March 26, 2009

Greetings!

It’s difficult to believe but the 11th week of the session is already upon us. At the time of this article, we are fast approaching first adjournment. We have been considering bills on the floor all week in order to prepare for “drop dead day” or the last day for non-exempt bills to be heard in either chamber. Next week, conference committees will meet and then we adjourn until April 22nd. I will be home during that time and if you would like me to speak to your organization, please feel free to call me. I also plan on visiting schools at this time to explain to students this very interesting job I have here in Topeka.

Even though this week is only 3 days – it certainly seems long! My days begin at 7:30 in the morning at my office in the Docking Building, then calendar review in the Capital at 8:00 and finally to the House floor at 9:00AM. We have adjourned just before 8PM most of these nights. We have had between 30-40 bills a day “above the line” on General Orders which have been debated and then voted on the next day. Now Conference Committees are being formed. These committees are made up of 3 house members and 3 senate members – they will iron out the differences between bills and bring the bills back to us for a final vote. Here is where I pay extra attention because what I voted on the 1st time may come back “tweaked” and I need to make sure the bill still does what it has been drafted to do and any changes only made it better. Much of the remaining days after the break then we return will be devoted to the Budget and these conference committee reports.

One bill I introduced, HB 2324, finally has made it through the 2 chamber process. It had hearings in both the Senate and House Tax Committees and now has been voted on by the full House and Senate membership. It will be placed in a Tax Conference Committee to be worked next week. The vote in the House was 122-0 and 38-2 in the Senate. It was amended by a Senator on the Senate floor to include another bill in hopes his issue would be heard before the end of session. Senator Taddiken was paying special attention to HB2324 and made sure the amendment wouldn’t “kill” the bill – and I am certain the two NO votes were for the new provision that was added. Now HB2324 will be approved by this Conference Committee and then voted on one more time in each chamber as part of a package of tax bills. The Governor will sign it in to law next month. Dr. Randall Hobrock with the Tallgrass Veterinary Hospital in Cloud County was instrumental in this law change as he brought a problem to both my and Senator Mark’s attention. This is exactly how the process should work – an idea brought forward by a resident, a Representative and Senator working together to move it through the system and finally to a law that benefits not only just our Senate District #21, House District #107 but the entire state of Kansas.

Monday was a special day as Rev. Barry Nelson and his wife Julie attended the House session where Barry gave the invocation on the House floor. Barry is the Pastor at the Living Cornerstone Fellowship Church in Delphos. It was also my privilege to lead the body in the Pledge of Allegiance following his prayer. Isn’t it refreshing to know that I start my day here just the same as I did growing up back home at the Delphos Attendance Center?

Please contact me anytime with your comments or suggestions. You can find me in on the 7th Floor of the Docking Building or email me at: elaine.bowers@house.ks.gov or phone me at 785 296-7644. It’s my honor to serve you, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing you in Topeka!


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