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Pat PetteySen. Pat Pettey
by Sen. Pat Pettey
Jan. 24, 2014
In this issue:
• This week at the Capitol
• Page opportunities
• Death penalty
• Victims notification
• Unmanned luminaries
• KanCare recommendations
• Congratulations, Sen. Faust-Goudeau
• Important state phone numbers
This week at the Capitol
The Legislature did not meet on Monday, Jan. 20, to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. During the shortened week, Senate bills were introduced and committees held hearings on a few bills of interest, including abolishing the death penalty, notifying victims of their offender’s release, and excluding federal protection of the Lesser Prairie Chicken.
As always, I welcome your input on any issue. Please feel free to visit or contact me at 785-296-7375 if you should have any questions. Or stop by my legislative office, located in room 125-E of the Topeka Statehouse.
Daily calendars, committee and district information, and full text and summaries of bills are all available online at www.kslegislature.org. To hear legislative proceedings, just click on “Listen in Live.”
Each session, senators are allowed up to 20 Senate pages. Pages spend the day running errands for legislators, and sit on the Senate floor during daily proceedings. It’s a great opportunity for students to get a first-hand experience in Kansas state government. We have just a few slots left but will keep a waiting list once all the slots are filled. If you know a middle school or high school student who would be interested in paging, contact my office at 785-296-7375.
The Senate Judiciary Committee completed hearings early this week on two bills related to the death penalty. The first, Senate Bill 126, seeks to abolish the death penalty and replace it with a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole. Alternatively, the other, Senate Bill 257, would speed up the appellate process for death row inmates by limiting the number of times attorneys could file extensions, the length of legal briefs, and the amount of time before the state Supreme Courts had to rule on an appeal. The next step is for the Senate Judiciary Committee to work the bill.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on a bill introduced by Senate Democrat Oletha Faust-Goudeau (Wichita). Senate Bill 248 strongly urges the Department of Corrections to notify a victim’s family within 14 days prior to the release of a criminal defendant or if the defendant would be transferred to a work release program. The Department of Corrections delivered supporting testimony. The next step is for the Senate Judiciary Committee to work the bill.
I serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee with Sen. David Haley (Dist. 4, Kansas City, Kan.).
Lesser Prairie Chickens
The Senate Natural Resources Committee held a hearing Thursday on a bill that seeks to exclude the Lesser Prairie Chicken from federal protection; the state department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism has worked on a 5-state voluntary plan to deter the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department from adding the Lesser Prairie Chicken to the list of threatened species. Senate Bill 276 would also allow state officials to charge federal officials with a felony if they were to try to enforce a federal law dealing with the Lesser Prairie Chicken.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach testified in support of the bill, but indicated that if the bill were to pass it may result in litigation that could cost the state between $100,000 and $400,000.
Democrats who serve on the Senate Natural Resources Committee are Sen. Marci Francisco, ranking member (Dist. 2, Lawrence); and, Sen. Tom Hawk (Dist. 22, Manhattan).
The House Committee on Local Government held hearings Tuesday on a bill that would ban the use of floating lanterns, commonly seen in the skies during Independence Day celebrations. The bill is House Bill 2240.
Democrats who serve on the House Committee on Local Government are Rep. John Alcala, ranking member (Topeka) Rep. John Carmichael (Wichita), and Rep. Broderick Henderson (Kansas City, Kan.).
The KanCare oversight committee narrowly passed out their recommendations last Friday on a vote of 6-5. The recommendations that now to go the full Legislature for consideration included support for the inclusion of Developmentally Disabled in KanCare beginning Feb. 1 and transfer of monies allocated to reduce the waiting list for individuals with physical disabilities to reduce the waiting list for individuals with development disabilities. All Democrats serving on the committee voted no on the report.
Democrats who serve on this committee are Sen. Laura Kelly, ranking member (Dist. 18, Topeka); Sen. Marci Francisco (Dist. 2, Lawrence); Rep. Barbara Ballard (Lawrence); and, Rep. Jim Ward (Wichita).
Congratulations, Sen. Faust-Goudeau
A member of the Senate Democrats, Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, was honored Monday with the Greater Wichita Ministerial League’s President’s Award. Faust-Goudeau, who represents the 29th District, is the first African-American woman elected to the Kansas Senate. She accepted the award in honor of her mother, who was her inspiration to become an advocate for social and economic justice.
Important state phone numbers
Here is a list of numbers I often receive requests for during the Legislative Session. I hope you will find this information helpful.
Child Abuse Hotline
Crime Tip Hotline
Crime Victim Referral
Department on Aging
Driver’s License Bureau
KanCare Consumer Assistance
Kansas State Library
School Safety Hotline
Suicide Prevention Hotline
Tax Refund Status Info
Victims of Human Trafficking