Archive for Monday, February 22, 2010

Legislative Update Week of Feb. 15-19, 2010

February 22, 2010

Legislative Update Week of February 15-19, 2010

It was a busy week on the House floor, with more than 50 bills on the debate calendar in two days. This week is the last week for a non-exempt bill to be considered in its chamber of origin. In order to meet that deadline, members spent most of the day Wednesday and Thursday on the floor debating bills.

House and Senate Pass Rescission Bill

On a vote of 114-5, the House passed the 2010 Rescission bill and sent it to the Governor to be signed. Included in this bill is a 5% pay cut for state officers, including all legislators.

This bill does not completely fill the deficit leaving more work to be done either through targeted cuts or policy changes. It is my opinion that raising taxes is no way to fight a recession. When was the last time you saw a tax go away? Historically, when a government is given more money budgets increase and programs are added. The thought is that the next time there is a shortfall the government will just look to the taxpayers to foot the bill again. The state government must start living within its means.

Defense Bill

Passed by the House, HB 2342 stems from the Kansas Supreme Court ruling in State vs. Hendrix which declared that a defendant could not use a self-defense instruction when no physical force was used. Actual use of force was required when the self-defense instruction was to be employed. For instance, you could not threaten to use force against someone breaking into your home. If you issued the warning, you had to follow up with force or, not issue a warning at all and begin with the level of force you felt necessary to defend your home.

HB 2432 adds the threat of force as a justifiable defense tool. Also, under current law, a person can use force when justified to defend themselves, others, or property. HB 2432 would expand the locations from the current locations of dwelling or occupied vehicle, where the use of force would be justified to include a person’s place of work.

Streamlining Government

As passed by the House, HB 2442 would create the Kansas Streamlining Government Act to improve performance, streamline operations, and reduce operating costs of the Executive Branch of government. This will be an important piece of the puzzle as we continue to look for ways to make state government more efficient. Top heavy bureaucracies and outdated programs are preventing tax dollars from getting to the areas they are needed most. Again, we don’t have a revenue problem in the state of Kansas; your government has a spending problem. Demand accountability and transparency every step of the way.

I want to express my thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers for my recovery. My recent heart surgery was a great success, and I have been following legislative activities from home during my recovery. I return to Topeka for legislative sessions this week.

It is an honor to serve you in the House of Representatives. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your continued support and good wishes.

Rep. Owen Donohoe, R-Shawnee, represents the 39th District in the Kansas House, which includes part of Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties, including a part of Shawnee and all of Bonner Springs and Basehor.

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