Veto Week

The Kansas Legislative session began again on April 28th after a few weeks break. It is interesting to note that this traditional spring break was prearranged for the farmers to return and plant their crops and then return to finish the state’s business. This is still true in many cases but now it also allows time for an important budgeting Consensus Revenue Estimating Group assessment. This much awaited dollar figure predicted the state revenues will fall $46.4 million below its November estimate of Fiscal Year 2010 revenues - down a total of $130 million for the remainder of this fiscal year and next fiscal year. And only on Friday, another tax revenue shortfall of $74 million was reported below the estimates by the same group. This was the first time in Kansas history that the Legislature left without passing the mega budget (the 1st one) or the omnibus (final) budget – we have our work cut out for us. The House has a budget that we are just reviewing which doesn’t call for a tax increase and freezes state hiring, no raises, 1% across board spending (except for schools, public safety and corrections). Revenue sources will need to be studied more closely in this bill though - for example there is a prediction of a 4% income tax increase for next year which I would question with today’s economy. The Senate has a budget as well and addresses the state’s fiscal situation differently and follows the proposed Governors budget closer. Debate of both bills will most certainly happen this week with many amendments in both Chambers. If the process works as we learned in Civics – both the House and the Senate will pass a budget. Then the six members of the House Appropriation and Senate Ways & Means committee will form the Conference Committee (three Senate and three House members) who hash out details and bring the proposed bill back to us for a vote – many times if necessary until the House passes one with 63 votes. Last year the House could not pass a budget and a motion was made on the House floor to Concur (agree) with the Senate. This motion allows no amendments from the House members thus no House positions or ideas in the final budget – it is an entire Senate proposal passed over to us with the majority of their forty members. When the Conference Committee step is skipped, the possibility of mistakes and items overlooked are so much greater – such as the budget reduction of the Court System last year which was then missed in the final Concur budget which became law. Often times, this is a very difficult vote – do members vote for the budget bill to move it on to the Conference Committee to find the best compromise bill that the majority of the 165 members can agree on or continue to vote NO until a concur is forced.
This wrap up session is also known as Veto week. The House of Representatives did attempt override the governor’s veto of HB2115 which is the bill that would requires new, more detailed documentation of late-term abortions. We will take up the veto again on Monday as several members of the House were absent and it will be reconsidered again after a motion was made to reconsider and adjourn. The override needs 84 votes and received 82.

Wednesday was a special day on the Senate side for our Lincoln County Commissioner Steve Errebo. Senator Emler introduced and congratulated Steve Errebo for rescuing Michele Pasley
and three of her children from a burning vehicle. Steve Errebo, Marilyn Errebo, Ben
Errebo, Steve Sutton, Al Jo Wallace and Wendy Gronau and Representative Elaine Bowers were acknowledged with a standing ovation. The Readers Digest hero story and Steve’s picture can be found on page 35 of the April’s issue. It was our previlage and honor to acknowledge our friend Commissioner Errebo.

A RESOLUTION congratulating and commending Steve Errebo for rescuing Michele Pasley and three of her children from a burning vehicle.
WHEREAS, Steve Errebo, a farmer and Lincoln County Commissioner, rescued Tescott
residents Michele Pasley and three of her children, 3-year-old twins Danika and Justin, and
1-year-old Loni Marie, from her burning minivan in July of 2009; and
WHEREAS, Due to dusty conditions caused by wheat being harvested, Mrs. Pasley did
not see Mr. Errebo’s wheat truck until it was too late, causing her to strike him from behind.
The impact of the collision trapped her inside the vehicle, which promptly caught fire, as
well as causing the surrounding wheat stubble field to catch fire. Mr. Errebo heard her cries
for help and pulled the three Pasley children to safety through a broken window, before
finally pulling Mrs. Pasley free as well. The two adults and three children made it to safety
shortly before the gas tank blew and the entire van was engulfed in flames; and
WHEREAS, The twins, Justin and Danika, were flown to Wichita to be treated for their
injuries. Justin was released in two days and Danika in about 10 days. Mrs. Pasley and the
youngest child, Loni, were both unharmed. The family considers Mr. Errebo to be their angel, and are forever grateful for his life-saving acts; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Errebo was surprised by Representative Elaine Bowers, as well as Steve
Howe on behalf of Representative Jerry Moran, Kansas EMS Board Executive Director
Robert Waller, Lincoln County Emergency Manager Rod Job, Lincoln County EMS
Director Wendy Gronau, Sheriff Russ Black, and Mr. and Mrs. Pasley and their children,
when they presented Mr. Errebo with several awards for his heroism, including a Medal of
Valor on behalf of Lincoln County. Representative Bowers also alerted the magazine
Reader’s Digest of the heroic action taken by Mr. Errebo, resulting in a feature story about
the incident:
Now, therefore, Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Kansas: That we congratulate and commendSteve Errebo for his immediate response to this emergency situation, for his selfless and courageous acts in the face of imminent danger, and for saving the lives of Michele, Justin, Danika and Loni Marie Pasley; and
Be it further resolved: That the Secretary of the Senate be directed to provide an enrolled
copy of this resolution to Steve Errebo.

Although I was unable to meet with them, staff and residents with OCCK from our District #107 were in Topeka for their rally on April 27th. I always enjoy visitors from home and invite any group or individuals to visit our historic Capitol. Even though it is under reconstruction, it is still breath taking to see the marble, paintings and architecture and is part of our heritage we all can appreciate.

Rep. Elaine Bowers
Phone 1-800-432-3924
Kansas State Capitol
Room: 54-S
300 SW 10th St.
Topeka, Kansas 66612