Archive for Thursday, February 26, 2009

State senators discuss hot topics in Kansas

February 26, 2009

First, I would like to express how honored I am to serve as your senator, and I am humbled by the support I receive from my community.

More than 17,000 Kansans earning the state minimum wage could see an increase in their paycheck if a bill approved by the Senate is signed into law. Senate Bill 160 would increase Kansas’ $2.65/hour minimum wage, which is one of the lowest in the nation, to $7.25/hour beginning on Jan. 1, 2010.

Members of the Senate have also approved SB25, which would create the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act. The bill as amended will ban smoking in all public places. During debate, I offered an amendment to add “gaming floors” of racetracks and casinos to the list of exemptions already included in the bill.

In an effort to prevent the deaths of countless Kansans, the Senate has passed a bill that will toughen laws against drivers not wearing a seat belt. SB 59 will allow police officers to pull over and ticket motorists or passengers for not wearing a seat belt. If the law is implemented by June 30, Kansas would receive an $11.2 million in federal monies as a safety belt performance grant.

A new state Web site has been launched to provide information about the new federal stimulus package and its effects on Kansas. As additional information becomes available, it will be placed on the Web site governor.ks.gov/recovery/ .

The legislative session has reached its midpoint and the Senate has already navigated some divisive issues. The work on the 2010 budget has started in our appropriation subcommittees. However, most of the heavy lifting will not occur until the Revenue Consensus Estimating Group meets in April and publishes its report regarding the status of the Kansas economy.

I want to thank the people of the 5th District for allowing me this opportunity. Please feel free to visit or contact me; my office in the state capitol is in room 404-N, and my number is (785) 296-7357.

Sen. Kelly Kultala, D-Kansas City, Kan.,

represents the 5th Senate District

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