March 15, 2007

District 107th Constituents,

The House of Representatives is beginning to hold hearings and consider pieces of legislation passed by the Senate. Come of the issues are similar to measures that we have already passed while others have only been discussed and debated in the Senate. As this process continues, I am committed to making sure taxpayers get much needed relief, small businesses have less government bureaucracy to overcome, job creation is encouraged and supported, and healthcare becomes more available and affordable.

It has been another busy week with Senate bills arriving to our committees plus also working the bills still in the house committees. Taxation has continued to have hearings on tax relief for Kansas citizens and business. We are currently working on the Homestead Act for property tax relief and also a corporate tax reduction for businesses. The State Unemployment Tax bill is still being considered in a conference committee which is a group consisting of both senate and house members as it has been passed out of both bodies but with differences. I was pleased to hear a bill in Taxation introducing a Breast Cancer pink licenses plate with fees from the tag going to more research, medical training and services across the state. Federal and State have heard hearings on creating a state library board, special education and behavior management in schools, private correctional facilities, funeral picketing and illegal aliens and benefits. I was asked by my chairman to carry a fireworks bill on the floor for the committee. It was my second trip to "the well." We have heard several bills in Agricultural and Natural Resources from the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Department with their concerns with illegal hunting and fines per animal, hunting and fishing permits to nonprofit Kansas-based organizations and some technical wording corrections. There have been two large hearings this past week with issues that will affect our district in a positive way. The Kansas House and Senate are urging the US Congress to allow the interstate shipment of state-inspected meat (SCR 1604). It’s hard to see any sense to blocking a farmer or small business from selling locally processed beef, pork or poultry to eager customers just across the state line when there is no difference in food safety. Senator Taddiken presented a Senate bill concerning the Republican River disposition of litigation moneys in the case that Nebraska would fail to fulfill its obligation in the 1942 compact which both states belong to. I will also carry another bill down next week from the Agriculture Committee and will sit in on a subcommittee on tire recycling.

I had a lot of visitors this week – more than 110 on the same day! The Concordia 7th grade class and sponsors lead by Stacy Larsen arrived Tuesday just in time to watch the debate on the House floor. My son Caleb packed a sandwich for me and I ate with the class on the 1st floor taking up the entire north wing. They toured the Capitol and the dome with a quick stop in my office. Steve Bryant was in Topeka for the Kansas Optometric Association Legislative Seminar and had lunch with me downtown on Monday. The Kansas Ready Mixed Concrete and the Kansas Cement Council held a meeting on Wednesday and I had the pleasure of visiting with Dane Barclay of Alsop Sand and David Abell from Barnard. Kathy and Jerry Burgess were in town for the Farmers Group Insurance meeting and sat in on my Federal and State Committee. They listened to the Funeral picketing bill hearing which I’m told they found interesting. I had a great honor along with Senator Mark Taddiken of presenting Joe and Maria Jindra and KNCK/KissFM with the Kansas Small Business Development Center 2006 KSBDC Existing Business award. Dr. Maria Jindra was the Doctor of the Day also this past Thursday which she volunteers to do every year. She was busy taking care of the Legislators and taking their blood pressures throughout the day. Mine was a healthy 120/60! I look forward to having her back next year too!!

As always, please contact me if you have any comments, questions, or concerns. I am serving in Topeka for YOU!

Elaine Bowers
District 107th
Kansas House of Representatives