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Archive for Friday, February 21, 2014

Davis calls for shortening Kansas legislative session, Republican leadership disagrees

February 21, 2014, 10:12 a.m. Updated February 21, 2014, 5:17 p.m.

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— House Minority Leader Paul Davis on Friday called for a shortened legislative session, saying Gov. Sam Brownback and his Republican allies are wasting tax dollars and that the 2014 session “has been a circus.”

Brownback and GOP legislative leaders disagreed with Davis, saying there is still plenty of work to be done.

Davis, a Democrat from Lawrence who is challenging Brownback in the November election, said the session should go no longer than 70 days. That would eliminate 20 days from the scheduled 90-day session and save taxpayers $1.3 million, he said.

“The 2014 session has been a circus,” Davis said. “Gov. Brownback and his allies have refused to make our schools, our economy, or job creation their priority this session, so let’s go home,” he said.

Davis noted several bills that have generated national publicity — mostly negative.

Those included a mostly-Republican backed “religious freedom” bill that critics said would allow discrimination against gays, and a Democratic legislator’s failed bill to allow spanking of children hard enough to leave “redness or bruising.”

Brownback’s office said he has called for funding full-day kindergarten, restoring some higher education cuts, and providing a pay increase for some state employees. “It is unfortunate the minority leader of the House of Representatives does not believe these are important enough to address,” said Brownback spokeswoman Sara Belfry.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said some legislators have filed bills he would have rather not seen.

But Merrick held a news conference Friday announcing that his focus for the rest of the session would be on legislation that he said would help Kansas businesses.

“The public sent us here to do a job, and that job is not done yet,” Merrick said.

Davis said the Legislature, which has already met for 40 days, could wrap up its business, including restoring cuts made last year to higher education, in the next four weeks.

He said if the Kansas Supreme Court rules on the pending school finance case, legislators could remain in session or, depending on the timing of the decision, come back for a special session.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Comments

Richard Payton 5 months ago

Paul Davis that makes sense so I expect another circus from the bunch you have to hang with. Gives me a headache if I think about it.

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Phillip Chappuie 5 months ago

I would tend to agree with Mr. Davis. Most of what has come from the likes of this Mary Pilcher-Cook has been nothing more than hogwash and a complete waste of resources. The bills on sonograms, gay hating, divorce and on and on. All right wing Republican introduced legislation that is anyplace close to social engineering and/or ALEC supported is more than likely nothing but trash. The legislature needs to fix the budget issues, address the faulty tax policies, address education funding and social services funding. Yet it is the window dressing hot button topics that deceive the public and take their eye off the eight ball. Just mention abortion or religious protection and everyone forgets about struggles of the working class families and the poor single mothers or the wage earner that can't afford insurance and is not poor enough for Medicaid. Yes, when Mr. Davis says the Republicans have turned the session into a circus, he is correct. A three ring circus, a House, a Senate, and a Governor.

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William Weissbeck 5 months ago

I'd first suggest that the whole session could be done telephonically, but the lobbyists would be left out. So just hold the legislature over a long weekend at a nice hotel, have the committees pass every thing out on Monday, and each chamber vote the bills out on Tuesday. Maybe even go late into the night on Tuesday to make it look like they are actually debating something. The lobbyists would save tons of money by only having to feed the legislators for only one weekend. Build a good hotel and water park combo and bring the family, too,.

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