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Our Voice in Topeka

Representative of District 70

Today will find all legislators in Topeka for the final session, commonly called the veto (wrap-up) session. We currently have no budget and we’ll have only one shot at getting it right, or at least getting it done.

I appreciate your support, and I will do my best to help craft as good a budget as possible, considering the hard times we’re in. I truly have no idea how the budget will play out.

I need your comments on an issue right now: House Resolution 6036 proposes the House order the Attorney General sue the U.S. Government over the new health care legislation.

Currently 14 states have filed suit seeking to have the legislation declared unconstitutional since it requires folks to have health insurance or pay a fine. The resolution can be seen online through the Kansas Legislature Web site by selecting Full Text of Bills.

In filing suit or joining the existing lawsuit, Kansas would be essentially saying, “We agree,” since the current lawsuit(s) will be decided whether or not we join in; and the results will affect all citizens anyway. I am aware some of you advocate passing this resolution. My question is, if we pass the resolution and require the Kansas Attorney General to sue, how much money are you willing to spend on it? In hard economic times, I need to determine spending priorities on this lawsuit compared to other pressing matters in front of us.

If you advocate for the lawsuit, are you willing to spend several million dollars to sue? It could cost that. How about $100,000? $50,000? — and how do we finance it? What do we cut?

Call my Topeka office at (785) 296-7699 with your comments, if any, as soon as possible, and please give your name to my assistant.

Now, to complete the information I started two weeks ago about bills already passed this year: House Substitute for Senate Bill 234 is one in which business owners might be interested.

It clarifies laws on earnings garnishments, including how to respond to them, fees, and what to do when a creditor or attorney won’t tell the business owner how much debt is left to be paid.

Cities may appreciate some rather fringe provisions in a couple of bills: Because of SB 369, when we sign up to get a city’s, school district’s, or other public entity’s newsletter or events calendar by e-mail, that public entity won’t have to give out our e-mail addresses under the Kansas Open Records Act. E-mail addresses could still be public records if the e-mail list is for other purposes.

Also, when we give our cellular phone numbers to cities and other public entities for those same community-related purposes, the phone numbers won’t be subject to disclosure either.

Lastly, if someone brings in an electronic memory device and asks for a download of information from the public entity on to that memory medium, the entity can refuse; the potential harm to the computer is not worth the risk. There are other ways to provide the information. Perhaps a memory stick in its original unopened package would work.

Among the many things House Bill 2472 tackles, two items stand out: It temporarily prohibits cities from requiring sprinkler systems in new homes, duplexes, and manufactured homes.

It also revises abandoned property to be homes unoccupied for more than 90 days, rather than 180 days, when addressing their rehabilitation.

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

Last modified April 29, 2010

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