed to protect people that carry pocket knives from being arrested because of any confusion as to whether the knife is legal.Each city has its own laws and ideas on how long a knife can be or if spring assist knives are ok.The switchblades of today look just like any other pocket knife except they are easier to open with one hand.Switchblades were originally invented for women because they were easier to open and were used for sewing and household chores.This law will make all knife laws in a state the same.

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Larry Sturm 1 year, 2 months ago

The only thing Brownback is funding is the Kock brothers.

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autie 1 year, 2 months ago

The bill (SB109) does not give a definition of "public funds". I can only assume then that it references monies in account for public use, such as the city's bank account. Or a public funded entity like a school district...those things with distinct public dollar identity. I don't believe it refers at all to money that has public origination that is used for fees and/or wages to an employee or third party..obviously that money looses all public attachment once it is paid. None the less, this boondoogle of a bill is some kind of Red Herring and retaliation for the school funding suits.

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William Weissbeck 1 year, 2 months ago

Can someone please make this clear? They aren't "public funds." It's called pay, wages. Once the worker receives it, it's theirs. The state cannot dictate how they spend it. It not only furthers the drive to destroy the unions, but it also continues the perception that government workers are second class citizens.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 2 months ago

Switchblades are kinda fun to have in a drawer or in your tackle box are pretty much worthless. If I remember right, they mostly did away with them in the 60's unless you only had one arm, which made perfect sense.

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Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 2 months ago

Brownback should follow governors’ lead on expanding Medicaid http://blogs.kansas.com/weblog/#storylink=cpy

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Lynn731 1 year, 2 months ago

Thanks, I was going to say the same thing. Switchblades are already illegal. Why would anyone want to make them legal? Assist open knives open quite fast when you practice with them. They also lock the blade open. I have no desire to have a switchblade knife, or butterfly knife. Leave the knife law as it is.

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grandnanny 1 year, 2 months ago

I know someone who is interning at the Statehouse - he commented on the incopetency of some legislators. I see what he means - they don't even understand the Kansas or U.S. constitutions.
Apparently if I am paid by taxpayer money, the money is never mine. Then why do I pay taxes on it? Also, if I can't voice my opinion about legislation, how can the legislators vote on bills? They are paid by taxpayer money so the money is not theirs either. How stupid can you get? Oh, that's right, they belong to the party of stupid.

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question4u 1 year, 2 months ago

"Brownback has said he is concerned that the federal government could renege on its funding commitment."

After all, he thinks that it's perfectly fine for state government to renege on the promise to remove the temporary sales tax hike. Why wouldn't he be suspicious that the federal government is just as untrustworthy as the one that he's engineering in Kansas? What con man was ever trusting of anyone else?

"State Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, said Second Amendment rights to bear arms are absolute, and that includes knives."

And, of course, sawed-off shotguns, hand grenades, LAWS Rocket Launchers, flamethrowers, and (this should make Virgil Peck happy) attack helicopters. After all, Second Amendment rights are "absolute." Richard Carlson says so.

"Conservative Republicans have sought similar legislation before, mostly because of resentment over lobbyists for schools testifying in support of more school funding."

Well, facts do have a nasty habit of making plain the distinction between fantasy and reality. Brownback's task force for efficiency in education excluded everyone who actually had knowledge of how schools are run, so naturally legislators think that they too should be able to make their decisions free of facts. When you don't have to consider facts, you don't have to consider consequences. Sure, creating laws specifically to prevent a large sector of the population from having any representation is about as Soviet as it gets, but no one is under the illusion that Kansas is democratic anymore or that those in control care anything about free speech.

When you eliminate moderate voices all that's left is extremism.

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Benjamin Roberts 1 year, 2 months ago

"A measure to prohibit cities from enacting ordinances that ban switchblade knives is being considered by a House committee."

The state already prohibits switchblades.

KANSAS 21-4201 Chapter 21.--CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS PART II.--PROHIBITED CONDUCT Article 42.--CRIMES AGAINST THE PUBLIC SAFETY 21-4201. Criminal use of weapons. (a) Criminal use of weapons is knowingly: (1) Selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing or carrying any bludgeon, sandclub, metal knuckles or throwing star, or any knife, commonly referred to as a switch-blade, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or any knife having a blade that opens or falls or is ejected into position by the force of gravity or by an outward, downward or centrifugal thrust or movement; (2) carrying concealed on one's person, or possessing with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, blackjack, slungshot, dangerous knife, straight-edged razor, stiletto or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character, except that an ordinary pocket knife with no blade more than four inches in length shall not be construed to be a dangerous knife, or a dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument; ...

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