Archive for Monday, March 3, 2014

Capitol Report: Child advocates say bill could save lives; Kinzer opponent announced

March 3, 2014

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Child advocates say bill could save lives

Advocates for children are calling on legislators to approve a bill that they said could prevent child deaths and cost the state nothing.

Shannon Cotsoradis, president and chief executive officer of Kansas Action for Children, said since the bill wasn't acted on before Friday, the session deadline for legislation to be approved by at least one chamber, it would be lost for the year.

But State Sen. Jeff King, R-Independence, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he expected the bill to be worked on later this session. The bill was exempted by legislative leaders from the deadline.

Senate Bill 259 would allow health researchers to extract information from the State Child Death Review Board, within the attorney general's office, for the purpose of public health research.

The bill would prohibit disclosure of identifiers that could be used to identify a child.

But King said there were concerns by some members of his committee about the safeguarding of identities once the information reached a national database.

"We want this information to be as safe as we can," King said.

King has sent the bill to a subcommittee of the Kansas Judicial Council to make recommendations. He said he hopes the council will come back with a recommendation within a couple of weeks.

But Cotsoradis said the Judicial Council already looked at this issue last year. "The data we are talking about is de-identified and only shared in aggregate form. The risk (of identification) could not be minimized any more," she said.

Kinzer draws opponent in wake of HB 2453 backlash

With the Kansas political landscape still roiling from the so-called "religious freedom" bill that became what critics called the deny-services-to-gays bill, a Democratic challenger has announced her second attempt to defeat state Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe.

Liz Dickinson, of Lenexa, announced her candidacy last week for House District 30, which includes portions of Lenexa and Olathe. Kinzer defeated her 54 percent to 46 percent in 2012.

Kinzer has been a leader in the Kansas Legislature in promoting anti-abortion and so-called religious freedom legislation.

Kinzer was the major force behind House Bill 2453, which was approved by the House but then killed by the Senate after an avalanche of criticism from gay rights supporters, Democrats and business interests.

"Families in our district are counting on the Legislature to fully fund our schools, to ensure fair and reasonable taxation and to attract good paying jobs to our state," Dickinson said.

Quote of the week:

"15 to 20 minutes debating the state fossil. No time for a debate on Medicaid expansion but 20 minutes for the state fossil." Tweet by state Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita.

What's next:

9 a.m. Wed. — Report on public response to governor's call for a 50-year water plan by Earl Lewis, assistant director Kansas Water Office, before the House Vision 2020 Committee, room 218-North.

9:30 a.m. Wed. — Hearing on HB 2210, change of party affiliation, before Senate Ethics and Elections, room 159-South.

1 p.m. Wed. and Thur. — Discussion on at-risk education, before House and Senate education committees, room 144-South.

1:30 p.m. Wed. — Hearing on HB 2598, removing production limit on microbreweries, before House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee, room 346-South.

1:30 .m. Wed.— Discussion and possible action on SB 45, prohibition of using state appropriated funds to lobby relating to gun control at federal, state and local level, before House Elections Committee, room 281-North.

7:15 a.m. Thur. — David Trabert, president of Kansas Policy Institute, and Mark Tallman, of Kansas Association of School Boards, presenting to House Special Committee on All Day Kindergarten, room 152-South.

10:30 a.m. Thur. — Information hearing on Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act before Senate Judiciary, room 346-South.

3:30 p.m. Thur. — Senate Ways and Means subcommittee on education budget recommendations, room 546-South.

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