February 20, 2009

Greetings from Topeka!!!

After a trying, yet productive week the 2009 legislative session reached its official halfway point. While the sheer number of bills that we’re considering is lower than it has been in previous years, the legislature is taking on some of our more controversial topics under the harsh spotlight of a delicate and politically precarious budget shortfall.
The week began with a well publicized and critical debate as the coalition of House and Senate leadership argued with the Governor on the legal ramifications of issuing a certificate of indebtedness in order to meet Friday’s payroll and continue issuing income tax returns. A certificate of indebtedness is essentially an intergovernmental loan used to enable the government to continue offering services during times in which our revenues are down. Luckily, the situation was quickly addressed and both sides came to terms and issued the loans.

Turn around week also marks the end of many of our regular standing committees.
The week flew by – my committees, Commerce & Labor, Federal and State Affairs and Agriculture and Natural Recourses met Monday only and worked bills to send to the house floor. Issues we voted on for 1st round approval included home inspector licensing, license tags for Disabled Veterans, Vietnam War Medallion Program, cell phone locations in emergencies, graduated Drivers Licenses (farm permits left untouched), freezes on consumer reports, delinquent child support and voter registration to name a few this week. When we return to work next Wednesday, we’ll begin addressing some of the issues that have cleared the Senate in addition to work from the House that comes from some of our “exempt” committees. I anticipate debate very soon on a comprehensive energy policy, the 2010 budget, and a few localized issues such as the statewide smoking ban. As always, your input on these matters and any others are critically important to my decision making and I hope you’ll take a moment to notify me of your wishes and concerns as these matters come before us.

I had quite a few people from our area visit this week, Bev Mortimer and Larry Combs, USD Superintendents in my House District #107 were in Topeka with school board events. Cameron Presler and Jennie Thrash with the KS Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence attended their annual reception. Lincoln County Emergency preparedness director Rodney Job came by the Capitol on Thursday. James, Blake and Brock Quillen from Clyde were my pages on Friday and had a busy day on the floor and had their picture taken with the Governor.

We also had the honor of celebrating Armed Forces appreciation day here at the Capitol on February 18th. Both at home and abroad our Armed Forces are performing their duties in a heroic and outstanding manner. Through their sacrifices they have purchased for us the privileges of freedom, democracy, and unmatched opportunity that we enjoy in the United States today, and they have set the conditions for the United States’ place as global leader, and the most respected and feared military in the world. I was very privileged to have two representatives from Fort Riley with us and thank all of our service members so much for their dedicated service. However, my biggest honor this week was to introduce Captain Aaron Isaacson on a Personal Privilege motion. Captain Isaacson is the son of John and Robin Isaacson of Concordia,

My remarks recorded in the House Journal:

Good Morning!
As you checked your calendar this morning you would see that it is Military Appreciation Day and I have a constituent who I’d like you all to meet. Caption Aaron Isaacson has just recently returned home from his 3rd tour to Iraq & Afghanistan. As important as we know his job is – he tells me he admires us more – for our service in this chamber to the people of Kansas. But I wonder how we can even compare our duties to someone like Aaron who protects our freedom in a way that most of us can’t even fathom. Caption Isaacson is currently stationed at Fort Riley with the Wounded Warrior Transition Unit. And as you shake his hand and welcome him home – I’d like you to know this: this soldier not only has one bronze star but two – not only one Purple Heart but two plus other numerous decorations.
Mr. Speaker – it is my pleasure to introduce Caption Aaron P. Isaacson of the Kansas National Guard to you and to the members of the Kansas House of Representatives.

As always, I’m interested to hear fresh perspectives and hope you’ll share your thoughts with me. Drop me a few lines at Elaine.Bowers@house.ks.gov – we receive so many emails across the state and nation even, so please include your address and phone number so I can get back with you and your own words from home are so important to me.

Representative Elaine Bowers
107th District
300 SW 10th
Topeka, KS 66612