Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 22 February 2011 17:03Monday of this week was the last day for committees to meet and pass out bills that start in the house of origin. After Monday, I will be spending my time on the floor of the House looking at House bills.
Recently I spoke of the national health-care law and the Kansas Legislature’s response to it. This week’s health news deals with another matter, and the Legislature may be plowing new ground in Kansas through what is called an “apology” bill.
Here’s the idea: In a society bent on finding fault with everyone and filing suit to prove it, it is difficult for a physician to explain to a family the circumstances surrounding an unintended outcome, even though many doctors would like to be able to express their feelings about the...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 15 February 2011 15:40Since I wrote my last column, we have voted on a couple of matters that warrant comment.
First is the rescission bill, also referred to this year as the freeze bill, since it is designed to freeze spending.
As you are aware, we’re trying to fill a huge financial hole just to finish this fiscal year. For the balance of this fiscal year, which ends June 30, funds for education are to be cut based on $75 per pupil base state aid.
Most school districts in our area braced for this possibility by taking advantage of a law passed last year by the legislature. The new provision allowed schools this one time to transfer funds from certain other areas to their contingency reserve fund, just in case the state had a budget hole in fiscal year...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 08 February 2011 15:41Gov. Brownback has requested the Kansas Legislature work toward defining the term “suitable education” as one of his initiatives to streamline and modernize state government.
The need for a widely accepted and defendable definition stems from language in the Kansas Constitution: “The Legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.”
That single sentence has led to much confusion, discussion, and even lawsuits, precipitated in part by the fact that education comprises a large part of all state expenditures. Gov. Brownback rightly recognizes it would be a huge help if we could figure out a workable definition of “suitable.”
On the one hand, the constitution talks about...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Wednesday, 02 February 2011 01:08This past weekend kicked off the sesquicentennial year for Kansas. Saturday was Kansas Day. I hope you become active in some event this year focusing on, emphasizing and promoting Kansas’ past, present or future. We all ought to celebrate big!
In his State of the State address, Gov. Brownback talked about establishing a Rural Opportunity Zone for counties with a population loss of more than 10 percent. There are 40 counties whose loss exceeds 10 percent, and Marion County is one of them.
According to the census figures, Chase County lost 7.7 percent of its population, Butler County gained 7.7 percent and Marion County lost 10.3 percent. Whether those percentages might be modified if adjustments are made to the official census, I...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 25 January 2011 16:22I have heard from many of you with questions and comments about the Kansas Arts Commission, what it means to Kansas and, specifically, to our District. I’ve been researching the issues, and I also spoke directly to Gov. Brownback last Wednesday. My research isn’t done, but here’s what I know about the matter right now.
Gov. Brownback stated he intends to continue funding the arts. He states the cut is designed not to impact arts funding, but to eliminate funding a paid staff—totally—and have the arts funding run through a charitable corporation (an arts council) designed to enhance the arts, what we in the tax world call a Section 501(c)(3) organization.
He wants to take advantage of the idea that people who support the arts...
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