January 25, 2007

District 107 Constituents,

Greetings from the state capitol! The legislative session is busy as ever with a number of important issues receiving lots of discussion and debate. As your state representative it is my job to make sure that all of you are provided good policy that reflects the values of the 107th district. I had the pleasure of attending several meetings with people from around the district during this past week. I was the guest of Bill and Dorothy Brown with the Saltcreek Water Shed District and Duane and Donna Vonada with the Spillman Creek Water Shed District at the Kansas Watershed Annual Legislative Meeting & Banquet which was held on January 18th here in Topeka. The Kansas Electric Cooperative also held their annual meeting where I joined Dean and Chris Allison at their DS&O Table along with Bill Chamberlin, Harlow Hanney, Bruce Spear, John Peterson and Doug Lindahl. I shared a table with Dave and Susan Studebaker with The Delphos Coop who attended a meeting and banquet with the Kansas Cooperative Council last night here in Topeka.

My Taxation Committee has heard more briefings from the state departments on the various taxes and heard hearings on the Franchise tax elimination which I am in favor of as a small business owner. Another day of discussion concerned increasing the membership on the State Board of Tax Appeals to five members. The Federal and State Affairs Committee listened to the Kansas Lottery which is up for renewal and also the State of Kansas liquor and malt beverage law from the Alcoholic Beverage Control. The Agricultural and Natural Resources has heard more from the state department about watershed projects and mapping and also from the Kansas Department of Wildlife concerning deer management and licensing. I was assigned to a sub-committee to hear about a possible exemption for application of non-restricted use of pesticides on stumps of trees in Kansas. The sub-committee will make a recommendation to the Agricultural Committee next week after our studies.

Republicans set a serious and multi-faceted legislative agenda on the first day of session and just two weeks later those priorities are seeing action. Regarding education, Senate Bill 30 passed the House 105-17, the measure pre-funds year 2 and 3 of the school finance plan and addresses the Regent’s crumbling classrooms bond issue. It was amended on the House floor to include a 40 million a year debt reduction fund.
This week there was also legislative action regarding campaign finance reform. I believe that the votes of every qualified Kansan should be counted in elections. To ensure this, we must bring more credibility to our state's electoral process. House Bill 2019– Unanimously passed the House, expanding voters’ access when casting their ballots. The bill provides all counties with the option of establishing satellite and advance voting.

Kansas businesses deserve a break and I was pleased to be a part of the committee hearings on House Bill 2031 regarding franchise tax repeal. This is an important piece of legislation, and will work hard when this comes to the House of Representatives floor to pass this bill and give those in business much needed tax relief.

As always, please contact me if you have any comments, questions, or concerns.

Elaine Bowers
District 107
Kansas House of Representatives