News from Mary Pilcher Cook

From Senator Pilcher Cook:

We’ve been through turnaround and now are considering bills from the House along with some Senate bills.  There is much legislation that has crossed my desk, and I have posted the information on my website on the Legislative Reports page.

Last week the House passed the HB 2014 comprehensive energy bill 79-44.  Even though it’s 5 votes short of the 84 needed for a veto-proof majority (Gov. Sebelius promised a veto), there are possibly five or more votes who don’t want to receive heavy duty arm-twisting before the veto session.

This week the Senate will be debating a comprehensive energy bill.  We are still studying the stimulus package and what it will mean to Kansas.  We need to be careful that we are not creating a bigger hole for ourselves in future years by accepting one-time money which does nothing to fix our budgetary structural problems, but keeps us addicted to spending.  State government must be responsible with your money.

I am working on introducing a bill which will require any state agency anticipating federal funds to give the Legislature the following information:

The amount of federal funding it anticipates receiving under the Act;

Timeframe for receipt of funds;

Whether the anticipated federal funding is allocated through an existing or new federal program;

Current levels of state funding for the agency that is appropriated, requested or held in any account by or for the agency that would be impacted positively or negatively by the receipt of federal stimulus funding;

Whether additional spending authority would be necessary to expend the federal funds;

Whether any additional state employees are necessary to oversee or administer the federal funds and if so how many;

Requirements under the Act associated with spending federal funding, including but not limited to state match or cost share requirements, percentage limitations and timeframes;

When federal funding ends; and

A plan detailing how the funds will be spent and how the agency will address the absence of federal funding after it ends.

Let me know if you think of anything else that should be added.

I still have page dates open.  If you have a son or daughter who is 13-15 years of age, we have 4 openings on March 31st and 2 openings on April 1st.  Please send me an email if you are interested.

Tomorrow night (Monday) I will be giving a legislative update at the NWJCR meeting, which will be held at Barley’s off Midland Drive.  The meeting starts at 6:30 pm and we are encouraged to order something to eat so we can get together in this relaxed atmosphere.  There will also be some local candidates running for office that will be giving short speeches.  I hope to see you there!

I’m running a little behind on my emails and phone calls.  Juggling legislative study and work with constituent communications is challenging, but I am determined to answer every email and I hope to get caught up soon. I enjoy hearing from you and receiving your thoughts.

Thank you for staying engaged on the issues and working to educate yourselves.  Please don’t get too discouraged with what is happening on the national level.  This is a good teaching time and I believe there are far too many of us who embrace America’s founding principles, that our individual freedoms derive from God and not from government, to let it get us down.  With time and tenacity, we will overcome the obstacles that seem to be looming ahead.

Wanting all the best for you,

Mary Pilcher Cook

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