Archive for Friday, January 26, 2007

Bill would allow ‘secret’ utility rate changes

January 26, 2007

Here are today's headlines from Kansas government:

(Wichita Eagle) Utility charges would remain secret: The state House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill to permanently allow secret utility rate increases that pass along to customers the cost of security improvements at electric and gas plants.

(Harris News Service) Wind energy proponents, opponents clash: Responding to opponents of a new wind farm planned in the state's Smoky Hills, Topeka Rep. Annie Kuether said Thursday she'll sponsor a bill placing new requirements on wind project developers. But another lawmaker, who represents residents in the Smoky Hills, said he doubted the measure would pass. "I don't think it's doable at all," said Rep. Josh Svaty, D-Ellsworth. "As long as you have a willing buyer and a willing seller and it doesn't pose any harm to any adjacent landowners, we as a Legislature have no business getting involved in those transactions."

(LJW) Cancer vaccine measure before Legislature: A bill introduced Thursday in Topeka would require all sixth-grade girls to be vaccinated for a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer - a killer of 3,700 women nationwide each year.

(Kansas Health Institute News Service) Smoking ban smoldering: The Senate Judiciary Committee called a "do-over" on Thursday, re-visiting two major changes to Senate Bill 37, a proposed statewide smoking ban.

(Harris News Service) Property tax lid gets frosty response: The first step in an effort to limit future property tax increases on senior citizens received a chilly reception Thursday from officials in both state and local government.

(Topeka Capital-Journal) Tax cap opponents heard: A Kansas Department of Revenue official said Thursday that a cap on property values for tax purposes wasn't the best way to aid senior citizens living on fixed incomes. A proposed constitutional amendment heard by the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee would mandate some sort of measure to halt property value increases for people 65 and older.

(AP) Sebelius creating a political buzz: Most of the Kansans who've left a mark on national politics have been Republicans, like Dwight Eisenhower and Bob Dole. Another, Sen. Sam Brownback, is running for president. But a Kansas Democrat, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, is generating some national buzz with her convincing re-election victory, glowing write-ups in national magazines like Time and Newsweek, and political chatter about her place on short lists for Cabinet secretary jobs should Democrats recapture the White House in 2008.

(LJW) Thorny problem of deferred maintenance remains: Lawmakers on Thursday wrestled with the issue of paying for hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs at public universities, hoping to get a plan together next week.

(Topeka Capital-Journal) Makeup of tax panel debated: The Kansas Association of Counties argued Thursday for a two-person expansion of the state Board of Tax Appeals. No justification exists for such a costly addition to the three-member panel, countered tax board chairwoman Rebecca Crotty. Neither view is correct, according to the Kansas Chamber, which suggested the tax board ought to be dropped in favor of a new Kansas court devoted exclusively to tax matters.

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