Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hawver's At the Rail for Week of February 26, 2018

By Martin Hawver





Too early to tell for sure, but it is starting to look like that $200,000-plus consultant report on costs of K-12 education for public school students might just tell legislators how much it should cost to educate your “average” Kansas schoolchild with your “average” Kansas schoolteacher.
Martin Hawver
Sorry about that unfortunate use of the word “average” but it is a term that hasn’t been used in the same sentence as school finance for a long time.
That consultant study, which lawmakers will receive March 15, is taking an approach that is rare. Because nobody thinks his/her child or grandchild, or niece or nephew, is average, and no teacher raises a hand at a schoolteacher conference when the moderator asks who is just an average teacher.
But it is a baseline that may be a key to convincing the Kansas Supreme Court that the state is adequately funding public schools.
Now, average cost is just a start, of course, but the consultant hired by the state is going to strip away the transportation, the food service, the maintenance, the administrative costs, and try to come up with a baseline for computing just how much money the Legislature ought to be appropriating for K-12 education.
Don’t worry, that busing, maintenance, administration, construction financing—and of course the key education elements like special programs for children who are poor, who don’t speak English and who have psychological and mobility problems—are going to be added back into that “average” cost. But just the average cost per pupil is a starting point that most lawmakers haven’t seen.
How those basic average costs and the weightings for students who need special programs, and the buildings and transportation and administration and everything else, is going to be added to that isn’t known yet. But at least lawmakers will have a place to start in rewriting the school finance formula and paying for it.
Key, of course, is convincing the Kansas Supreme Court that the new formula provides adequate funding for the state’s 286 school districts, those average base costs and the costs of additional services pupils need. And the pretty conservative Republican-dominated Legislative Coordinating Council hired a consultant to compute what is adequate and fair spending on schools so that every student has the support to become, well, good grown-up Kansans that we’ll all be proud of, or at least willing to live next door to.

Oh, that starting point, if lawmakers accept it, is just a starting point. They’ll want to figure just how much additional money districts will need because they teach every child, not just “average” children. And the scraps will be over whether the Legislature can convince the court that the funding provided, spent in a businesslike manner, will yield a good education.
So, look for some to maintain that school districts are misspending state aid money; some to maintain that districts get so little money that they must shuffle it around to make up for weightings that aren’t strong enough or that will threaten school administrator salaries and cheerleader and football uniforms and the Astroturf at the football stadium.
And it comes down to spending, of course: Whether the new examination of cost means that the state isn’t providing enough support for local schools or too much money, and eventually whether those locally elected school boards are using their money to efficiently educate those students.
More money needed? Raise taxes or cut spending on everything else the state provides its citizens. Spending about the right amount, but not seeing it used efficiently by districts? Hammer the school boards. Spending more than the consultants believe is necessary? Don’t worry about that one…
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

Two vehicle Accident near Frontier Credit Sends One Person to the Hospital

Kevin Surbaugh


Friday afternoon there was an accident near the on Highway 59 onramp on Highway 56. In a statement from Kristen Channel with the Douglas County Sherriff's office regarding the accident, the accident occurred just before 3 p.m. on Friday, February 23, 2018. According to the statement, Scout Ferrall, 24 of Lawrence, was eastbound on N300 Rd in a 2016 Honda Accord, when she attempted to make a left-hand turn into a driveway at 1270 N300 Road.   At this time a 2005 Chevy Silverado, driven by 49-Year-old Duane Quaney, Osage City, was westbound on N300 and struck Farrell's Honda as it turned in front of the Silverado. There was one other passenger in the Honda and three other passengers in the Silverado. Farrell was the only one who sustained injuries. She was transported to Overland Park Regional Medical Center by ground ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. It appears everyone was wearing seat belts, the report said.

Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. Participates in Panel Discussion on Foreign Investment in Kansas

Press Release


WASHINGTON D.C. - Governor Jeff Colyer yesterday spoke at the Invest in America Annual Summit.  He spoke about ways the state can attract foreign direct investment, increase workforce skill and partner with the private sector to grow the state’s economy.
 
Governor Colyer gave examples of several companies who have invested millions of dollars and provided thousands of jobs to the state such as the $87 million investment and over 100 jobs from Kubota Tractor Corporation of Japan. He also used the example of Viega, a family-owned German manufacturer that completed its third manufacturing facility in McPherson, Kansas, over the past 10 years.  At full build-out, the company will have nearly 600,000 square feet for plastics and metal manufacturing at the site with 425 employees.
 
“With over 57,000 Kansas workers employed as a result of global investment, continuing to attract global employers to our state will be a key part of our growth,” said Governor Colyer, “As Governor I will work hard to attract new investment and job opportunities to Kansas.”

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2018 Session Week Seven Update from State Representative Eileen Horn

by Eileen Horn


Eileen Horn
We just wrapped up week 7 of the legislative session, which marks “turnaround.”  This means that all of the bills that originated in one chamber (House or Senate) need to be voted on and sent to the opposite chamber. Below, I’ll highlight some key discussions and votes that took place during these busy weeks:   
But First, Mark Your Calendars!
State Senator Tom Holland and I will be hosting town hall meetings on Sunday, March 11th in Baldwin City and Eudora to hear from YOU.  Please join us:
Baldwin City: 1:00p.m. – 2:00p.m. @ Lumberyard Arts Center (718 High Street)
Eudora: 2:30p.m. – 3:30p.m. @ Community Room, Eudora Community Rec Ctr (1630 Elm Street
Issues to Watch:
Medicaid Expansion Passes Senate Health and Welfare Committee:
Senate Bill 38, titled the KanCare Bridge to a Healthy Kansas Program, would expand Medicaid services. SB 38 would expand Medicaid services to include adult applicants under 65 years of age, who are not pregnant and whose income does not exceed 133.0 percent of the federal poverty level ($16,040 for a single individual or $32,718 for a family of 4). Medicaid expansion passed through both the Kansas House and Senate last year, but was vetoed by then-Governor Sam Brownback.
Expert Witness for School Finance Presents to Committee
In the Gannon case on school finance in Kansas, Republican leadership hired an expert witness to assist with determining the correct amount of K-12 education funding. That witness, Lori Taylor, presented to both the House K-12 Budget and Senate Committees on Friday, February 23rd.  The Topeka Capitol Journal provided coverage of the presentation.
Over the last two weeks, we voted on more than 60 bills.  All passed out of the House.  Below are some of the more interesting ones:
HB 2506: This bill will allow cities, as well as certain organizations as authorized by current law, to take temporary possession of abandoned property for purposes of rehabilitating the property.  I voted YES.
HB 2476: This bill will create and amend law related to the sale of alcoholic candy and to the sale of domestic beer in refillable containers (i.e. growlers). The bill would define “alcoholic candy” as any candy or other confectionary product with an alcohol content greater than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. I voted YES.
HB 2498: This bill will prohibit state agencies and municipalities from prohibiting any individual from wearing tribal regalia or objects of cultural significance. I voted YES.
HB 2539: This bill will amend the qualifications for candidacy for several statewide elected offices. The bill would require every candidate for the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and State Commissioner of Insurance be a qualified elector of Kansas (over 18, current resident of KS). The bill also would require a candidate for the office of the Attorney General to be licensed to practice law in Kansas.  I voted NO.
HB 2551: This bill prohibits privatization of any correctional or juvenile correctional facility operated by a state agency. I voted YES.
HB 2480: This bill amends the definition of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” in the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Act to expand protections for victims of domestic violence.  I voted YES.
HB 2571: This bill will amend the statute governing disclosure of audio or video recordings made by law enforcement using a body camera or a vehicle camera (law enforcement recordings).  It allows heirs, parents, and attorneys of a victim to view the recordings within 20 days of the incident.  I voted YES.
HB 2530: This bill will add an emergency medical services (EMS) attendant to the list of mandatory reporters of abuse, neglect, exploitation, therefore expanding the number of public servants who are keeping an eye out for abuse victims.  I voted YES.
HB 2459:  This bill provides some major reforms in our civil asset forfeiture law, protecting citizens who have had their property seized by law enforcement agencies.  I voted YES.
HB 2581: This bill will amend the law related to the crime of giving a false alarm (also known as “swatting”). This bill would increase the criminal penalties for calling law enforcement and reporting a crime that is not occurring.  It was named the “Finch Law” after the Wichita victim of swatting this past year.  I voted YES.
HB 2477:  The Pet Animal Act was amended to change fees, and to require unannounced inspections of animal breeders.  These changes help protect pets in our state and help address our puppy mill problem in Kansas. I voted YES.
HB 2674:  This bill creates the Telemedicine Act in Kansas.  This is a major step forward as it requires insurance companies to cover telemedicine services the same as in-person services.  Telemedicine will provide better access to health care, especially in rural Kansas.  I voted YES.
HB 2579:  This bill provides compensation to victims wrongfully imprisoned. It includes annual monetary amounts for damages.  I voted YES.
HB 2700: This bill amends the law related to the disclosure of public records to require the redaction of all portions of an individual’s social security number on any document or record before it is made available for public inspection or copying. I voted YES.
HB 2496: This bill enacts the Nurse Licensure Compact. The Compact would allow RNs and LPNs to have one multi-state license, with the privilege to practice in the home state of Kansas and in 29 other Compact states.  I voted YES.
HB 2701: This bill establishes the Statewide Broadband Expansion Task Force. I voted YES.
To see the full list of bills considered and passed during turnaround, click here.
It is an honor to serve as your state representative.  I both value and need your input on the various issues facing our state government! Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions.  
My office address is Room 54-S, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612.  
You can reach me at (785) 296-7652 (office) or (913) 708-3929 (cell).  
Additionally, you can e-mail me at eileen.horn@house.ks.gov.  
You can also follow the legislative session online at  www.kslegislature.org

In service,
Eileen




2018 Session Week Seven Update from Senator Caryn Tyson

by Senator Caryn Tyson




Turnaround – is the halfway point of the legislative session. It is when bills are supposed to have passed the originating chamber and are now proceeding to the other chamber for consideration.  Both chambers were on the floor last week before turnaround, debating several bills.  Over 30 bills were discussed and voted on in the Senate.  Here is a brief overview of major bills debated.  All the bills can be found online at www.KSLegislature.gov.        

Caryn Tyson
Seatbelt usage admissible in court – Currently, evidence that a seatbelt was or was not used cannot be presented in court.  Senate Bill (SB) 296 would allow this information to be used in court cases.  It makes sense that we have transparency in court and that all the facts are available to make an informed decision. The bill passed 25 to 15.  I voted Yes.

Egg repackaging – Senate Substitute (Sub) for SB Bill 414 will allow for eggs to be repacked instead of being thrown away.  If an egg breaks in a container, then all of eggs in the container are thrown away.  This bill will allow the unbroken eggs to be repackaged.  Once repackaged they must meet grade B requirements and shall not be graded higher than grade B.  Talk about government overreach – we are writing a law that says unbroken eggs can be put in another container?  I would have thought this was already happening.  Who’s going to police this?  I voted Yes, as did all the Senate.  Think about all the eggs that have been wasted.    

Allowing Small Businesses to Expense Deductions – SB 303 will allow small businesses to claim expenses on their state income tax return.  In 2011 this legislation was passed and repealed in 2012.  Last year it was left out of the 2017 massive retroactive tax increase.  Corporations and others can expense placing certain property and computer software into service.  SB 303 will allow small businesses to do the same.  The bill is retroactive so if it becomes law, small businesses and farmers who qualify could file amended state income tax returns.  The bill passed 31 to 8.  I supported the bill and voted Yes.

Transparency in Lobbying – SB 394 would require any person attempting to influence a member of the executive and judicial branch to register as a lobbyist.  It’s a start in the right direction.  The only person required to register as a lobbyist now is a person trying to influence legislative action.  The bill passed the Senate unanimously.

Hemp – SB 263 establishes a pilot hemp program in Russell County, allowing the Department of Agriculture and state colleges for research and to work with local farmers who pass a state and federal background check.  The bill passed 36 to 3.  I voted Yes.

Clarification for Poultry Facilities – KS law has restrictions on Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) for hog and dairy but not poultry.  While Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has rules on poultry, SB 405 will require registration and a federal permit for operations over 125,000 broilers with a dry manure system.  The bill passed the Senate 29 to 10.  I voted Yes. 

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.                                                   Caryn

Monday, February 26, 2018

Area Happenings - Week of February 25

Here are the upcoming events that the Gazette has been made aware of as of  February 24, 2017.  To submit an item to the community events calendar, please email it to press@baldwingazette.com.


February 27, 2018

Douglas County Democratic Meeting
Baldwin City Library
6 P.M.





March 1, 2 and 3, 2018
The Trojan Women
7:30 P.M.
March 4
2:00 P.M.

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.


March 2, 2018






March 3, 2018

Liz Mather is former Baldwin City
resident




March 4, 2018

Tales of our Past
A chat about Baldwin City History

3 p.m. Sunday Afternoons

March 4th - John Richards
March 18th - Walt Bailey & Roger Boyd
April 8th - Phyllis Flickinger Braun & Joanne Gaswint Fiehler Plus

Baldwin City Library
800 7th St
Baldwin City

There will be time afterward to explore the Kansas Room

 
March 5, 2018

Jim Barnett for Governor Town Hall
Date: March 5, 2018
Time: 6 P.M.
Baldwin City Library
800 7th St
Baldwin City



March 6, 2018
Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.



March 8, 2018
Symphonic Winds & Jazz Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

 March 11, 2018
State Senator Tom Holland and State Representative Eilene Horn will be hosting town hall meetings on Sunday, March 11th in Baldwin City and Eudora to hear from YOU.
Please join us:
Baldwin City: 1:00p.m. – 2:00p.m. @ Lumberyard Arts Center (718 High Street)
Eudora: 2:30p.m. – 3:30p.m. @ Community Room, Eudora Community Rec Ctr (1630 Elm Street)



March 18, 2018

Tales of our Past
A chat about Baldwin City History

3 p.m. Sunday Afternoons

March 4th - John Richards
March 18th - Walt Bailey & Roger Boyd
April 8th - Phyllis Flickinger Braun & Joanne Gaswint Fiehler Plus

Baldwin City Library
800 7th St
Baldwin City

There will be time afterward to explore the Kansas Room

 March 20, 2018

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



March 23, 2018




April 8, 2018

Tales of our Past
A chat about Baldwin City History

3 p.m. Sunday Afternoons

March 4th - John Richards
March 18th - Walt Bailey & Roger Boyd
April 8th - Phyllis Flickinger Braun & Joanne Gaswint Fiehler Plus

Baldwin City Library
800 7th St
Baldwin City

There will be time afterward to explore the Kansas Room


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 27, 2018
Spring Choral Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 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.

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 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!






Opinion: Slow Down

Kaley Maley


I am saying this because I don’t want to have be put in the position to save someone though I’m certified with CPR. However, Baldwin hill isn’t a place to race your truck/car down. To the guy that ran off into our ditch 
I hope you learned your lesson about racing full speed down 1055 hill. Glad you are ok. You came very close to hitting one of our largest trees by the road after jumping our ditch going 60+. It’s careless and you don’t realized the impact you would put on not only our family but yours. I hope something is done about the hill in the future. I see so many wrecks living at the bottom and so many that come close to wrecking. 
How do we make 1055 hill safer?
Kaley Maley
Baldwin City, KS

Baldwin City to Get New Police Station

Kevin Surbaugh


The city council has recently agreed to purchase the former Wooden Spoke building, 203 First Street, at the corner of 56 Highway and First, to house the Baldwin City Police Department. The building has been vacant since the Spoke moved up the street last year.  The purchase price for the property is $260,000.
The city of Baldwin City recently agreed to purchase the old
Wooden Spokebuilding at the corner of First and Highway 56,
to use as the cities new police headquarters.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
Mayor Casey Simoneau said that the purchase really will save the citizens of Baldwin City money as opposed to building a whole new building.

Glenn Rodden said that besides the space constraints in their current location, there are a number of safety issues for the officers, in that location. Rodden said that the current location only has 1500 square feet, while the new location will be three to four times bigger with plenty of parking.

There is no estimated time frame for the police department to move into their new digs, it is too early in the process, Simoneau told the Gazette.  The former restaurant and bar, that once housed the Baldwin City Ledger, will be renovated to better suit the department needs. Rodden added that other services could use the building as well. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Council Approves Rezoning of a House that Used to be a Business

Kevin Surbaugh


The February 20 meeting of the Baldwin City Council was called to order by Mayor Casey Simoneau.  The only consent agenda items were the minutes of the February 6 regular meeting and the February 13 special meeting (in which they discussed the purchase of real property).
Discussion resumed from the previous regular meeting, regarding the rezoning of a house at 111 6th Street. The property currently co-owned by Kevin Markley has been used as a commercial property for more than a decade. Most recently as a flower and gift shop.
Council-Member David Simmons voiced concern about rezoning the property back to residential as it has been a business for so many years and has businesses on two sides of it. The Rainbow Preschool on one side and the now vacant previous location of  Kwik Shop. Not to mention the Cranberry Market that used to be in that location that sits across the street. In the end, the council approved the rezoning of the property on a vote of 4 to 1, with Simmons casting the lone dissenting vote.
The council also discussed hiring a third party to conduct a utility rate study at an expense of $6,750. The debate was centered on whether the city should spend that kind of money when the city has done the same studies internally. Council-Member Tony Brown said that the city had limited funds that the nearly $7,000 could be better spent on.  Simmons said that he doesn't know that the study would change anyone perception. Council-Member Susan Pitts moved to approve and Council-Member A. J. Stevens seconded. The motion carried on a vote of 4 to 1 with Brown casting the dissenting vote. 


In other business the council:

  • Unanimously an agreement with Sensus Software to upgrade the cities utility meters for five-years at which time, the software would need to be replaced because it "will be antiquated," said Simoneau. With the upgrade, all city residents will be able look-up, on the cities website, their real-time usage.
  •  Postponed any further decision on a request from Midland Railway for help with repairs to its tracks that got washed out during heavy rains this past year.
  • Again delayed action on a $10, 000 quote for equipment to live stream city council meetings online.  Brown said, "Sounds like the same car with a lower price." The council hopes someone will be able to be at the next meeting to help answer these questions. 
  • Appointed City Administrator Glenn Rodden to represent the city to the KMEA (Kansas Municipal Energy Agency).
  • Opinion: Recognizing the importance of SNAP in Rural America

    By Jordan Rasmussen,  Center for Rural Affairs



    In the nation’s rural communities, where the food that feeds the world is grown, food insecurity is endured by millions of children, seniors, and hardworking Americans. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps stave off hunger in one in six rural households.   
    Jordan Rasmussen
    Yet, the president’s budget for 2019 outlines a nearly $214 billion budget cut to SNAP over the next decade. A cut of this magnitude would undoubtedly impact rural Americans.
    Formerly known as the nation’s food stamp program, from 2010 to 2015, rural America’s SNAP participation rate rose from 12.5 percent to 16 percent, exceeding the national average. Overall SNAP enrollments have declined following the Great Recession, however, rural SNAP rates have remained high as economies have been slow to recover.
    Given the broader socioeconomics of rural America, the importance of SNAP is heightened.
    SNAP exists as a resource to help negate concerns of food security for seniors with limited incomes as they care for themselves and balance expenses. The program is also a resource for families with children under the age of 18, providing nutrition that is essential for childhood development. A greater percentage of rural households among both of these demographic groups participate in SNAP than do nationally.
    As policymakers deliberate the funding and future of SNAP in the 2018 farm bill and broader entitlement reforms, SNAP must be recognized as an investment in rural communities. SNAP is, and needs to be, maintained as a critical safeguard against food insecurity and poverty for rural residents.

     Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

    America Saves Week is February 26 – March 3, 2018

    FDIC Press Release


    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today is encouraging people to use America Saves Week as an opportunity to develop or review their progress toward, financial goals.
    FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg said, "During America Saves Week, financial institutions and their community partners collaborate to help people of all ages develop and achieve savings goals. Small steps in building a savings habit can make a big difference over time."
    The FDIC offers a number of resources to institutions interested in supporting savings and to individuals of all ages who are interested in learning more about saving. For instance, through the FDIC's Youth Banking Network, financial institutions are working with schools and nonprofit organizations to teach financial education and offer students an opportunity to open a savings account—for many students, their first account.
    Many organizations work together during America Saves Week to encourage consumers to make a savings commitment and then take steps to make savings automatic, such as setting up a regular transfer into a savings account. Developing this type of savings habit can help consumers withstand unexpected expenses and income disruptions.

    Saturday, February 24, 2018

    Opinion: Kansas May Soon be Flush in Spare Cash

    Martin Hawver 


    Oh, there are of course the technical and philosophical complaints about the new federal income tax cuts that took effect just in time to lower your federal income tax bill this year. Don’t last long enough, the rich do better, can’t claim the dog as a dependent because you couldn’t get it a Social Security number…
    You know how all that goes.
    But one place that it mostly goes well is the Kansas budget.
    There are dozens of little changes in federal taxes that jiggle the top line of your Kansas income tax form, but on a mass basis, that number—what you have left after paying your federal income taxes—yields for most purposes the income on which you’ll pay Kansas income taxes this year.
    And the big news is that the federal tax cuts leave more Kansas-taxable income for the state to levy against.
    Result: Kansas is likely to receive $138 million more than expected in the fiscal year that starts July 1.  And it just gets better… Estimates are that the next year, Kansas will take in $180 million more and the year after $188 million. That additional state income doesn’t require any icky tax increases here; there’s really nothing to blame the Legislature about because it has no fingerprints on the federal tax cuts that yield more money for the State General Fund which lawmakers will spend.
    That federal trickle-down could brighten the amount available to spend in the upcoming budget year which lawmakers are now assembling, or, rather, just touching up what they planned last year to spend in the new fiscal year.
    So, what happens? Well, things probably brightened for state employees looking for raises. It could mean less sales tax money pulled out of the budget of the Kansas Department of Transportation, which has canceled more than 20 highway and bridge projects in the last year. It could mean more money for health care for the poor and their children and lots of nice things.
    But it will undoubtedly become just another stick to use in the fight over increasing state support of public schools demanded by the Kansas Supreme Court which says the state isn’t making suitable provision for school operations statewide.
    The first scrap, remember, is coming up with a new school finance formula this legislative session and financing it and then proving to the court that the problem is solved…that children in every public school from border to border are receiving a good education.
    Ironically, the new state income tax money is probably about the right amount over the next few years to meet the roughly $600 million in new K-12 spending that most of the Legislature believes is the magic amount that will see the court decide that if divvied up right, it meets constitutional requirements.
    That’s if the estimate is right and if all of it, and probably a little more, is spent on schools and almost nothing else.
    Expect that the additional money is already being sized-up by legislators—especially House members who all stand for re-election this year—for spending on other stuff, like raises for state workers, health care, assistance for the elderly and poor and nearly every other task of state government.
    And, remember that there are conservative lawmakers—especially in the Senate which doesn’t stand for reelection this year—who believe the Supreme Court is wrong, that maybe some changes in school spending patterns are needed, but that the state is spending all it needs to for K-12. That makes the millions of increased state revenue just money in the bank.
    That spare cash will get interesting…
    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

    Monday, February 19, 2018

    Opinion: President's Budget Eliminates Rural Programs

    By Anna Johnson, Center for Rural Affairs




    America stands to suffer as a result of President Trump’s 2019 budget, released on Feb. 12.
    The president has proposed again to eliminate or shrink many programs that serve rural America, including those supporting rural businesses, cooperatives, and housing.
    Trump is also calling for an investment of $50 billion in rural infrastructure, but this could put the onus on states already struggling with the economic fallout of depressed commodity prices.
    Anna Johnson
    In addition, the budget slashes working lands conservation programs by proposing the elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program. The program gives farmers and ranchers opportunities to do such things as plant cover crops or improve pasture land. Eliminating it would do serious damage to our farmers’ and ranchers’ abilities to preserve water quality and build soil health while also maintaining productive operations.
    On a positive note, the president’s budget includes proposals that would bring greater fairness to farming communities. For example, the budget targets commodity, conservation, and crop insurance assistance to producers with adjusted gross incomes of $500,000 or less. A similar proposal would limit the number of people who can register as a farm manager and thereby receive payments.
    For too long, the largest farms have had access to more support than small and mid-sized farms. This competitive advantage for large farms has contributed to farm consolidation and shrinking rural communities. These proposals would bring long-awaited fairness to our agricultural communities.
    Mostly, however, Trump’s budget proposal would drain support for rural America. We fear these actions represent a lack of understanding of rural America’s struggles.
    We urge President Trump and our national lawmakers to cease these actions that undercut rural Americans and rural communities.

    City of Baldwin City Council Meeting Agenda - February 20



    Baldwin City Public Library 800 7th Street

    TUESDAY, February 20, 2018, 7:00 PM



    A. Call to Order- Mayor Casey Simoneau
    B. Approval of Agenda
    C. Consent Agenda
    1. Minutes of the February 06, 2018 Regular Meeting
    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
    F. Old Business
    1. Sensus Software agreement
    2. Re-zoning ordinance
    3. Midland Railroad
    4. Live streaming quote
    G. New Business
    1. Utility Rate Study
    2. KMEA appointment
    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
    J. Council & Mayor Comments
    K. Executive Session
    L. Adjourn

    Gubernatorial Candidate says Saturday's GOP Debate was Rigged

    Press Release


    Topeka -- Jim Barnett, candidate for the Republican nomination for governor this evening said 
    “The Kansas Republican Party is acting like Hillary Clinton and the DNC. Instead of a free and open debate, the Party has put their thumb on the scales to rig the debate for a certain few”.
    Jim Barnett, Candidate for Governor

    According to Barnett, the Republican Party implemented a policy excluding Republican nominees from participating in a debate unless they signed a debate agreement that limits what questions can be asked, who can ask the questions and restricts freedom of the press. The agreement also will not allow two Republican gubernatorial candidates to be in the same room and take questions from the citizens of Kansas.

    He said the anti-free debate scheme was implemented when the Kansas City Star scheduled a December debate to be held in Kansas City. 
     “Leadership from the GOP quickly developed an agreement to block the Star from hosting the debate,” Barnett said.

    The GOP agreement also excludes anyone from participating if they did not vote in the 2014 primary. 
     “I believe the Republican Party is the party of growth, opportunity and personal responsibility. The fact that we have young adults interested enough in our ideals to run for governor is a good thing. We should be a party of ideas,” Barnett said.

    Our Party platform is clear. We believe in our constitution and freedom of the press. We promote free and vibrant political debate,” Barnett said. “But the criteria set out by the state party to control free speech and sanction political debate are self-defeating. They go 180 degrees in the wrong direction.”

    The state party sanctions which groups can host an event and how media can participate.
     “To me, the more groups that want to host our debates, the better. The party should be in the process of enlarging the debate pie, not shrinking it,” Barnett said.

    Our state came to its knees under the Brownback/Colyer administration,” Barnett said. “We need a new and better future for us and for our children. That is what this election is about. Our party can play a key role in that future by actually promoting fee and vibrant debate among its candidates for office.”

    As much as I would like to be a part of the debate, I am unwilling to sign onto a process that actually works in opposition to the goals our party needs to achieve. We should be a party of principles. I strongly urge leaders of the state party to change these self-defeating debate criteria, so free and open debate can occur and the best candidate emerge,” Barnett said.

    The Republican Party sanctioned debate was held Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Wichita. Only four of the eleven Republican candiadtes were allowed or agreed the terms to participate in that debate. 
    The list of candidates that have formed candidate committees include:
    1. former state Sen. Jim Barnett, a Topeka doctor, and the party's 2006 nominee for governor
    2. Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer
    3. Secretary of State Kris Kobach
    4. Wink Hartman, a Wichita oil company owner
    5. former state Rep. Mark Hutton, of Wichita
    6. former state Rep. Ed O'Malley, CEO of the nonprofit Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita;
    7. Patrick Kucera, a Leawood businessman and evangelist
    8. Tyler Ruzich, of Prairie Villager, age 17
    9. Dominic Scavuzzo, of Leawood, age 17
    10. Joseph Tutera Jr., Mission Hills, age 16
    11.  Ethan Randleas, of Wichita, age 17 (although on January 31, he announced he was switching to the Liberterian Party)

    Sunday, February 18, 2018

    Area Happenings - Week of February 18

    Here are the upcoming events that the Gazette has been made aware of as of  February 17, 2017.  To submit an item to the community events calendar, please email it to press@baldwingazette.com.


    February 20, 2018

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



    February 22, 2018

    2018 Annual Awards Banquet




    February 27, 2018

    Douglas County Democratic Meeting
    Baldwin City Library
    6 P.M.





    March 1, 2 and 3, 2018
    The Trojan Women
    7:30 P.M.
    March 4
    2:00 P.M.

    Location:
    Baker University
    Rice Auditorium

    Baldwin City, KS
    7:30 P.M.


    March 2, 2018






    March 3, 2018

    Liz Mather is former Baldwin City
    resident



    March 5, 2018

    Jim Barnett for Governor Town Hall
    Date: March 5, 2018
    Time: 6 P.M.
    Baldwin City Library
    800 7th St
    Baldwin City



    March 6, 2018
    Baldwin City Council Meeting
    Location: Baldwin City Library
    800 7th Street
    Baldwin City, KS
    7 P.M.



    March 8, 2018
    Symphonic Winds & Jazz Concert

    Location:
    Baker University
    Rice Auditorium

    Baldwin City, KS
    7:30 P.M.

     March 11, 2018
    State Senator Tom Holland and State Representative Eilene Horn will be hosting town hall meetings on Sunday, March 11th in Baldwin City and Eudora to hear from YOU.
    Please join us:
    Baldwin City: 1:00p.m. – 2:00p.m. @ Lumberyard Arts Center (718 High Street)
    Eudora: 2:30p.m. – 3:30p.m. @ Community Room, Eudora Community Rec Ctr (1630 Elm Street)

    March 20, 2018

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



    March 23, 2018






    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 27, 2018
    Spring Choral Concert

    Location:
    Baker University
    Rice Auditorium

    Baldwin City, KS
    7:30 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.

    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 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!






    Baldwin City Business Destroyed by Fire

    Kevin Surbaugh


    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    Baldwin City -  Around 5 p.m. on Monday, February 12, 2018, a fire was reported in an area business located at 215 N Sixth Street. The location formerly housed the Pink Lady, which shut down in 2016, currently housed CopperLeaf Gourmet Foods, which had moved from Lawrence last year.  Soon after the fire broke out, it wasn't long before pictures of the fire began appearing in the Facebook group, "Citizens for the Future of Baldwin City."
    The fire gutted the old two-story farmhouse, that is reportedly over 100-years old. As for what the future holds for the business, an unidentified representative told the Gazette, via their Facebook page,
    "all I can say is we are devastated about our family business and we have no other answers for you at this time"

    The building and all its contents, located behind Arrowhead Hardware, was a complete loss.  According to their website and Facebook page, the business sold a number of dips, jams, jellies, condiments, sauces, and bruschettas. The products were sold online and through a number of retail outlets.


    Westar Energy Warns Customers of Electric Company Imposters

    Press Release

       Callers use Threat of Disconnection to get Immediate Payment

    TOPEKA, Kan.  – Westar Energy is alerting customers that imposters .claiming to work for the company are threatening to disconnect service and asking for prepaid .cards as payment. Several customers have contacted Westar Energy’s Customer Relations Center after receiving suspicious phone calls. 
    Some imposters are very convincing. They may use websites that allow them to
    manipulate caller ID, making the call appear to come from Westar. They speak with authority.
    When the targeted customer calls the phone numbers provided, the person who answers sounds
    like they work for Westar. In some cases, callers may even provide information like amount due
    that makes them sound credible.
    “Scammers create a sense of urgency to get customers to act quickly rather than allowing them time to check their account,” Gina Penzig, media relations manager, Westar Energy, said.
    “We will never require a pre-paid card for payment. Also, we notify customers multiple times in
    advance if service may be interrupted for non-payment.”
    Before acting on one of these calls, check your records to see if a recent payment has
    been made. If you are still unsure, call our Customer Relations Center, 1-800-383-1183, and
    check your account status. More about identifying scams: https://www.westarenergy.com/scams
    If a customer receives a suspicious visit from an individual, he or she should also report it
    to their local law enforcement agency.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

    Martin Hawver's At the Rail School Funding and Abortion

    By Martin Hawver

    The Kansas Judicial Branch, already in the conservatives’ gunsights for the Supreme Court demanding more state money for public K-12 schools, has taken its first drubbing from the Legislature this session by seeing the House Appropriations Committee scuttle its request for a budget increase next year.
    The court’s request for about $20 million in additional State General Fund appropriations—mostly for salary increases for judges and support staff who haven’t seen significant raises for years—was rejected by the panel.
    Part of the reason might be that the $7.5 million sought for 21 percent raises for judges was No. 1 on the list of requests…though the courts also asked (No. 2 request) for $10.3 million for raises for court employees—those clerks and other assistants who don’t wear black robes but keep the judicial system running.
    Martin Hawver
    Kansas district court judges are the lowest paid in the nation, below surrounding states, both judges and other court employees. Makes you wonder who would want to be a district court judge, or a support staffer and at some point, whether lack of those workers will delay justice in Kansas… That’s issuing anti-stalking orders or settling car wreck damages or reassessing support payments or holding hearings for those charged with serious crimes…
    And there may be another whack coming, at the Kansas Supreme Court after new Gov. Jeff Colyer in his State of the State address proclaimed Kansas to be an antiabortion state from its infancy and demanding a return to that abortion provision in the state’s 150-year-old original constitution.
    Abortion issues are strong vote-getters among conservative Kansas Republican primary election voters who Colyer is going to need to win his party’s gubernatorial nomination in August. But his emotion in presenting that issue to lawmakers at a joint session of the legislature last week was stirring.
    The high court has been sitting on the most recent abortion case for nearly a year after a hearing last March. 
    The bill that sparked the lawsuit was passed by the Legislature in 2015 and prohibited a specific procedure—dilation and evacuation—which is used for about 95 percent of second-trimester abortions in Kansas.
    A Shawnee County District Court judge refused to order enforcement of the law, and the Kansas Court of Appeals in January 2016 split evenly in a hearing on the lower court’s order.
    That forwarded the issue to the Supreme Court, which still has the case under advisement.
    And just what all that—the schools case, the unrelated abortion case and the (possibly) unrelated budget freeze—means for Kansas is uncertain.
    But, it appears that the abortion issue—if the U.S. Supreme Court membership changes and another one or two President Donald Trump-appointed justices are approved for the court, there’s a chance that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision might be reviewed. That decision, recall, declared unconstitutional laws which criminalize or restrict access to abortion beyond the reasonable regulation of such procedures.
    Return to no-abortions in Kansas? Anti-abortion activists like the Colyer talk, the direction he wants to head, and want the Kansas Supreme Court to hold constitutional that three-year-old abortion procedure restriction that has been in abeyance since 2015.
    It becomes just another issue from the past that has reached into Kansas politics, and whatever side you’re on for the issue, it seems more than a little punitive to use it to deny adequate funding for the state’s judiciary,
    What’s next? Probably watching the court and the Legislature to see whether an abortion decision comes before adjournment of the Legislature…and what happens to the budget then…
    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