Monday, April 23, 2007

KS and MO Legislative Round-Up

The KS legislature officially adjourns at the end of this weekend. The veto session begins on wednesday and should last four days, through saturday, although it could continue longer depending on the pace the legislature takes at overriding vetoes. It won't be until the end of the veto session that we'll find out if JoCo will receive it's modest request of a 1 point increase in the LOB from 31 to 33 (this gives local communities the option of raising additional revenue for schools via a sales tax increase or special schools tax by placing it on their local ballot). Many Democrats and some rural Republicans oppose this. Democrats Rep. Marti Crow and Sen. Janis Lee have been vocal opponents of any increase in the LOB, are are most rural legislators who think it is unfair that our schools should be able to raise additional local revenue. Never mind that many rural KS schools have more counselors, gifted, and special ed programs that only have a few students, and that most of these schools should be consolidated to save on costs. We here in the KC 'burbs of JoCo have the best public schools in the state--in the KanMoNebIa region, yet we face overcrowded classrooms and lack of funding due to stubborn and ill-sighted legislators out west. Face it--the current school funding formula is unherently UNEQUAL for the county that contains 20 percent of KS' population and leads the state in college graduates and test scores. Something has to change.

Also to watch: Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill passed by the legislature which basically re-affirms the original intent of the concealed-carry act passed earlier last year. Several cities, including Mission, Roeland Park, and Olathe tried to pass their own laws allowing certain locations to the list of places where weapons are not permitted (courthouses, libraries, etc.). Obviously, the cities did not have the right to amend the law, so the legislature re-affirmed this but Kathleen Sebelius vetoed this attempt to reign in the cities (no surprise--Sebelius vetoed concealed carry--and the legislature had to override her veto. She's definitely not a supporter of concealed carry or 2nd amendment rights in general). We'll see if the legislature has enough votes to override her veto--if they don't, they're basically rejecting the intent of their own law, which is supposed to be uniform STATEWIDE, not change when you cross the line from Shawnee to Lenexa.

No "Justus" for UMKC
Also, interesting that extreme liberal state sen. Jolie Justus on the Missouri side tried to filibuster Gov. Matt Blunt's education funding bill for universities (b/c the final bill didn't include embryonic stem cell research funding). Just because it didn't include a specific provision she wanted, Justus let her ideology get the best of her judgment and she filibustered the bill, so house Republicans stripped the bill of funding for UMKC building improvements. Way to go, Justus...can't say you didn't deserve it. Now, I know you will say you stood up for principle, but let's see if the voters of the 10th district are so forgiving...esp. when they see that KC was shafted in this bill because of you and you didn't even fight for the funding. I smell a democratic primary challenge in 2010!

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