Friday, April 20, 2018

Opinion: Helpful Resources for Farmers

by Cora Fox,  Center for Rural Affairs




Cora Fox, Center for Rural Affairs
Whether you are a beginning farmer or have been farming for 30 years, it is important to know resources are available to assist you in your farming venture – through education, technical assistance, mediation, or counseling.
Maybe you’d like financial counseling or support during land transitions, but aren’t sure where to go? Are you concerned about your farming operation or do you need mediation services?
The Center for Rural Affairs has compiled a list of well-established organizations to aid farmers in navigating these resources. While this list is not all-inclusive, it covers a wide array of services.
Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services, 800.321.FARM (800.321.3276), ksre.k-state.edu/kams/ is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified program that has helped farmers and ranchers explore options through mediation as well as other financial and legal concerns. The program helps with appeal options for USDA adverse decisions, including farm loan delinquency and denial. Staff support producers with agricultural financial counseling and legal assistance.
Center for Rural Affairs, 402.687.2100, www.cfra.org, operates a helpline with information on farm bill programs that can help farmers or ranchers get started or implement conservation programs. The staff makes referrals to organizations that may better address questions or concerns.
Farm Aid, 800.FARM.AID (800.327.6243), www.farmaid.org, connects farmers to resources with an online directory listing more than 750 organizations. Farm Aid also provides information on farm start-ups, sustainable agriculture, legal issues in farming, farm financing, and farm activism and organizing.
Michigan State University Extension, 517.279.4311, msue.anr.msu.edu, has a free online program. “Weathering the Storm: How to Manage Stress on the Farm,” addresses signs and symptoms of chronic stress and helps farmers cope with challenges.
National Farmers Union, 202.554.1600, nfu.org, plays an active role in the farm bill and works on grassroots-driven policy. They have connections with numerous farm organizations and make referrals.
Rural Response Hotline, 800.464.0258, imneb.org/imn-programs/farming/rural-response-hotline/, is available for farmers, ranchers, and rural residents to call. Staff makes referrals to attorneys, financial counselors, clergy, other farmers, and mediation services, as needed. In addition, staff assists with stress, depression, or other mental health concerns.
National Center for Appropriate Technology, 800.346.9140, attra.ncat.org, provides information and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, extension agents, and others involved in implementing sustainable agriculture practices. Specialists provide one-on-one technical assistance. Publications, webinars, and other resources are available.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Governor Colyer Signs School Funding Bill into Law; Calls on Legislature to Fix Error

Press Release


TOPEKA –  Governor Colyer today signed Sub. Senate Bill 423, appropriating an increase of more than $500 million in K-12 funding over the next five years, at a ceremony at Seaman High School in Topeka. The bill, which aims to provide adequate and equitable funding for all Kansas schools, was passed by the legislature moments before they adjourned their regular session in early April.
“Kansas wants to lead the way in education,” said the Governor. “I’m very proud to sign this legislation as it means more money in the classroom, more accountability measures and a focus on student outcomes. Most importantly, it keeps our schools open without raising taxes on hardworking Kansas families.”
The Governor also called on the Legislature to fix the error that inadvertently decreased expenditures to schools by $80 million. “It’s important that we get this right,” said the Governor.
Governor Colyer was joined by several legislators including president of the Seaman School Board, Chairman Fred Patton, and Representative Brenda Dietrich.
The Governor has now signed 57 bills into law this session. By law, the Kansas governor has 10 calendar days to sign bills into law, veto bills or allow bills to become law without his signature.
 

At the Rail - Taxes

By Martin Hawver 

Sometime Friday afternoon the state’s official financial gurus—the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group—will meet and come to agreement on just how much money the state will receive in the remaining few months of this fiscal year and next fiscal year which starts July 1.

That memo, called CRE, will be not quite as big a deal as a puff of white smoke rising above the Vatican, but for Kansas government/legislative/ political purposes it will be close. Very close.
That estimate of revenue becomes the official estimate of revenue and everything that happens after it is announced is tied to that estimate.
Right or wrong, high or low, it’s the basis for nearly everything that is going to happen to or for Kansans for the fiscal year.
The issues that are going to be decided based on those estimates are school finance, of course, and a potential income tax cut for some Kansans, investments in water supply, highway improvements/repair and the pensions of thousands of Kansans who are members of the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System. Oh, and don’t forget health care for thousands of Kansans and payments for hospitals and nursing homes that take care of the elderly and frail.
A lot of issues based on that Friday afternoon meeting? Sure are, and the number that the CRE presents also will influence legislators—the entire House of Representatives, which is up for election this fall.
How does that figure into life for folks who don’t spend their day hanging around the Statehouse? It determines just what the state can afford and can’t afford and that determines just what legislators can pass or not pass that will make Kansans’ lives better or at least no worse.
Schools are of course at the top of the list, and there is that roughly $80 million that was inadvertently left out of the school finance bill that Gov. Jeff Colyer will sign into law this week. Sign a bill to boost state aid to elementary and secondary schools that doesn’t include all the money that lawmakers thought they were spending? Yes, because that bill, though it doesn’t contain all the dollars it should, also put lawmakers on the hook for it. They will have to pony up the money to accomplish what they thought they were voting on to convince the Kansas Supreme Court that they actually intend to make state funding for public schools constitutional. Not much backing out room there, is there?
But the other major issue that is dependent on that CRE will be an income tax cut for thousands of Kansans because the state can’t cut taxes—that’s taxes for most of us, and revenue for the state—without an estimate that shows the state can afford it. And who doesn’t want a tax cut and the bullet point on those House members’ palm cards that show that they cut your taxes?
It’s a federal trickle-down deal, the less federal income taxes you pay the more of your money is left sitting around to levy state income taxes against. And, if the CRE comes in big enough, well, the state won’t need to tax that cash left over from your federal taxes, and it will appear that the state isn’t just gobbling up the federal tax leftovers.
Enough money for schools and a tax cut? What’s still on the plate can be spent for those roads, the water supply, care for the elderly and poor, law enforcement, prisons, a lot of things that have been scrimped on in recent years. If the CRE says the money is there.
Yes…Friday afternoon. We’ll see how that works out, won’t we…?
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 www.hawvernews.com

Former First Lady Barbara Bush Dies at 92

Kevin Surbaugh

Credit: Maria Rachel Melchor | Defense Imagery
Management Operations Center |
Date Taken: 06/10/2012
Former first lady Barbara Bush smiles for a
photograph aboard her husband's namesake ship and the U.S.
Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush
(CVN 77), June 10, 2012, in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship
hosted Bush, her husband and members of their family,
including former President George W. Bush, for the ceremony
in the ship's hangar bay. (U.S. Navy photo by
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class
Maria Rachel D. Melchor)
Houston, TX - Just after 7 p.m. last on April 17, 2018, the news broke that former first lady Barbara Bush had passed away early Tuesday evening.
CNN reported,
Barbara Bush, the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty and a first lady who elevated the cause of literacy, died Tuesday, according to a statement from her husband's office. She was 92.
She was only the second woman to have had both a husband and a son who was elected President.
It had been announced Sunday that the former First Lady had chosen to not receive any further medical treatment, instead to focus on "comfort care".
Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church (717 Sage Road) in Houston, which she and former President George H.W. Bush regularly attended, according to the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library's website. She will lay in repose on Friday at the church from noon until midnight. Burial will be at the Library College Station.

She is survived by her husband and their children George, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy.  Barbara Pierce Bush was born June 8,1925.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Council Agenda - Baldwin City - April 17

Baldwin City Council Agenda
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 7:00 PM
Location: Baldwin City Public Library
                800 7th Street


 A. Call to Order- Mayor Casey Simoneau
B. Approval of Agenda
 C. Consent Agenda
1. Minutes of the April 3, 2018 Regular Meeting
2. Winefest
D. Public Comment:
Members of the public are welcome to comment on items relating to City business not listed on this
Agenda. Please stand and wait to be recognized by the Mayor. As a general practice, the comments may
or may not be acted upon by the Council during the meeting, or Council may refer the items to staff for follow up.
If you wish to comment on an item listed on the Agenda, a sign-up sheet is provided for you to sign in and provide your address. You will be called on when the Agenda item of interest is under discussion by the Council.
E. Special Reports or Presentations
1. Sidewalk Sales event
F. Old Business
1. Senior Housing
2. Utility Rate Study
3. Fireworks ordinance
4. Midland Railway Trail Easement Agreement Amendment
G. New Business
1. Conditional Use Permit - Short term rental
2. Mural Program
H. Committee and/or Commission Reports
1. Budget and Finance - A.J. Stevens/David Simmons
2. Community Development - Tony Brown/Brian Cramer
3. Public Health and Safety - Brian Cramer/Tony Brown
4. Public Works - David Simmons/Susan Pitts
5. Utilities - Susan Pitts/A.J. Stevens
6.  Legislative - David Simmons/Susan Pitts
I. City Administrator and Staff comments
1. Audit report
2. 2018 Cases - Police Department
J. Council & Mayor Comments
K. Executive Session
L. Adjourn
City Council meets every first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Library community meeting room. Council work sessions are held the last Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the American Legion Hall.
Council Committees:
Budget and Finance - 2nd Thursday, 7:30 AM at City Hall
Community Development - 4th Thursday, 3:00 PM at City Hall
Public Health and Safety - 2nd Thursday, 3:00 PM at City Hall
Public Works - TBD
Utilities - 3rd Thursday, 7:00 PM at Public Works

Monday, April 16, 2018

Baldwin City Makes Top Schools in Kansas List

Kevin Surbaugh


This past week, backgroundcheck.org announced it's annual list of the top one hundred school districts in Kansas. In a media release, the organizers at BackGroundCheck.org said,

The top five districts are: Waconda, Blue Valley, Spring Hill, De Soto, and Andover.
The following contributed to the ranking: student performance (math and reading test scores), dropout rates, school funding, and area poverty rates. Data was collected from a total of 9,577 school districts.

Graphics courtesy of Backgroundcheck.org
Several districts in the area made the list. Number two, Blue Valley, which was the school mentioned in the television show Mama's Family is located in Stilwell and Overland Park. Spring Hill, which came in number three, is in Johnson and Miami Counties. Other nearby districts that made the list include, Gardner Edgerton, which is just down the road, Silver Lake, which is just north of Topeka, Auburn Washburn which covers parts of southwest Topeka and Olathe all made the list.

Baldwin City ranked number 15 on this years list.  The complete list, by rank, is below. Backgroundcheck.org is a public safety focused organization committed to increasing public safety, community involvement, and education.




Top Districts in Kansas

Rank District City
1 Waconda USD 272 Waconda
2 Blue Valley  USD 229 Stilwell
3 Spring Hill USD 230 Spring Hill
4 Desoto USD 232 Desoto
5 Andover USD 385 Andover
6 Gardner Edgerton USD 231   Gardner
7 Silver Lake USD 372 Silver Lake
8 Goddard USD 265 Goddard
9 Piper Kansas City 203 Kansas City
10 Olathe USD 233 Olathe
11 Valley Falls USD 338 Valley Falls
12 Rock Creek City
13 Auburn Washburn USD 437 Topeka
14 Circle USD 375USD 323 Towanda
15 Baldwin City USD 230 Baldwin City
16 Cheney USD 268 Cheney
17 Maize USD 266 Maize
18 Basehor-Linwood USD 458 Basehor
19 Hays USD 489 Hays
20 Hesston USD  460 Hesston
21 Vermillion USD 380 Vermillion
22 Louisburg USD 416 Louisburg
23 Pike Valley USD 426 Scandia
24 Lyndon USD 421 Lyndon
25 Little River USD 444 Little River
26 Burlingame USD 454 Burlingame
27 Holton USD 336 Holton
28 Hodgeman County Schools
USD 227
Jetmore
29 Durham-Hillsboro-Lehigh
USD 410
Hillsboro
30 Phillipsburg USD 325 Phillipsburg
31 North Ottawa County USD 239 Minneapolis
32 Clearwater USD 264 Clearwater
33 Comanche County USD 300 Coldwater
34 Eureka USD 389 Eureka
35 Renwick USD 267 Andale
36 Valley Center
37 St. Francis Community
38 Smokey Valley
39 Paola Paola
40 Augusta Augusta
41 Cimarron-Ensign
42 Buhler
43 Meade Meade
44 Norton Community Norton
45 Barnes
46 Seaman Topeka
47 Lincoln
48 Lawrence Lawrence
49 Sedgwick Public Schools
50 Dighton
51 Hoxie Community Schools
52 Canton-Galva
53 Wellsville Wellsville
54 Concordia Concordia
55 Manhattan-Ogden Manhattan
56 Nickerson
57 Thunder Ridge
58 Hiawatha Hiawatha
59 Victoria
60 Woodson
61 Oakley
62 Spearville
63 Uniontown
64 Lansing
65 Twin Valley
66 Norhern Valley
67 Frontenac Public Schools
68 Oswego Oswego
69 Mulvane Mulvane
70 Kaw Valley
71 Southern Lyon County
72 Royal Valley
73 Remington-Whitewater
74 Moundridge Moundridge
75 Ellsworth Ellsworth
76 Wamego Wamego
77 Riley County
78 Chapman Chapman
79 Rose Hill
80 Southeast Of Saline
81 North Lyon County
82 Jefferson West
83 Smith Center
84 Republic County
85 Newton
86 Barber County North
60 Clay Center
61 Chase County
62 North Jackson
63 Sylvan Grove
64 Cherokee
65 Minneola
93 Eudora Eudora
94 Mill Creek Valley
95 Inman Inman
96 Girard Girard
97 Humboldt Humbolt
98 Belle Plaine
99 Haven Public Schools
100 Garnett Garnett
























Governor Colyer Signs Anti-Swatting Bill and Serveral Others into Law

Press Release


TOPEKA –  Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. signed in to law on Friday, HB2581 that increases penalties for “swatting” or other false alarms if a third party is injured as a result of the hoax. Swatting is the action of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about an armed police response to a particular address. This harassment tactic resulted in the loss of the life of Andrew Finch of Wichita in December 2017 after police were called to his home following a prank call allegedly placed by an individual in California.     “We need to send a clear message that this behavior is unacceptable in our society,” said Governor Jeff Colyer, “It isn’t a prank, it isn’t a joke, it is a deadly serious crime and this law makes it clear that we will treat it as such.  What happened to Mr. Finch was unspeakably tragic, and we hope that this law will prevent any other innocent people from losing their lives as a result of this horrific behavior.”     
“I am very pleased to think this legislation could possibly save lives,”
said Lisa Finch, mother of Andrew.

 Other bills Governor Colyer signed into law on Friday included the following:
 
  • Senate Bill 185: Expedites redevelopment projects by revising the powers of Johnson and Labette Counties in regard to certain redevelopment districts and authorities. (Signed 04/11/18)
  • Senate Bill 324: Amends the vehicle dealers and manufacturers licensing act to prohibit certain actions by manufacturers which place unnecessary costs and burdens on vehicle dealers.
  • Senate Bill 410: Updates insurance statutes to allow certain captive insurance companies in the State of Kansas.
  • Substitute for House Bill 2147: Refunds improperly collected income taxes to certain Native American veterans.  
  • Senate Substitute for House Bill 2184: Amends workers compensation death benefits.
  • House Bill 2580: Prevents consumer reporting agencies from charging certain fees relating to consumer report security freezes.
  • House Bill 2581: Increases penalties for “swatting” and other false alarms if a third party is injured or killed as a result of the hoax. (Announced in the previous release)
  • House Bill 2639: Allows KDHE to collect a fee for fingerprinting individuals maintaining, residing, working, or volunteering at a child care facility. 
 
The Governor has now signed 50 bills into law this session. By law, the Kansas governor has 10 calendar days to sign bills into law, veto bills or allow bills to become law without his signature.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Area Happenings - Week of April 15

Here are the upcoming events that the Gazette has been made aware of as of  April 14, 2017.  To submit an item to the community events calendar, please email it to press@baldwingazette.com.



April 16, 2018 
Jail Expansion Discussion - Baldwin City







 April 17, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.



April 19, 20 and 21, 2018

The Christians
7:30 P.M.
April 22
2:00 P.M.

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.


April 26, 2018

Jaw Bats 
Open House


Check out Baldwin City's own baseball bat manufacturing facility. Come expecting a super fun baseball-themed open house, with ballpark food and appearances by Baldwin City Blues and  Keepers of the Legends.

Time: 5-6:30 p.m.

Location: JAW BATS LLC
606 High Street Suite B
Baldwin City, Kansas







April 26, 2018





Eggs & Issues: A Conversation with Dr. Lynne Murray


April 27, 2018

Time: 7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.

Location: Kansas State Bank
602 Ames St
Baldwin City, Kansas 66006

 *formerly known as Coffee & Conversation*

Eggs & Issues is a civic engagement program brought to you by the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas State Bank and the City of Baldwin City, Kansas.  At the April 27th event Dr. Lynne Murray, president of Baker University (Official), will host a conversation about Baker University and Baldwin City.

New Location: Kansas State Bank Breakfast chef: George McCrary, Business Development Officer of Kansas State Bank.




April 27, 2018
Spring Choral Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.


May 1, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.



May 3, 2018 
Chris Grubb Jazz Ensemble Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

May 8, 2018
Spring Orchestra Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

May 9, 2018
Chris Grubb Jazz Guest Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

May 15, 2018
Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.



 May2018

Graduations
Location:

Baldwin City, KS
Time:


June 15, 2018
Wine Fest
Lotatorium
4-9 P.M.


Third Friday Art Walk and Farmers Market

Downtown Baldwin City





Every 4th Thursday of the Month
10 A.M. - 11 A.M.
Mobile Food Bank
Baldwin City New Life Assembly of God
118 5th St  Baldwin City, KS
Stay in your car, line up and drive through



Every Tuesday through October  
Eudora Local Gardening Farmer’s Market
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm Tuesdays
through October 2016
1402 Church Street
Eudora, KS.
In the parking lot of Gene’s Hartland Foods.
Local, fresh produce and foods offered by local growers and producers!


Every Wednesday through October
De Soto Farmer’s Market (Fresh Promise’s Market)
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Wednesdays through October 2016
at The Barn at Kill Creek Farm
9200 Kill Creek Road
De Soto, KS
Local, fresh produce and foods offered by local growers and producers!


Every Thursday through October 
Cottin's Hardware Farmer's Market on Thursdays from
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
through September
at Cottin's Hardware & Rental back parking lot
1832 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS
Local vendors offer a variety of goods including produce, baked items, hot foods, meats, eggs, soaps, jams, jellies, herbs, fudge and much more!;


Every Friday through October
Perry Lecompton Farmers' Market
Fridays from 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
at Bernie's parking lot
24 Hwy and Ferguson Road
Perry, KS
Visit the market to find fresh vegetables, fruits, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, honey, fresh cut flowers, farm fresh eggs, handmade crafts and more!

Kobach and Selzer Take Jabs at Colyer in GOP Debate

Kevin Surbaugh


Atchison, KS - Three of the eight remaining gubernatorial candidates on the GOP ticket, debated in the second debate. All three of the candidates on stage already hold a statewide office. Those candidates were Governor Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Ken Selzer. The stated topic for the debate on this night was education. Governor Jeff at one point said that there has been ten Governors, five Democrats and five Republicans that has been under the gun of appropriations litigation. Saying it has to end, he announced, that he was going to sign
a bill the week of April 16 that will begin that process.
Three of the eight Republican candidates for Governor
debated in Atchison on Friday night as severe storms loomed
over Douglas County.
photographer Kevin Surbaugh
Kobach in a remark aimed at the Governor said,
“If you pay a king’s ransom, which over $500 million bucks is a king’s ransom, you are not going to solve the problem,” Kobach said. “The next day another lawsuit will be filed demanding another ransom. You can’t live in a fantasy world where if we just keep paying, we just keep coughing up the money. The plaintiffs will never say there’s enough.”  
Kobach said he would stop spending money on what he referred to as "Taj Mahal size buildings" and administration. Citing that for every $200,000 we give a school district, $50,000 goes to teacher salaries, $50,000 towards books and supplies while $100,000 goes to fund oversized, elaborate buildings and administrative salaries. Something he says must end.
Responding to reporter questions after the debate, regarding the attacks on him, Colyer said that he doesn't scream shout, instead, he gets results. He further told reporters,
“I’m governor and if people want to attack, that’s fine. It’s an honor to serve the great state of Kansas." 
As the debate proceeded Selzer said, that kids are coming to school more often, not ready. They haven't learned to read, add or write. "We have to have a government that champions accomplishments. We have to get more value for our dollars," he told the packed room at the Atchison Event Center.
He also said that fifty-five (55) percent of college graduates in Kansas are gone after five-years. That translates into less revenue for the state.
Kobach elicited the biggest round of applause for the night, when he said, Of

Another Candidate Jim Barnett, was present in the room, but was not on the stage,  “citing that the GOP debate agreement  limits who can ask questions and what kind of questions can be asked, Barnett told the Gazette in a phone interview in the week leading up to the debate, he said that the press should be asking the questions. Another issue, the agreement blocks candidates from participating in the debate if they did not for in the last gubernatorial (2014) election, Barnett said.


The complete list of Current GOP Candidates for Governor
(Names in bold did not participate in this or the previous debate)
  1.  Jeff Colyer, incumbent Governor    Running mate: Tracey Mann, incumbent Lieutenant Governor
  2.  Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas  Running mate: Wink Hartman, businessman     
  3. Ken Selzer, Kansas Insurance Commissioner
  4. Joseph Tutera Jr., (Mission Hills) high school student
  5. Jim Barnett, former State Senator, nominee for Governor in 2006 and candidate for KS-01 in 2010
  6. Andy Maskin, New York resident and emerging technology specialist  Running Mate: Scott Goodwin     
  7. Tyler Ruzich, (Shawnee Mission) high school student     
  8. Dominic Scavuzzo, (Leawood) high school student 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

At the Rail - Week of April 9, 2018

By Martin Hawver 




Just imagine that three months after being sworn in as governor, the Kansas Legislature decided to make Jeff Colyer essentially the king of Kansas—for nine days.
As king, of course, you can sign bills into law, veto bills, scratch out any of the hundreds of line items for spending in the upcoming budget bill.
Martin Hawver,
Syndicated Columnist
In the past, lawmakers have always made sure that once they have completed their entire session and sent bills to the governor, they later have a day—called sine die adjournment--in which they can consider gubernatorial vetoes and override them if they believe the governor has made a bad decision. 
That’s the Legislature’s final check on the governor if an overwhelming majority—two-thirds of the members of the House and Senate—agree that the governor has made the wrong decision by vetoing bills that a super-majority of legislators believe is good public policy or has cut funding for programs that they believe are important to the state and its people.
But now Colyer—who has 10 days to act on bills after they have passed the Legislature or they become law without his signature—can merely sign bills that he considers a good photo-op or hang onto them until lawmakers leave town.
The measure that creates the brief—April 26 to May 4—period of unbridled gubernatorial power was the adjournment resolution that lawmakers had to pass before midnight Saturday. Without that adjournment resolution passage by midnight Saturday, this year’s Legislature would have ended. No wrapup-session, no more meetings…just ended and the lawmakers go home.
That absolute adjournment, which would have occurred at midnight, was avoided by last-minute, yes, literally last-minute depending on your view of the clock in the House—either 11:58 p.m. or 11:59 p.m.—passage by the House of the Senate-written resolution which allows lawmakers to return April 26 to complete their work.
With the Senate across the hall debating a school finance bill in what was clearly a filibuster to chew up time, the House was literally forced into agreeing to the Senate’s earlier-passed adjournment resolution. It was a deadline like few have seen in the past; the House either OK’d the Senate’s resolution or the Legislature ended at midnight, without a budget and spending authority for the upcoming fiscal year.
Yes, that’s how close it was. Just seconds before the Legislature would have gone out of business for the year with no money appropriated for schools, highways, law enforcement, prisons, health-care programs, and welfare. Imagine the entire state with its agencies, employees and state services not funded.
The tradeoff for the session ending at midnight was abandoning that legislative oversight of the governor’s actions on all bills passed during the wrap-up session.
Is it just insider stuff? Under-the-dome politicking? Partly. Colyer undoubtedly would have called a special session, forcing lawmakers to return to finish their work. The state wouldn’t have turned out the lights at the end of this fiscal year.
But…this is a year in which the entire House seeks reelection, and in which Colyer is hip deep in the campaign for the Republican nomination for the governorship.
A well-aimed veto pen can be a political tool. Colyer can cut specific appropriations with much political fanfare: He’s saved money, cut what he can label wasteful spending. …and just a little clip here or there can be portrayed to show that he’s not a big-spender like the Legislature, that he is looking out for those potential GOP primary voters…
Any chance the GOP-controlled Legislature might near-anonymously put something in the budget bill that is a good political pick-off for the governor?
Hmmm…
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 www.hawvernews.com