Thursday, November 22, 2018

Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. issues Executive Order regarding Paid Parental Leave

Press Release for Kansas Governors Office

Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. recently issued Executive Order 18-19 providing paid parental leave for Kansas state employees.
Under the policy, all state employees under the jurisdiction of the governor will be eligible to receive paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child, with primary caregivers receiving six weeks and secondary caregivers receiving three weeks. Employees will receive 100 percent of their regular salary during their leave.
“I think this is an important initiative for all Kansans,” said Governor Colyer. “It shows how important our children are to us and how much we value family here in Kansas. I want state employees to have the same type of benefits that you see in private businesses across our state and nation, and I encourage all other statewide elected officials and agencies to adopt comparable policies for their employees.”
The new policy will apply to over 17,000 state employees. Kansas joins 14 states and the District of Columbia in providing paid parental leave to all or some of their workforce.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Opinion: Hawver Report - At the Rail - Week of November 19

By Martin Hawver

Almost eerily quiet; this Thanksgiving week the Statehouse is going to be nearly empty, no interim committees meeting to thrash out possible legislation for the upcoming session, not even freshly elected legislators likely to be wandering the halls wondering where their offices are going to be.
Martin Hawver, Columnist
Of course, nobody has won anything until the State Canvass Board meets later this month to certify that those election results are official, that the county officials counted right, that the candidates who were named winners in their local courthouses get the final OK in the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.
But pending that Topeka stamp of approval, there are still going to be 125 members of the Kansas House, and at least 27 of them are new, or at least relatively new (some served earlier terms, quit or were defeated, and came back). Five of those new or relatively new faces are Democrats, 22 are Republicans. A recount out in Hays will determine if Rep. Eber Phelps, D-Hays, or Republican Barbara Wasinger, Hays, wins the vote, which could change the number of new faces.
If Wasinger wins, the ratio stays at the current 85 Republicans, 40 Democrats. If Phelps wins, that makes it 84 Republicans, 41 Democrats. Not a “blue wave” in the House of Representatives.
That eerie quiet in the Statehouse is going to be offset by what will be hot phone lines, e-mails and voice messages between House members who will be campaigning within their party for leadership offices.
Now, everyone knows that the big job, the most powerful job in the Kansas House, is the Speaker. He/she with the help of the House Majority Leader decide what is going to be debated, and when.
That top job appears to be locked up by current Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, who doesn’t have any serious opposition for the post within his party.
House Minority Leader Jim Ward, D-Wichita, may see a scrap for his post, largely because it doesn’t appear that he’s been able to increase Democrat numbers in the chamber, which is considered a major responsibility.
Everything else? Well, look for a GOP scrap over the No. 2 job in the chamber, Majority Leader. It’s the Majority Leader, moderate Republican Rep. Don Hineman, R-Dighton, who is facing at least two conservative Republicans who hope to build on the shift to the right of the House GOP caucus.
It’s that under-the-sheets campaigning that will to a large degree determine whether Democrat Gov.-elect (now Senator) Laura Kelly, Topeka, gets much of her budget and legislative agenda approved.
And that, again, is where the leadership of the House becomes a key. That House leadership appoints members to committees which will not only come up with their own bills but hold hearings on Kelly-proposed bills.
Don’t like the Kelly bill? Just have the Majority Leader send it to a committee that will knock it down or amend it. That’s why the power to name Republican members of committees is almost thermonuclear.  The House party breakdown means 23-member committees are 16 Republican/7 Democrat; 17-member committees are 12 Republican/5 Democrats and so-on,
So how does a fresh-faced new legislator who doesn’t even know where all the Statehouse bathrooms are, get a flashy committee assignment, say, Appropriations or Tax or Commerce or Federal and State Affairs?  How about pledging to vote for a member of leadership, a little tradeoff and the first real use of a freshman’s power.
Democrats? They’ll make their own committee assignments, but not with the leverage that the Republican committee assignments carry.
Wonder what the upcoming session is going to look like? Wait for the leadership races to trickle down to committee assignments.
We’ll see…
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is the publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at

Monday, November 19, 2018

Obituary: Michael Lee "Mike" Troute

Michael Lee “Mike” Troute, age 56, of Manhattan KS, died November 18, 2018, at the Good Shepherd Hospice House in Manhattan.

He was born July 4, 1962, in Carthage, IL, the son of Larry L. and Gloria Jean (Ikerd) Troute.
Mike grew up in Dallas City, IL, and graduated from Dallas City High School.

Mike served for 12 years in the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1994 at the rank of First Sergeant. Following his discharge from Fort Riley, he stayed in the Manhattan area. He was an owner/operator of several local businesses over the years and currently owned and operated O’Malley’s, Salty Rim and Porter’s.

Mike was a gym rat, enjoyed playing basketball, watching K-State football, boating and loved spending time with his boys. He attended the TRU Community Church in St. George, KS. Mike loved being around people and everyone that he knew was his best friend.

Survivors include his two sons: Tyler Troute of Manhattan, KS, and Teagan Troute of Baldwin City, KS; his mother Gloria Troute of Dallas City, IL; three siblings: Thomas Troute of Golden, IL, Larry Troute of Oakdale, MN, and LeeAnn Unruh of Midland, TX; and many, many friends.

Mike was preceded in death by his father and by his sister-in-law Martha.

Memorial services will be held at 10:00 A.M. Wednesday at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Chapel with Pastor David Romero officiating. Inurnment will be at a later date in the Harris Cemetery in Dallas City, IL.

Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Good Shepherd Hospice House, Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan or the TRU Community Church of St. George. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Opinion: The Hawver Report - Nov. 14, 2018

By Martin Hawver

How would you like to be elected governor of Kansas by about 46,000 votes on Tuesday and on Friday learn that you’re going to have $306.4 million more to spend than you thought?
Columnist Martin Hawver
Martin Hawver
Doesn’t get much better than that, does it? Well, that’s exactly what has happened to Gov.-elect Laura Kelly, who by the way beat Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach who pledged during his campaign to start cutting taxes quickly if elected.
Well, Kelly isn’t talking tax cuts, she’s talking investment in schools, expanding Medicaid and balancing the budget without new taxes—and that was before she heard about the $306 million windfall which the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group unveiled Friday. The CREG meets twice a year, in November and April, to predict upcoming state revenues.
This might be an interesting four years ahead with a governor who wants to first take care of the state’s responsibilities that have been avoided the past several years before talking about tax cuts. The new money is good, of course, but we’re not yet constitutionally “adequate” on state aid to schools and are making little progress in restoring money that has been “swept” out of agency budgets for highway construction, pensions and such.
No, we’re not looking for Kelly to start handing out tax cuts while she’s waiting for her stationery and business cards to be printed up.
In fact, even before that $306 million windfall, Kelly was talking about waiting until next April’s Consensus Revenue Estimate before giving much thought to tax cuts—after she’s nailed down the spending necessary to restore state government duties.
Part of that, of course, is her experience as a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee—which makes the appropriations and cuts necessary to balance the budget. It’s been more cuts than appropriations in the past few years, and she’s made clear that restoration of services is first in line, ahead of tax cuts.
What’s it mean? Well, from a Statehouse viewpoint, it probably means a rather complicated “State of the State” message when lawmakers come back to town in mid-January. She’s a details person, likely to talk more about programs that need to be rebuilt or financed adequately than new programs that Republicans tend to spend a lot of time trying to think up catchy names (or acronyms) for.
Don’t look for flash.
Now, remember that she’s going to face an overwhelmingly Republican legislature that is probably going to be more interested in cutting taxes than rebuilding the state payroll of social workers and helping local school districts rebuild their staff of teachers and aides.
Key there is for the governor to convince those conservatives in the Legislature that the not-very-flashy care of the poor and ill and their children are the best way to improve the state before cutting taxes.
Tax cuts? They will probably start with the sales tax on food. It’s a big deal for the poor who see the cost of a can of beans at 9% or 10% (depending on local sales taxes) more than the shelf price before they get it out of the store and into the kitchen.  Oh, and it also means that those steaks and salmon are cheaper, too, but it’s not an afford-it or not decision for more prosperous Kansans.
That $306 million? Well, it gives Kelly some negotiating room, enough spare cash to bargain a dab of tax cut in return for the social service, highway construction and health-care expenditures she’d like to make.
But all that new direction in state spending that Kelly proposes will ultimately be keyed off of the makeup of the Legislature, and whether that top-heavy Republican majority in both chambers is solid enough to pass veto-proof legislation.
We’ll see. Check back in April…
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at

Monday, November 5, 2018

Opinion: The Contentious Words and Name Calling Turns

Kevin Surbaugh

photographer Kevin Surbaugh
The November election is tomorrow. How many people will vote tomorrow? Last week Douglas County reported that 23% had already voted (through Oct 29).  Since then the Kansas Secretary of State has reported 300,000 had already cast a vote in early voting statewide.  That kind of turnout is unprecedented, for a midterm election. Will that turnout hold true through election day tomorrow.  We will see, but for now, let's focus on my endorsements for this years election.

On the Federal level, you probably already seen my endorsement of Steve Watkins over Paul Davis.
photographer Kevin Surbaugh
In the race for Governor of the Great State of Kansas, Laura Kelly (Democrat), Kris Kobach (Republican), and Greg Orman (Independent) are considered to be the three battling it out.  There are two others running, another independent and a Libertarian. They aren't even polling higher then single digits,  Then again, neither is Orman. So why is he considered a major candidate and the other two aren't? It goes back to when, he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate against Pat Roberts, when without a Democrat in the race, he came in a strong second place.

The Governor's race is interesting to me. It, of course, is the meat and potatoes in Kansas politics. Our focus boils down to Kelly and Kobach.  Polling, which I had alluded to already, have the race very tight. A poll conducted by Emmerson has Kobach edging Kelly 44% to 43% in a poll conducted between October 26 and 28.
In another poll, conducted about the same time (Oct 17-27), ISPOS and Reuters in conjunction with the Virginia Center of Politics reported that Kelly edged out Kobach 43% to 41%, in a statistical dead heat.
The race has been interesting, to say the least. Like both of the Congressional races in eastern Kansas, it has been contentious. With former Republican Governors and U.S. Senators endorsing the Democrat. Republicans who have ignored Ronald Reagan statement, "never say anything bad about fellow Republicans."  It is true that Republican politicians have supported Democrats before, likewise, Democrats support Republicans. However, those instances were done in secret. Not publicly broadcasted. It is part what is expected from the leadership of any party. I, myself have personally served as a precinct committeeman. A position that, in part elects the chair and other leadership of their respective party. In turn, they also help promote the candidates of their party, they cannot publicly support any candidate from another party. Doing so goes against the grain of what they were elected to do. So the actions and statements by that handful of Republicans (some of who I call friends) are disappointing.
So, who am I endorsing? Well, I actually cast my vote, with having to be in the office until 4:30 and then driving in rush hour traffic back to home, it was just easier. Even though I am among the 23% plus that has already voted, it is important for me to lay out my cards and tell my readers who I voted for and thus who I encourage each of you to vote for also. That candidate is Kris Kobach. True, there are issues I disagree with him on.  One of which is medical marijuana. Something that has been proven to offer relief for some kinds of pain and medical conditions. Something that Missouri and Utah are voting on tomorrow to join the growing list of states that will legalize it for those with a doctors prescription. I think Kobach could come around with some education.   His commitment to hold the line on taxes is a big reason I support him.
State Representative
In the race for state representative, Eileen Horn is running unopposed, so I wrote my own name in.  If you so chose, you can also write in the name of D. Kevin Surbaugh for state representative. I have not campaigned for the position, nor will I, but I will accept the position if there are enough write-in votes.
Live Reporting
Finally, I will be live posting results as they come in tomorrow night. The first post I expect will be around 7:30, thirty minutes after the polls close. Who will win? We will find out tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Opinion: A Look at the Second Congressional Election

Kevin Surbaugh

It's that time of the year again. Yes, it's election time.  That is no surprise with all the contentious barbs that have been being traded this election cycle. In fact, it has been one of the most contentious I have seen in several years.  Even more so than the Trump v Clinton election two years ago.
My mailbox has been filled with a lot of mail from both sides.

One piece of mail came from a group calling itself the Center for Voter Information, out of Springfield, MO.  Once it was opened up, I found the mailer was a liberal organization, twisting the truth. The first problem is that it is out of state interest group, interjecting itself into a Kansas election.  The second, it claimed that Steve Watkins wants to cut the taxes for millionaires.  Trying to insinuate that he wants to raise everyone else's taxes.  The real fact is that he wants to lower the taxes for everyone, especially the poor.  The fact that millionaires are also included, is a good thing.  If the millionaire's taxes are lower, they have more money to pay employees. Yes, millionaires tend to be the ones who own businesses. As such they create jobs.  More money they have, the more jobs they can create. The more jobs they create, the more people are working and paying taxes.  Which, is a big win for the government.
The fact Paul Davis is shady is, or should be by now obvious, with his being present in the back room of a strip club, receiving a lap dance when the club was raided for drugs. One could say, as Davis tries to, that was thirty-years ago. Does change the fact, that as a lawyer he should have known better.  Sure people can change, but it's hard to not overlook that fact.  I admit, I have done things in my past, that I would rather forget. Especially in my youth. That, however, was just that I was not a lawyer, I was not someone, who was representing the law in any way. I was young and ipressionable, I since grew up.  Davis was a grown man, working as a lawyer.
He in turns tries to paint Watkins to be just as shady. I for one am not buying it. Yes, I have qualms about the GOP nominee (I endorsed and voted for Caryn Tyson in the Primary), but I cannot in good conscience, vote for someone, who wants to raise taxes on Americans.  Which in turn, if it happened, would raise unemployment.  The fact is, we must cut Government waste.  If a candidate, isn't willing to look at cutting government waste first and foremost then I am not interested in voting for them,  It is for that reason, I am endorsing Steve Watkins for Congress in the second district of Kansas,  

Monday, October 29, 2018

Opinion: Hawver Reports

By Martin Hawver

We’ve come to the point in the campaigns that political ad after political ad after political ad drag on long enough that there’s time to microwave popcorn and not miss the cop show on television.
Martin Hawver
Yes, and for those of you who have other things to think about during the commercials…one of those thoughts might just be what happens to the Kansas Legislature after the next federal census in 2020.
That’ll be the 24th national census, and it is designed to tell us what the population of the nation is, and where those people are located—and likely whether Kansas remains a four-congressional district state.
Is that official April 1, 2020, headcount a little far off? Why think about it now? Well, if you live in one of those Kansas House or Senate districts out west, say, west of US-81, the north-south Interstate that is the dividing line between western Kansas and eastern Kansas, you might want to start thinking about it now.
It’ll be 2022 when the first statewide election occurs after the census, based on that federal census and where it says the people are. That’s the key data for reapportionment of Kansas House and Senate districts. Oh…and the state’s four congressional districts.
And that reapportionment is based on U.S. Census population data which the Legislature will spend more than a year dissecting into 40 Senate districts and 125 House districts, and, yes, those four Congressional districts.
What’s worth thinking about now ahead of that reapportionment? Probably for much of western Kansas it’s what the Republican Party efforts to further regulate immigration and the “close the border” talk has to do with populations out west of US-81.
Yes, it is western Kansas, with its agriculture and food processing industry that stands the best chance of seeing foreign workers not participating in the census or maybe misstating their legal citizenship for fear of deportation. Oh, and there are lots of foreign-born workers and their children in other parts of the state, too.
Now, the GOP and President Donald Trump make a decent case that immigrants should come across the border with Mexico legally. They ought to get the visas and such, and probably some clearly defined path to becoming a full United States citizen, with a stake in how this country is run, and the right to vote.
But this concentration on immigration, while a strong national political issue, will undoubtedly have some effect on headcount in the census.
So, if the historic trend of adults and their children moving out of western Kansas is accelerated by federal immigration regulation that makes the census inaccurate, count on many who have come to this country and state for a better life to decide just not to participate.
And that means likely less census-counted population in parts of western Kansas, and by the time the Legislature has mapped out new House and Senate districts based on population, fewer state representatives and senators from areas where the population count is down.
That means fewer, and larger, Kansas House and Senate districts out west, and likely more districts in urban areas of eastern Kansas—Wichita, Topeka, and Missouri-bordered northeast Kansas counties.
Now, it’s based on population, and that’s fair, but it likely means less attention will be paid to western Kansas (except for highways) and more attention to population-heavy areas based on their representation in the House and Senate because the members of the House and Senate will be tilted toward urban areas—which, by the way, are easier to gerrymander based on voter political registration.
Something to think about during those commercials, isn’t it?
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at