Ag Blogs -
Friday, 29 April 2011 10:34
Gov. Sam Brownback was at Colby Airport on Monday for a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 198, known as the Rural Opportunity Zones bill. Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, Rep. Don Hineman and myself were in attendance, along with Secretary of Commerce Pat George, Secretary of Labor Karin Brownlee and Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan.
The bill provides a five-year Kansas state income tax exemption to anyone who moves into any of the 50 counties in the ROZ from another state.
One other provision in this bill deals with student loans. Counties that wish to participate in a state matching program may pay up to $15,000 on a student loan, $7,500 from the county and $7,500 from the state during a five-year term.
The governor said this also would include students who qualify and who live inside Kansas. This bill hopefully will attract college graduates and bring them back to our small communities.
Brownback said he got the idea for this legislation when he visited Winfield. He met six individuals who had moved to Winfield from California and asked them why they decided to move to Winfield.
They stated they had driven through Kansas on motorcycles and had stopped in Winfield and liked what the community had to offer. They wanted to get away from the high taxes and the problems in California.
The governor commented the quality of life and values of rural Kansas is a well kept secret, and we need to advertise in the metropolitan areas across the United States. A special thank you to all that were able to attend the signing.
On Tuesday, Brownback signed two pro-life bills into law in Topeka. This important legislation will help protect the lives of unborn children.
House Bill 2218 enacts new restrictions on certain late-term abortions by adding provisions addressing the ability of an unborn child to feel pain. The bill defines a "pain-capable child" as an unborn child who is of the gestational age of at least 22 weeks and sets restrictions and requirements on physicians performing abortions in instances that involves an unborn child who is capable of feeling pain. Circumstances are established in the bill for exceptions where the life of a pregnant woman is at risk or where the pregnant woman will experience substantial and irreversible physical harm if the pregnancy continues.
The bill initially passed the House by a vote of 91-3 and later passed the Senate by a vote of 24-15. The Senate amended the bill to clarify that eight weeks after fertilization an unborn child reacts to touch and by 20 weeks the unborn child reacts to stimuli. The House agreed to the changes made by the Senate and approved the final version of the bill March 29 by a vote of 94-28.
House Bill 2035 places further restrictions on late-term abortion procedures, expands parental consent requirements for minors seeking abortions and strengthens the state's partial birth abortion law to where it better aligns with tighter federal law. This particular measure is a combination of legislation passed during prior sessions that was vetoed by democratic governors Sebelius and Parkinson.
Key provisions of HB 2035:
* Requires a specific medical diagnosis for a late-term abortion to occur.
* Requires women seeking abortions to be provided with information that states they procedure will terminate the life of a human being.
* Allows for civil lawsuits against doctors who violate late-term abortion law.
* Mandates additional reporting of sex abuse evidence on minors wanting an abortion.
* Clarifies when courts can bypass parental consent requirements.
The House originally passed HB 2035 by a vote of 96-25 and passed the Senate 24-15 on March 23. The Senate amended the bill by requiring a person employed or who volunteers with organizations providing social services to pregnant teenagers, including counseling, adoption services and pregnancy education and maintenance, to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Another amendment by the Senate altered the effect date of the bill. The House concurred with the Senate and changed and approved the final version of HB 2035 on March 29 by a vote of 100-22.
I am distributing survey cards throughout the communities of the 121st District. If you are interested in completing this short survey, please stop by your local library, banks, implement dealers, city buildings or other local businesses for a copy of the survey. I would like to receive these back by the end of April.
If you are interested in receiving the results of this survey, please include your email address or name and mailing address on the survey, and I will contact you with the results.
Rick Billinger, Goodland, represents the 121st District in the Kansas House.