Living History Featured for Memorial Day Weekend at Fort

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

This Memorial Day weekend, you and your family are invited to visit Fort Scott National Historic Site as we honor our nation’s fallen heroes. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of a frontier military fort. Celebrate the weekend with traditional living history programs, cooking demonstrations and artillery firings. A guided tour will be offered at 1 p.m. each day and a National Moment of Remembrance honoring American Soldiers who died in the line of duty will be held Monday at 3 p.m.

On Saturday, programs will focus on community life at Fort Scott in the 1840s, with special presentations from our site volunteers on cooking, baking and washing clothes. Come join the post laundress as she demonstrates washing Soldiers’ clothes, 1840s style. Smell the aroma of freshly baked bread from the fort bake house. Watch as the Soldiers and women of the fort go about their daily routines. Living history stations will also include officers’ wives demonstrating needlework, an Infantry Soldier discussing camp life and the post sutler hawking his wares.

Small arms demonstrations are scheduled Saturday and Monday and the roar of artillery will be heard on Sunday. Special programs on Saturday will include a reading of Fort Scott officers who died in the line of duty, a tribute to American Soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in all wars, and a reading of letters written by Captain Thomas Swords and his wife, Charlotte. The couple was stationed at Fort Scott in the 1840s; Captain Swords served as the post quartermaster at Fort Scott and oversaw its construction.

The schedule of activities is listed below:

Saturday, May 27

10:00 a.m.            Flour, Sweat, and Tears: Bake House Talk

11:00 a.m.            “Ready, Aim, Fire”: Weapons Demonstration

1:00 p.m.            Guided Tour

2:00 p.m.            “Ready, Aim, Fire”: Weapons Demo /Honoring Fort Scott’s Fallen Officers

3:00 p.m.            “The Tongue is More Useful than the Arrow” Letters of Thomas and Charlotte Sword

3:30 p.m.            “So Nobly Advanced”: Memorial Day Tribute to Soldiers

4:00 p.m.            Flag Retreat

Sunday, May 28

1:00 p.m.            Guided Tour

3:00 p.m.            “Thunder Wagon”: Artillery Demonstration

4:00 p.m.            Flag Retreat

Monday, May 29

11:00 a.m.           “Ready, Aim, Fire”: Weapons Demo

1:00 p.m.           Guided Tour

3:00 p.m.           Moment of Silence/Artillery Salute

USD 234: Class of 2017

Unified School District 234 recognized more than 110 high school seniors during their graduation ceremony at Frary Field Saturday night.

“Graduating from high school is a momentous occasion,” Principal Shawn Thomas addressed the students, later adding, “I am proud of you. I look forward to watching you, hearing about you, reading about you, because I know you will succeed in whatever endeavor lies ahead of you.”

Class president Emily Cotter congratulated her fellow seniors—recognizing the times they fell yet still got back up, and their chance to create their own path moving forward without the comfort provided by the support of parents and others.

Thomas encouraged the students to do three things as they move forward; remember their years of high school, appreciate all that was done so they could succeed and anticipate what struggles and opportunities lie ahead.

Fort Scott Community College President, Alysia Johnston, gave the commencement address and urged the students to continue their education, whether formally in a college setting or informally in a continuous process of learning.

“Education and learning are truly lifelong endeavors,” Johnston said, encouraging the students to try new things and investigate in order to find the major or career they are interested in.

Letter from the Capitol: Richard Hilderbrand

Kansas Senate Republican Caucus ∙ May 19, 2017 ∙ Week Fifteen

HARD FACTS:

  • Preliminary estimates reported show the April, seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent. This was down from 3.8 percent in March and down from 4.1 percent in April 2016. (Kansas Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • This week, applications for weekly unemployment aid fell 4,000 to 232,000 – the lowest level in nearly three months. (U.S. Department of Labor)

WEEKLY OVERVIEW:

School Finance

Senate President Wagle appointed a Senate Select Committee on Education Finance early in this legislative session. The committee, chaired by Majority Leader Denning, has been working hand-in-hand with the House’s K-12 Education Budget Committee and the legislature’s outside legal counsel to produce a new school finance formula. The committees have made great strides forward this week, and we look forward to continuing that momentum into next week. The Senate Select Committee on Education Finance heard testimony from a variety of stakeholders this week and expects to pass a bill out of committee early next week, and we anticipate a vote on a school finance formula bill next week.

Debating firearms in state hospitals

Early this week, we began discussion on the Senate floor about whether guns should be allowed in state hospitals and mental hospitals. Kansans on both sides of this issue feel very passionately about this topic.

Senators engaged in a healthy conversation before ultimately voting to send the bill in question back to committee for further review. Kansans representing hospitals and the Second Amendment are actively communicating with the legislature and are working to strike a compromise to ensure Kansans feel safe and protected in hospitals and mental hospitals without infringing on your Second Amendment rights.

FLOOR ACTION:

PORT AUTHORITIES (Senate Substitute for House Bill 2132): Senate Sub. for HB 2132 allows port authorities to sell real or personal property in a negotiated sale at less than its appraised value. In order to make such a sale, the port authority would be required to declare the sale would be in the public interest due to the return of new jobs, capital investment, or increased tax revenue. Current law prohibits port authorities from selling property below its appraised value.

This bill passed the Senate Tuesday May 16, by a vote of 37-3

RULES AND REGULATIONS (House Bill 2280): HB 2280 requires that prior to July 1, 2018, each state agency review its rules and regulations to determine the impact those rules and regulations have on business and economic development, including those that negatively impact or create any barrier to success for business and economic development. Prior to October 1, 2018, after review and determination of rules and regulations, each state agency must prepare and submit a report to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and Regulations (JCARR) identifying those rules and regulations having a negative impact on businesses and economic development, whether the public purpose served outweighs any negative impact, and alternatives to the identified rules and regulations. The bill would require JCARR to submit a report to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate summarizing the JCARR findings prior to January 14, 2019.

In addition, the bill alters the Rules and Regulations Filing Act by adding a new requirement to the continuing mandate that each state agency submit an economic impact statement when drafting a proposed rule and regulation or amending any rule and regulation. The bill would require the economic impact statement to include a description of businesses that would be directly affected by the proposed rules and regulations, the benefits of the proposed rules and regulations, and measures taken to minimize the impact of the proposed rules and regulations on businesses and economic development.

This bill passed the Senate Tuesday May 16, by a vote of 32-8

COMMON CONSUMPTION AREA (House Bill 2277): HB 2277 allows a city or county to establish one or more common consumption areas by ordinance or resolution, designate the boundaries of any common consumption area, and prescribe the times during which alcoholic liquor may be consumed.

This bill passed the Senate Tuesday May 16, by a vote of 35-5

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORTS:

KANSAS SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR ACT (HB 2128): HB 2128 revises law regarding procedures for annual review, transitional release, and conditional release for persons civilly committed under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act.

The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Wednesday May 17, by a vote of 39-0

KANSAS CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE (House Substitute for SB 120): House Sub. for SB 120 adjusts the Kansas Code of Civil Procedure. The bill provides the code shall be employed by the court and the parties to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. Current law requires the Code to be liberally construed and administered for the same purpose.

The bill also amends the law granting an additional three days for action after being served via certain kinds of service. The bill clarifies it applies to a party “after being served,” rather than simply “after service.” Additionally, the bill removes service by fax and electronic service from the list of kinds of service that allow additional time to act.

In the statute listing matters on which the court must take appropriate action at a case management conference, the bill adds issues related to preservation of electronically stored information. Additionally, in determining issues related to claims of privilege or protection as trial-preparation material, the bill requires consideration of agreements made under state law controlling the effect of disclosure of information covered by the attorney-client privilege or work-product protection.

The Senate Concurred with amendments in conference Wednesday May 17, 39-0

SECURITIES COMMISSIONER OF KANSAS (Senate Bill 23): SB 23 establishes the Office of the Securities Commissioner of Kansas as a division under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Insurance and amend law by consolidating certain prosecutorial functions of the Attorney General.

The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday, May 18, by a vote of 30-8

LOTTERY TICKET VENDING MACHINES (House Bill 2313): HB 2313 would allow the Kansas Lottery to use vending machines to sell lottery tickets. Lottery ticket vending machines would dispense a printed physical ticket, such as a lottery ticket, a keno ticket, a pull tab ticket, an instant bingo ticket or a coupon. Machines will allow purchasers to manually check the winning status of a Kansas Lottery ticket and display advertising, promotions and other information pertaining to the Kansas Lottery.

Furthermore, the bill would authorize moneys in the Lottery Operating Fund be used for transfers to the Community Crisis Stabilization Centers Fund and Clubhouse Model Program Fund of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. The Community Crisis Stabilization Centers Fund would receive 75 percent of the money deposited into the Lottery Operating Fund, while 25 percent would go to the Clubhouse Model Program Fund. These transfers could not exceed $4 million aggregate for FY 2018 or $8 million in the aggregate for FY 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

The bill would also repeal the sunset provision for the Kansas Lottery. Under current law, the Kansas Lottery will be abolished on July 1, 2022.

The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday May 18, by a vote of 21-16

BILL SIGNINGS:

SB 14 – Provides for limited line insurance coverage of self-storage units.

SB 16 – Enacts new insurance holding company regulatory law and corporate governance annual disclosure law.

HB 2085 – Amends the law regarding ignition interlock devices and expungements.

HB 2153 – Establishes law within the General Corporation Code related to public benefit corporations.

HB 2301 – Amends the law related to public records and public meetings.

The Governor has now signed 73 bills into law this session and vetoed two. By law, the Kansas governor has 10 calendar days to sign the bill into law, veto the bill or allow the bill to become law without his or her signature.

NEXT WEEK:

Next week is the fourth week of Veto Session. We will continue working on our three big ticket items: taxes, budget and school finance. I hope you’ll reach out with any comments, questions, or concerns regarding these issues or others. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka as we work to wrap this legislative session up.

FSCC: Tuition Waivers and Livestock Judging Camps

Submitted by Heather Browne

FSCC offers tuition waiver for Bourbon County residents

Fort Scott Community College has expanded its tuition waiver for Bourbon County residents who wish to take classes at the Fort Scott campus or online. FSCC will now waive the tuition costs, up to fifteen credit hours, for any Bourbon County resident who enrolls at FSCC. Students will be responsible for covering fees and purchasing books.

According to a study by the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, 71 percent of jobs in Kansas will require postsecondary education by 2020.

“We are always looking for ways to meet the needs of Bourbon County,” said Alysia Johnston, FSCC President. “We are pleased to offer this program to Bourbon County residents, and hope it will help more people pursue their educational goals.”

FSCC students can take general education classes for transfer to a four-year institution or pursue a certificate or associate degree. FSCC offers 55 courses that are guaranteed by the Kansas Board of Regents to transfer to any public college or university in the state of Kansas.

FSCC also offers a tuition waiver for students who attend a Bourbon County high school and take a concurrent class from FSCC. For more information about these waivers or other scholarship opportunities, visit fortscott.edu/scholarships or contact the FSCC Admissions Department at 620-223-2700, ext. 3520 or ext. 3530.

FSCC to Host Livestock Judging Camps

The Fort Scott Community College Agriculture Department will host its annual livestock judging camps in June. A beginners’ session for younger students will be offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20, and an extended session for older students will begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21, and end at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, June 23.

During both sessions, students will learn how to evaluate livestock and provide oral reasons in a fun, learning environment. Students will learn transitions and phrases used during livestock judging, and they will be encouraged to improve on every set of reasons. Upon completion of the camp, students will be more comfortable with judging livestock and presenting oral reasons.

The fee for the beginners’ session is $45 and the extended session is $175. Students who attend the extended session will stay two nights in the dorms; meals are included in the fee.

Students attending the beginners’ session should check in at 9 a.m. at Burris Hall, and students attending the extended session should check in at 1 p.m. at Boileau Hall. Boileau Hall and Burris Hall are located on the Fort Scott Community College campus at 2108 South Horton in Fort Scott.

Proceeds from this event will benefit livestock judging team scholarships. The deadline to register is June 1—download a registration form at fortscott.edu/livestockjudging. For more information, please call Blake Davis, FSCC Livestock Judging Coach, at 620-223-2700, ext. 3290.

Care to Share Receives Donation from America’s Farmers Monsanto Fund

The America’s Farmers Grow Communities program has been providing funding to organizations in rural communities for a number of years in honor of participating farmers from select counties around the United States.

This year, Bob and Jan Larkin of Bourbon County participated in the program and were announced winners, selecting Care to Share to be their non-profit organization of choice to receive the $2,500 donation.

The Larkins, leaders of the community, Care to Share representatives and cancer survivors were on hand Monday, May 8, to present the check.

Eligible counties for the program include those with at least 30,000 acres of specified crops, and awarded farmers had to be actively engaged in farming at least 250 acres of those crops. The selected charities had to be recognized as non-profit organizations.

Those interested in applying for the 2018 program can visit their website here.

Patty LaRoche: Warning Signs

While my sun-lover girlfriends headed off to the South Carolina beach, I, forbidden by my dermatologist to suntan, strolled into the woods for a walk. The isolated path was canopied by trees, and with a light breeze, I would walk for a couple of hours. You can imagine my surprise—actually, no you can’t—when I rounded a corner and was greeted by this sign: “Do Not Feed the Alligators.” Yes, ALLIGATORS! As in “flesh-eating reptiles.” With no intention of becoming an alligator appetizer, my saunter turned into a U-turn sprint.

For the past eleven years, my five college sorority friends and I have traveled together. This year, the alligator year, we went to a resort in Hilton Head—one which caters to physical disabilities because Diana’s handicap has made our usual, annual reunion to Mexico too difficult to navigate.

Diana is an example of one who ignored initial warnings that her medication (doctor-prescribed) was harmful. Irreparable damage resulted. Her legs function only for a few, painful steps with a walker, and she needs constant periods of rest for her swollen feet.

Diana is not the only friend who paid no attention to warning signs. Two months ago, Frank, a friend in Mexico, mentioned several times to his wife that he was having severe headaches. When she tried to talk him into returning to their home in Canada so he could be seen by his doctor, Frank refused. I was there the night he collapsed. The stroke he suffered has left him completely disabled.

We all have had our fair share of warning signs, and the older I get, the more I take them—well, most of them—seriously. A mole with irregular margins. Bruises on a child at Walmart. A friend who talks too much. Ministry requests outside my area of expertise. And certainly, “Do Not Feed the Alligators.” Sometimes, however, I ignore the most important ones: the ones that deal with temptation.

The Bible is full of stories in which warnings went unheeded. Take Samson, for example, the Nazarite who had taken a vow never to cut his hair (which controlled his unparalleled strength). You probably know the story. If not, please read it in Judges 13-16.

What started as a simple look turned to lust as Samson dallied with Delilah, a Philistine woman and enemy of Israel. Goaded by Delilah to reveal the source of his strength, Samson ultimately shared his secret; as a result, Delilah trimmed his tresses, and Samson was captured, blinded and forced to grind grain for his enemies. While in prison his hair grew, and along with that, his strength returned. He died while destroying the temple of the Philistine god, Dagon, killing thousands of Philistines in the process.

Samson ignored sign after sign, never changing course, until his death. He had judged Israel for 20 years and on many occasions had demonstrated his faith in God, but once he turned away from what he knew to be right, his downfall was imminent. I consider it a solemn warning. The slippery slope into a spiritual landslide begins gradually.

Have you been there? I have. By dismissing warning signs, I feed my temptation. Think about it. Every addiction started with “One.” One cigarette. One profane word. One “little white lie.” One drink. One juicy piece of gossip. Or, like Samson, One “look.” Should we ignore the Holy Spirit’s check on our spirit, it becomes much easier to nurture the sin and pull away from God.

We’d be better off feeding an alligator.

Registration Open for Mercy Health Foundation’s 2nd Mercy Golf Classic

Submitted by Tina Rockhold

It’s a second chance to hit a hole in one with Mercy Health Foundation Fort Scott’s 2nd Annual Golf Classic.

The 4-person scramble is slated for Saturday, June 10, at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Fort Scott. Cash will be awarded for the top three places in two flights, with first place winning $300, second place winning $200, and third place winning $100 plus other prizes for various hole and chipping contests. Brigg’s Auto of Fort Scott will donate a new vehicle for a hole-in-one on hole 11, plus additional prizes for a hole-in-one on other par 3 holes.

“Thanks to our long list of sponsors, players will walk away with nice prizes and giveaways,” said Tina Rockhold, Mercy Health Foundation Fort Scott director. “Last year’s inaugural tournament was successful and organizers are looking forward to an even better event this year.”

The team entry fee is $200 and includes lunch from Sugarfoot and Peaches. Mulligans can also be purchased for $5 each (max of two per person) as well as raffle tickets for wonderful tailgating supplies.

The event is open to the public and proceeds from the tournament will stay local to support the purchase of capital equipment or programs at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott. Funds from the 2016 event helped to purchase the HydroWorx 300 underwater treadmill used for aquatic therapy.

Schedule of events:

  • 8 – Registration
  • 9 – Shotgun start
  • Lunch is served as teams round the clubhouse
  • Awards ceremony and raffle winners will be announced at tournament completion

Register your team online or learn more at mercy.net/FortScottGolf. Business sponsorships are also available and are tax-deductable.

Obituary: James Oliver Baker

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

James Oliver Baker, age 85, passed away Monday, May 15, 2017, at his home surrounded by his family.

James Oliver was born August 4, 1931, in Fort Scott, Kans., the son of Clyde and Ada Minnie Baker. He attended Eugene Ware and graduated from Fort Scott High School with the Class of 1949. While in High School, he was President of the Freshman Class and as a senior was President of the Student Council and at this time, he also worked at the Western Insurance Company. J. O. attended Fort Scott Junior College and as a freshman was Vice-President of the Student Council and his sophomore year was elected President of the Student Council.

He resigned his office in October of 1951 to enlist as a recruit in the infantry. He took his basic training at Fort Polk, La., then was deployed to Hokkaido, Japan, before going to Korea. He was a member of the 45th Infantry Division that fought on Old Baldy during the Korean War. In eighteen months, he earned his way from a recruit to a First Sergeant. At that time, he was the youngest First Sergeant in the 45thInfantry Division. In later years, he was chaplain of the Combat Infantryman Association.

Upon his return from service, he married Kara Jeneane Wood on February 14, 1953, at the First United Methodist Church in Fort Scott. They began their married life in Beulah and Pueblo, Colo., for 18 months. During that time, he graduated from Pueblo Junior College and worked at the Pueblo Star Journal. He completed an ICS course in advertising. They returned to Fort Scott in August of 1954, where he worked for the Fort Scott Tribune in the advertising department. J. O. returned to the Western Insurance Company as manager of their newly formed printing department, where he was employed for 39 years until he retired in 1986.  He was an avid fisherman and hunter and also raised bird dogs and game birds for a few years.

Survivors include his wife, Kara Jeneane; two daughters, Linda Baker and Connie Malone and husband, Brent, and a son, Dr. Michael Pierce Baker and wife, Becky.  Also surviving are five grandchildren, Adam Malone and wife, Megan, Aaron Malone and wife, Amber, Alyssa Glades and husband, Matt, Bethany Baker and Jordan Baker and five great-grandchildren, Londyn, Trey Oliver, Lucas and Dayton Malone and Bishop Glades.  Another great-grandson is due to arrive in June. Also surviving is a brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Wood and wife, Julie of Moundville, Mo. He was preceded in death by his parents Clyde and Minnie Baker and his brother, Walter Lee Baker.

Rev. Dallas Peterson will conduct graveside services at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 18, at the U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Scott. Military honors will be provided by the Olson Frary Burkhart Post #1165 Veterans of Foreign Wars. Friends and family will meet at the cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Farlington United Methodist Church where he was a member or to the 45th Infantry Division Museum and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook atcheneywitt.com.

 

Obituary: Jerry Patrick Heffernan

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Jerry Patrick Heffernan, age 58, a former resident of Fort Scott, Kans., and more recently of Nevada, Mo., passed away Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at his home in Nevada.

He was born February 11, 1959, in Fort Scott, the son of Jerome Patrick Heffernan and Billie Joann Brown Heffernan. He married Caline Funk on May 31, 1986, at Pleasanton, Kans. Jerry had worked for Bourbon County for thirty-four years.  During his time with the county, he had worked on the bridge crew, the sign crew and at the landfill. When he retired in 2013, he was working as bridge foreman.  He enjoyed watching football and spending time with his granddaughter.

Survivors include his wife, Caline, of the home; a daughter, Shelby Bogart and husband, Mike, of Nevada and a granddaughter, Kimber Lynne Bogart.  Also surviving is his mother, Joann Heffernan, and a brother, Tom Heffernan, both of Fort Scott; his sister-in-law, Linda Hafer and husband, Lee, of Holly Springs, N.C.; an aunt, Viola Brown, of Fort Scott and numerous nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his father.

Rev. Paul Rooks will conduct funeral services at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Cheney Witt Chapel.  Burial will follow in the Clarksburg Cemetery.  The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Cheney Witt Chapel.  Memorials are suggested to Care to Share and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook atcheneywitt.com.

 

Obituary: Joseph Scott Hinton

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Joseph Scott “Joe” Hinton, age 54, of El Paso, Ark., passed away Tuesday May 16, 2017 at a truck stop in Nacogdoches, Texas.

He was born on April 26, 1963, in Wichita, Kans., the son of Eldon L. and Doris A. Duncan Hinton. He was an over-the-road trucker, owning and Operating Diamond Farms Inc. in El Paso, Ark. He was a member of the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church of Pittsburg, Kans. Joe was a hard worker who never knew a stranger. He was the right hand man for his great aunt and uncle Louise and Dub Fitzgerald, helping them farm in Bourbon County.

Survivors include the mother of his four children ex-wife Tama Gilbert Hinton; Abby Marie Hinton, Jenna Rose Hinton, Gabriel Joseph Hinton, and Kyla Faith Hinton, all of Greenbrier, Ark.; mother, Doris Hinton, Pittsburg, Kans.; sister Julie A. Hinton of Wilmington, DE; and many friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Eldon L. Hinton in 2005; and paternal and maternal grandparents.

Father Robert Wachter will conduct funeral services at 2 p.m. Friday, May 19, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Following the service there will be cremation. Memorial are suggested to the Independence Fund helping veterans with trackchairs and may be sent to the Cheney Witt Chapel, P. O. Box 347, 201 S. Main, Fort Scott, KS. 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guest book at cheneywitt.com.

Letter from the Capitol: Richard Hilderbrand

Weekly Overview:

Senators spent a lot of time and energy this week on conference committees, wrapping up some final pieces of legislation to send to the Governor’s desk.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted on an income tax increase bill that ultimately failed to garner 21 votes for passage. I voted against this massive tax bill that would have taken over 1 billion dollars out of your incomes and out of our economy. The senate has now gone back to the drawing board and are looking for ways to craft a compromise tax bill that can pass both chambers to help balance the budget. I will keep you posted on the progress as this continues to move forward.

School Finance

As you know, President Wagle appointed a Senate Select Committee on Education Finance early in this legislative session. The committee, chaired by Majority Leader Denning, has been working hand-in-hand with the House’s K-12 Education Budget Committee and the legislature’s outside legal counsel to produce a new school finance formula. The committees have made great strides forward this week, and we look forward to continuing that momentum into next week.

Human Trafficking

On Thursday, both the House and the Senate unanimously passed House Substitute for Senate Bill 40, a bill strengthening anti-human-trafficking laws in Kansas. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office teamed up with legislators to write this bill after identifying ways to best help combat human trafficking. This bill strengthens pre-existing laws and creates new laws, such as a mandatory human trafficking awareness course for truck drivers, so that they may easily identify and report signs of possible human trafficking. Further, this bill will “prohibit using communication devices to facilitate human trafficking or knowingly selling travel services connected with human trafficking. It would also create the crime of internet trading child pornography and increase penalties for sexual exploitation of a child,” as explained in a Topeka Capital-Journal news report. The bill is now waiting for Governor Brownback’s signature.

Thank you for all of your calls, emails, and letters regarding your thoughts and concerns about happenings in Kansas. Constituent correspondence helps inform my decision-making process and is taken into great consideration when I cast my vote in the Kansas Senate. I hope you’ll continue to engage with me on the issues that matter most to you, your family and our community. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka. Please know that I am fully committed to addressing the current issues in our state, and am proud to be your voice in the Kansas Senate. You can follow me on Facebook “Hilderbrand for Kansas” and on twitter #Hilderbrand4ks.

FLOOR ACTION:

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORTS:

JUDICIAL SURCHARGE; COLLECTION OF COURT DEBTS (HB 2041): HB 2041 extends the sunset provision for judicial surcharges on several docket fees until June 30, 2019. Current law allows the judicial branch to impose an additional charge per docket fee to fund the costs of non-judicial personnel until June 30, 2017. The bill also would require the cost of collection of debts owed to courts or restitution be paid by the responsible party as an additional court cost in all cases where the party fails to pay any debts owed to courts or restitution and the court contracts with an agent to collect the debt or restitution. Currently under law, the cost of collection is paid by the defendant as an additional court cost only in criminal, traffic and juvenile offender cases. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Tuesday May 9, by a vote of 23-15

EMPLOYMENT SECURITY LAW (HB 2054): HB 2054 modifies provisions in the Employment Security Law regarding access to information, law related to the Kansas Sentencing Commission, law related to law enforcement and law regarding fee funds. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Tuesday May 9, by a vote of 36-2

HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND NEW CRIMES (House Sub SB 40): H Sub SB 40 amends the law concerning human trafficking, including the creation of new crimes and amendments to existing crimes and other related provisions. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday May 11, by a vote of 40-0

AG, SCRAP METAL, AND OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL (SB 149): SB 149 creates and alters law related to the Attorney General, the Scrap Metal Theft Reduction Act and the Office of the Inspector General within the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday May 11, by a vote of 40-0

BILL SIGNINGS:

  1. Sub. for SB 101 – Adds sexual assault to the list of crimes which allow the issuance of Protective Order, amends the notification of sexual assault examination law and allows for victims of crime to receive compensation for mental health counseling.

SB 205 – Establishes rules for calculating service credit for KPERS employees and provides an increase in death benefits to be paid to the surviving spouses of firefighters who die in the line of duty.

HB 2096 – Amends restrictions on operation of transit buses in Wyandotte County and designates a portion of US-75 as the Eldon K. Miller Memorial Highway.

HB 2098 – Names the Mined Land Wildlife Area bison herd the “Bob Grant Bison Herd.”

HB 2353 – Clarifies definitions related to the State Use Law program.

HB 2356 – Revises various definitions related to the state’s bidding process.

The Governor has now signed 68 bills into law this session and vetoed two. By law, the Kansas governor has 10 calendar days to sign the bill into law, veto the bill or allow the bill to become law without his or her signature.

NEXT WEEK:

Next week is the third week of Veto Session. We will continue working on our three big-ticket items: taxes, budget and school finance. I hope you’ll reach out with any comments, questions or concerns regarding these issues or others. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka as we work to wrap this legislative session up.

K-State Extension: Caring for Ponds

Submitted by Christopher Petty

Southeast Kansas is an area of abundant water. Springtime rains have area ponds full to the brim. Many area landowners have recreational or livestock watering ponds on their property. Over time, the buildup of sediment and nutrients can cause weed and algae issues. Pondweeds can become unsightly, clog pipes and deplete oxygen necessary for a healthy fish population.

If you have concerns about the health of your pond, join the Southwind Extension District of K-State Research and Extension on Thursday, June 8, at 6 p.m. in the 4-H Building of the Bourbon County Fairgrounds in Fort Scott, Kans.

This program, featuring K-State Research and Extension Wildlife Specialist Charlie Lee, will focus on pond weed identification and control measures. The program is sponsored by Miller Feed and Farm, and a meal will be served. To pre-register for a meal, or for more information, contact the Extension Office in Fort Scott, Kans., at 620-223-3720 or e-mail Christopher Petty, District Extension Agent for Livestock Production and Forage Management at cgp@ksu.edu. A $10 fee, payable at the door, will help cover meals and materials.