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Our Voice in Topeka

Representative, District 70

By now, you should have received my survey. There was a glitch in sending them out to eastern and southern Marion County, as well as Chase County, which delayed many of them to Tuesday.

I have received many surveys back from you and I look forward to more. I spent a good chunk of my weekend tallying the responses. Thank you to those who have already returned them. Even though I’ve not tallied all the responses, I am already getting a better feel of your thoughts on the subjects on the survey.

Last week was turnaround week in Topeka. The House sends all bills it has passed to the Senate to consider, and the Senate sends its bills to us for our consideration.

In a recent column, I described the “BRAC” bill related to efficiency in government, which will set up the procedure for us to analyze all state programs and departments. It should prioritize them all and allow us to cull out those that are not a Kansas priority, or are simply ineffective.

This efficiency proposal is one of the bills we passed in the House and we sent it to the Senate for their analysis, and ultimately their passage — we hope! It may not be the “silver bullet” but it should be a great tool for streamlining government.

We also narrowly defeated a bill that would have repealed the requirement that each county have a judge, which would have put Marion and Chase counties at risk of having no judge in the community. The handicap for law enforcement, if that were to happen, would be quite serious. Instead, the House passed a resolution, with the encouragement of attorneys and judges across Kansas. The resolution asks the Kansas judicial branch to study and consider realigning our courts to improve their effectiveness throughout the state.

I believe the task of trying to redesign the courts is better left to the judicial branch, if it is willing to take on the task. We expect to receive the recommendations about the court system next session, and we would hope to consider those recommendations for reorganization.

As of now, neither the Senate nor House Tax Committee has looked very hard at rolling back tax exemptions. Each recipient claims its exemption has a greater purpose and that the recipient should keep its exemption. While each may have a laudable position, I would think that in these tough times we could delete a few. At least, that is what I advocate and will continue to push for.

You may e-mail me at Brookens70@sbcglobal.net or write me at 201 Meadow Lane, Marion KS 66861, or Kansas State Capitol Building, 300 SW 10th St, Topeka KS 66612; or call me at (620) 382-2133 or (785) 296-7699.

Last modified Feb. 24, 2010

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