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Obituary: Lois Darlene Houston

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Lois Darlene Houston, age 86, a resident of rural Richards, Mo., passed away Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the St. Luke’s Hospice House in Kansas City, Mo.

She was born December 14, 1930, in Enid, Okla., the daughter of William Burton “Burt” Cooper and Ruth Rudd Cooper. Lois graduated from the Richards High School and attended Fort Scott Junior College. She first married Ivan Ater in 1949. They divorced. She later married Wayne Houston on July 20, 1981, at Fort Scott. Lois had worked for many years as a claims adjustor and as an underwriter for the Western Insurance which later became American States Insurance. In earlier years, she enjoyed sewing and crocheting. She was an excellent cook and will be remembered for her wonderful homemade pies. She was a member of the Community of Christ Church.

Survivors include her husband, Wayne, of the home; three sons, Ron Ater of Olathe, Kans., Tim Ater and wife, Pam, of Nevada, Mo., and Gregory D. Houston and wife, Linda, of Richards, Mo.; seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; a son, Gary Houston; three brothers, Tom, Jay and Herb Cooper and a sister, Carrie Lawson.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 25, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the U. S. National Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Memorials are suggested to the Community of Christ Church 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 at



Obituary: Melvin Higgins

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Melvin Higgins, age 88, resident of Richards, Mo., died Friday, May 19, 2017, at the Moore-Few Care Center, Nevada, Mo.

He was born March 2, 1929, in Richards, Mo., the son of Charley and Jennie Tucker Higgins. He graduated from Richards High School with the class of 1948. He married Sandra Joan Cameron on December 11, 1957, in Girard, Kans. She preceded him in death on January 10, 2011. He served our country in the United States Navy during the Korean War. Melvin worked for the Missouri State Highway Department for 33 years, retiring in 1992. He enjoyed fishing, raising chickens and turkeys, watching football on television, and attending dirt track races and tractor pulls. He spent most every Saturday at the Sale Barn. He was a past member of the American Legion in Arma, Kans. He was a very hard working and devoted family man who loved spending time with his grandchildren. Melvin could often be seen driving his riding lawn mower around Richards. He accepted Jesus two weeks before his passing.

Survivors include a grandson, Earl Higgins and wife Kari; two step-grandchildren, Rebecca Stinnett and James Stinnett and wife Lisa; a great grandson, Lukas; 11 step great grandchildren, Alexandra, Nathaniel, Syllvin, Jaylee, Ray Ray, Heather, Jacob, Chloe, Toni, Dalton, and Braden; a daughter-in- law, Joy Higgins; long-time family friend, Mary Jones; and several nieces and nephews. Besides his wife, Melvin was preceded in death by a brother, Clyde Higgins; seven sisters, Jennie Bell Burch, Gladys Goddard, Lenora Higgins, Arlene Winship, Thelma Wolfe, Ida Lee Daniels, and an infant; two sons, Ed Higgins and an infant; and an infant daughter, Venita Lenora Higgins.

Nephew Ed Tyler will conduct funeral services at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 24, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the U. S. National Cemetery, Fort Scott. Military Honors will be provided by the Olson Frary Burkhart Post #1165 V.F.W. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 10:30 until 11:30 AM. Memorials are suggested to the Richards Park Fund and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, P.O. Box 347, 201 S. Main, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Seasonal Landscape Issues Emerging

Submitted by Krista Harding

The prolonged periods of rain and wet growing conditions is causing some issues in our area. The conditions we have had recently are ideal for many landscape fungi and diseases to appear.

One fungal disease happening to sycamore trees is anthracnose. Anthracnose is favored by cool, wet weather. The young leaves may wither and turn black. Older leaves will have a brown discoloration that follows the major veins of the leaves. In some cases, the petiole (leaf stem) is infected, which causes leaf drop. Although this is most common on sycamore trees, it can also affect birch, elm, walnut, oak and ash.

In severe anthracnose cases, the tree drops heavily infected leaves and may completely defoliate. However, healthy trees will leaf out again in just a few weeks. Anthracnose seldom causes significant damage to trees in Kansas, so chemical control is not necessary. Fungicides do not cure infected leaves, so applying fungicides now will not help.

Both my climbing and Knock Out roses look good this year and are blooming like crazy! But, I have my guard up and am on the lookout for rose slug infestations. Some people might think that the small green worm they find on roses is a caterpillar of some sort. However, it is not. It’s actually the larva of a sawfly. This insect skeletonizes rose leaves and young larvae will remove the green layer of leaf, leaving behind a clear material. As the larvae mature, they make holes in the leaf and eventually may consume all of the leaf but the major veins. Since these insects are not caterpillars, insecticides with BT will not be an effective treatment. Instead, try a strong jet of water to dislodge the slugs and make it more difficult for them to return to the plant. Other effective treatments include insecticidal soap, horticulture oils, spinosad and permethrin.

Another pesky landscape insect to be watching for is Euonymus scale. Euonymus scale looks like small, white cottony spots on affected foliage. The leaves will turn yellow and die as this insect continues to feed by sucking the plants juices. Heavy infestation happens on the undersides of leaves, twigs and stems. Labeled insecticides include malathion, permethrin and cyhalothrin. However, control is almost impossible for euonymus that has been heavily attacked and is in very poor health. In those instances, complete removal of those plants is recommended.

Finally, watch for rust on hollyhocks. This is the most common disease on hollyhock and can cause serious injury as leaves are progressively killed through the summer. Rust shows up as yellow spots on the surface of the leaves and orangish to brown pustules on the underside. The first line of defense in preventing rust is to remove all hollyhock stalks, leaves and other debris in the fall and destroy it. Remove any infected foliage you see now. A fungicide such as Immunox can be applied to protect healthy foliage. However, if you fight rust every year, I recommend a preventative fungicide application as the leaves emerge in the spring.

Should you have any horticulture questions this growing season, give me a call. As a reminder, I have office hours in each of the three locations within the Extension district. I am in the Erie office Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Iola on Tuesday and Fort Scott on Thursday.

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at 620-244- 3826 or [email protected]

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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

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 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 For more information, please call Blake Davis, FSCC Livestock Judging Coach, at 620-223-2700, ext. 3290.

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 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


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


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

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.



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


  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 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 [email protected] A $10 fee, payable at the door, will help cover meals and materials.

Letters from the State Senate

2017 Session – Week Thirteen

Submitted by 12th District State Senator Caryn Tyson

May tends to be a busy month with graduations, Mother’s Day, Memorial weekend and other events.  It is also a busy month for the legislature.  Veto session began May 1.  It used to be a time to consider legislation that had been vetoed by the Governor.  It should be more accurately re-named to “wrap-up session.”  The budget, tax and K-12 funding are items that still need to be completed.

The state has collected $4.8 billion in tax receipts for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, which ends June 30. This is a $53.5 million increase for the same time frame in fiscal year 2016. It’s difficult to say if this trend will continue because of the devastating losses in agriculture caused by the March wildfires and the late April freeze. However, there is optimism at the national level that could offset the losses. We don’t need to use the budget shortfall as an excuse to massively increase our State spending and to cover that with a huge tax increase.

Other legislation worked on included the Kansas Consumer Protection Act in Senate Bill (SB) 201.  It was amended by adding current members of the military to the definition of “protected consumer.”  The bill passed the Senate unanimously.

Conference committees are meeting and this is when a bunch of bills can be combined into one bill. A few years ago, the House amended the rules to limit the number of bills that could be combined in conference committee to four bills, with a few exceptions.  It is disappointing that a couple of House committees combine several bills into one before the bill leaves committee and before it gets to conference; undermining the intent of the rule and not letting bills stand on their own merit.  SB 112 was one such bill.  It has topics from drug paraphernalia to dog fighting. The bill decreases the penalty for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia from a class A to a class B nonperson misdemeanor.  It increases sentencing for a burglary with intent to commit a felony, theft or sex crime. SB 112 defines “Animal shelter” to be the same definition as in the Kansas Pet Animal Act. The bill had more items Senators wanted, than not.  It seems the increased sentences for persons convicted of a hate crime against law enforcement would be one of the main reasons to support the bill.  The bill passed the Senate 38 to 0.

May 8-12 is Teacher Appreciation week. “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”  – Albert Einstein.  Thank you to my friends, family and all who have chosen to teach.  Teachers can, and often do, influence a student’s future – the way they see themselves for the rest of their lives.  This is a powerful role and a privilege, not to be taken lightly.  I hope you take time this week to thank teachers who have influenced your life.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.


Office Telephone: 785.296.6838

Telephone: 913.898.2366

Email: [email protected]


Submitted by 13th District Senator Richard Hilderbrand

Weekly Review

This was the legislature’s first week back in session after First Adjournment. We voted on numerous Conference Committee Reports, wrapping up most of our non-tax, budget or education-related work.

National Day of Prayer

Thursday in the Capitol, we celebrated National Day of Prayer. Many of our Senators participated in a mid-day prayer service to extend prayers for our legislators, our staffs, our families, our servicemen and women, teachers, law enforcement, doctors and nurses, children and for the general well-being of our state.

National Police Week

This week, both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed SB 112, The Law Enforcement Protection Act, a bill strengthening protections for police officers and creating tougher sentences for individuals convicted of hate crimes toward police officers. This is a great piece of legislation that shows, concretely, our appreciation and respect for our law enforcement officials. This bill passed both chambers with large bipartisan support, and many of our Senators attended the bill’s signing ceremony in Governor Brownback’s office on Friday.

Thank You for Engaging

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.


KANSAS CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT (SB 201): SB 201 amends the Kansas Consumer Protection Act adding members of the military to the definition of “protected consumer” found in the Act. Currently, law includes veterans, surviving spouses of veterans and immediate family members of members of the military, but does not specifically include current members of the military. This bill passed the Senate Tuesday May 2, by a vote of 39-0.

BOB GRANT BISON HERD (HB 2098): HB 2098 names the bison herd at the Mined Land Wildlife Area in Crawford Country the “Bob Grant Bison Herd.” This bill passed the Senate Tuesday May 2, by a vote of 39-0

QUALIFIED VENDOR REQUIREMENTS (HB 2353): HB 2353 revises the definition section of the State use Law by redefining the term “qualified vendor” and includes a new definition for persons who are disabled. Qualified vendor would mean a Kansas business that employs Kansas who are blind or disabled, excluding employees hired by third-party entities. Currently, the definition for qualified vendor is silent on the extent of employment and the location of operations. The bill would define “persons who are disabled” to mean any person of employable age whose physical or mental condition is a substantial barrier to employment. This bill passed the Senate Tuesday May 2, by a vote of 39-0

COMPETITIVE BID PROCESS FOR STATE CONTRACTS (HB 2356): HB 2356 revises provisions of the state’s bidding process as it relates to the definitions of “certified business” and “individual with a disability.” Under current law, most contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. However, a contract may be awarded to a certified business (or a disabled veteran business) whose bid is not more than 10 percent greater than the lowest competitive bid. The bills states that certified business must conduct most of its operations in Kansas, employing at least 10 percent of its workforce with individuals that have disabilities, contributing at least 75 percent of their health insurance premium costs, and not paying a subminimum wage, which is allowable under federal law. The Department of Administration (Department) would certify businesses every three years instead of annually. An individual could be certified as having a disability by either the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) or the Kansas Department for Children and Families (KDCF), using the disability standards established by the U.S. Social Security Administration as determined by the Kansas Disability Determination Services within KDCF. Under current law, disability certification is determined by KDADS using a clinical assessment. This bill passed the Senate Wednesday May 3, by a vote of 39-0


IGNITION INTERLOCK AND EXPUNGEMENTS (HB 2085): HB 2085 requires every person who has an ignition interlock device installed to complete the ignition interlock device program pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the Secretary of Revenue. An approved service provider would have to provide proof of completion to the Division of Vehicles before the person’s driving privileges would be fully reinstated. The bill would also revise statutes governing expungements in municipal and district courts to state that provisions regarding expungement of violations of driving under the influence (DUI) or test refusal would apply to all violations committed on or after July 1, 2006, except that the district court expungement provision for a second or subsequent violation would not apply to violations committed on or after July 1, 2014, but prior to July 1, 2015. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Tuesday May 2 by a vote of 39-0

GENERAL CORPORATION CODE (HB 2153): HB 2153 would create and modify law within the Kansas General Corporation Code (GCC) and alter related statutes to create a type of business entity known as a “Public Benefit Corporation.” The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Tuesday May 2 by a vote of 37-2

PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ACT (H Sub for SB 101): House sub. for SB 101 would adjust law concerning protective orders, notification of a sexual assault examination of a minor child, infectious disease testing, and claims for compensation through the Crime Victims Compensation Board. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Tuesday May 2 by a vote of 39-0

KPERS AND KANSAS POLICE AND FIREMAN (SB 205): SB 205 makes numerous changes to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS or Retirement System) pertaining to participating service; Kansas Police and Firemen’s (KP&F) death benefits for certain surviving spouses; the Board of Regents Retirement Plan, as it relates to working after retirement; and the administration of KPERS. The Senate Concurred with amendments in conference Wednesday May 3, 39-0

CRIMES, CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, AND CUSTODIAL INTERROGATIONS (SB 112): SB 112 creates the crime of aggravated domestic battery and modifies the crimes of domestic battery, possession of drug paraphernalia, burglary, cruelty to animals and dog fighting. Further, it would amend provisions concerning illegal sentences, post-release supervision for persons convicted of sexually violent crimes, and expungement of arrest records. It also would enact the Law Enforcement Protection Act and provisions concerning the electronic recording of certain custodial interrogations. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Wednesday May 3, by a vote of 38-0

CRISIS INTERVENTION ACT (S Sub for HB 2053): Senate Substitute for HB 2053 creates the Crisis Intervention Act (Act) and amends law related to mental health to reflect the provisions of the Act. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Wednesday May 3, by a vote of 39-0

PUBLIC RECORDS AND MEETINGS (HB 2301): HB 2301 modifies law related to public records and public meetings. One of these modifications includes amending law within the Kansas Code of Criminal Procedure relating to trial jurors. The bill would remove addresses of prospective jurors from the information included in the list of prospective jurors filed as a public record with the clerk of the court. The bill would also alter the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA) with respect to closed or executive meetings. The bill would require any motion to recess for a closed or executive session to include a statement describing the subjects to be discussed during the closed or executive session and the justification for closing the meeting. Current law requires a statement of the justification for closing the meeting and the subjects to be discussed during the closed meeting. Unchanged in the bill would be the requirement the motion contain the time and place at which the open meeting will resume. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Wednesday May 3, by a vote of 40-0

INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR SELF- STORAGE UNITS (SB 14): SB 14 creates a limited line of insurance for self-service storage unit insurance; enacts new law pertaining to this limited line; and amends a provision in the Uniform Insurance Agents Licensing Act concerning application requirements for resident agent licensure to authorize the fingerprinting of resident insurance agent applicants for the purposes of obtaining a state and national criminal history record check. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday May 4, by a vote of 37-3

INTERNATIONALLY ACTIVE INSURANCE GROUPS (SB 16): SB 16 enact new law pertaining to internationally active insurance groups and the corporate governance practices of all domestic insurers. The bill would also amend a provision in the Insurance Code that exempts the marketing and sale of service contacts from regulation by the Kansas Insurance Department. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday May 4, by a vote of 35-4

VEHICLE TITLE AND REGISTRATION FEES AND SEAT BELT SAFETY FUND (SB 89): SB 89 makes modifications to law relating to the collection of certain vehicle title and registration fees and the remittance of such fees. The bill also would increase fines for certain seat belt violations and direct related moneys to the Seat Belt Safety Fund created by the bill. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Friday May 5, by a vote of 32-7


Governor Brownback signed the following bills into law during the adjournment period and the first week of Veto Session:

Senate Bill 112 – Creates tougher sentences for individuals convicted of committing hate crimes against law enforcement.

House Substitute for Senate Bill 51 – Updates the controlled substance schedule and allows the Board of Pharmacy to conduct emergency scheduling when required.

Senate Bill 124 – Specifies the factors considered in determinations of child custody and modifies the process for admitting court ordered drug and alcohol tests into evidence at Child in Need of Care hearings.

Senate Bill 202 – Approves the compact between the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas and the State of Kansas and the compact between the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska and the State of Kansas, which relate to cigarette and tobacco sales, taxation and escrow collection.

Senate Substitute for House Bill 2026 – Makes changes to KanCare processes and contract requirements.

House Substitute for Senate Bill 70 – Amends the Kansas Amusement Ride Act and the Amusement Ride Insurance Act.

Sub for Sub for SB 95 – Authorizes the use of telephonic signatures for public assistance applications.

Senate Bill 184 – Enacts the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center Act.

House Bill 2006 – Addresses how vacancies on county commissions are filled.

House Bill 2025 – Amends regulations related to the Kansas Board of Nursing and laws related to Mental Health Technicians.

Senate Substitute for House Bill 2027 – Amends the Kansas Healing Arts Act.

House Bill 2030 – Changes the law related to vaccination and reporting requirements.

House Bill 2043 – Amends certain financial examination requirements by the Kansas Insurance Commissioner.

S Sub for HB 2055 – Amends the Kansas Pharmacy Act.

House Bill 2094 – Addresses interlocal cooperation among local government entities.

House Bill 2118 – Provides liability exceptions and inactive provider coverage limits under the health care provider insurance availability act.

House Bill 2137 – Allows county commissioners and members of city government to serve in various volunteer capacities.

House Bill 2140 – Adopts the Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact to promote prevention and control of wild fires in the Great Plains region.

Senate Substitute for House Bill 2174 – Authorizes various distinctive license plates and allows persons with distinctive plates to obtain a wheel chair emblem.

Senate Substitute for House Bill 2304 – Amends law regarding standards and regulations of maternity centers and child care facilities.

Senate Substitute for House Bill 2052 – Concerns Appropriations for Fiscal Years 2017 through 2021.

House Bill 2080 – Concerns reinstatement of forfeited benefit units and rural water district.

House Bill 2095 – Provides a special vehicle permit for certain vehicle combinations.

House Bill 2158 – Amends the law related to canvassing of advanced ballots.

House Bill 2170 – Amends the traffic safety laws related to bicycles.

House Bill 2213 – Reauthorizes the Kansas Board of Regents fee schedule in the Kansas private and out-of-state post-secondary educational institution act.

House Substitute for Senate Bill 13 – Amends the laws related to the sale of certain alcoholic beverages.

Senate Bill 20 – Amends the State Banking Code, Kansas Money Transmitter Act, Kansas Mortgage Business Act, and the Kansas Credit Services Organization Act.

Senate Bill 46 – Amends the law pertaining to rights and procedures related to water rights.

Senate Bill 50 – Changes membership of the advisory committee on uniform state laws and the joint committee on claims against the state, and adds the unauthorized practice of law to the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.

Senate Bill 65 – Allows for creditor sale of repossessed alcoholic liquors pledged as collateral.

The Governor has now signed 62 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 is the second 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.