Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wilk, Pine explain opposition to gambling bill

April 12, 2007

State Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, joked with his counterpart, Sen. Roger Pine, R-Lawrence, about bills that run through the House and Senate at the Statehouse in Topeka.

"They don't kill our work, they do other things to it," Wilk said with a smile at Saturday's Legislative Update at the Tonganoxie VFW Post Home.

"That's a nice way to put it," Pine responded, scoring a laugh with roughly 20 residents on hand for the gathering.

Wilk and Pine chatted with residents about issues ranging from taxes to the gambling bill that recently passed both the House and Senate. The measure would allow the Kansas Lottery to operate casinos and slot machines at dog and horse tracks.

Pine said he voted against the measure in the Senate, where it barely passed, 21-19. It passed, 64-58, in the House.

"I wasn't in favor of it," Pine said. "Some will think that's good, and some of you think that's bad.

"It will bring more taxes to the state of Kansas, and I think it will be good for the people who are in the dog and horse business. There are some positive things. Concerns are how it negatively will affect some families. But that's beside the point. And we move on."

Wilk also voted against the measure, but said he did so because he wanted more time to evaluate the issue.

"I've just learned, you better be cautious," Wilk said.

Wilk also touched on legislation he's working on regarding the death of recent Tonganoxie High School graduate Amanda Bixby, who was killed in a three-vehicle accident Feb. 14 along State Avenue. Bixby was two months shy of her 20th birthday when 20-year-old Ricardo De-Leon Flores of Lansing failed to yield at a stop sign. His vehicle struck a Dodge Durango driven by Bill Nichols of Basehor before striking Bixby's Ford Taurus. Flores was cited at the scene for vehicular homicide, but Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl did not pursue charges because a 2002 Kansas Supreme Court ruling requires more than simply running a stop sign to get a vehicular homicide conviction.

Wilk said he's working with Dennis Bixby, Amanda's father, and Kohl, and hopes to "put some discretion into the law."

Wilk said accidents can happen, but there needed to be further research.

"If you were negligent doing something stupid, there ought to be some penalties for that," Wilk said.

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