Mary Pilcher Cook on the budget

A legislative update from Sen. Pilcher Cook:

On Thursday, February 12 the House and Senate both passed the conference committee report for the 2009 rescission bill (the fiscal year 2009 budget).  It passed in the House 70 to 51 and in the Senate 27 to 11 with an ending balance of $126.5 million, leaving a mere 2 percent ending balance, but better than before.  It’s a good start on dealing with our financial crisis.

To get there, Republicans worked together — even Johnson County Republicans!

Next, we’ll see how Governor Sebelius accepts the budget debated and passed by the Legislature.  The legal opinions are not uniform as to whether it would be constitutional for the governor to make line-item vetoes in this legislation, so it will be keenly watched.

When K-12 education is over 50 percent of the state budget, it is necessary to reduce funding in this area so as not to harm other areas of the budget that would:

threaten public safety by releasing criminals from prisons early,
or to sacrifice the health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens.
I’m hopeful the Legislature can now move onto the much more difficult FY 2010 budget where we must contend with the just-passed federal “stimulus” bill that will likely send money to Kansas, but with strings attached.

In preparation, I introduced HCR 1609, a concurrent resolution claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates.  We do not want the federal government to control Kansas, and it is yet to be determined how many strings will be attached to “stimulus” money. ( For example, we don’t want to establish artificially high “entitlement” levels for programs invented in Washington that we may get stuck with paying for later.

The Shawnee Dispatch wrote a story about Proposition K which changes the structure of property tax in Kansas and there is a poll where you may want to weigh in with your view. The link above will take you there.

Next week is turnaround week, and legislators will be debating bills on the floors of their respective Houses all day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  If you have the time, you can listen here.

There were hearings regarding abortion and sexual orientation last week.  You can find information about them at Kansas Liberty, in addition to many more subjects.  I have to say, it was quite amusing to hear one fellow representing the abortion industry protesting that they have to put up signs telling women it is against the law for anyone to force them to have an abortion against their will.  He said, “The sign is huge!  No one will see it anyway!”  How he said that in the same breath put me in a state of wonderment for a while.

Homosexual activists testify in favor of protection under state law

Committee looks at tightening late-term abortion laws in Kansas

‘Woman’s Right to Know’ bill stirs second day of abortion debates

It was a very busy week!  On my website,, you will find more news about actions we took in the Senate.

Thank you for your feedback and your notes of encouragement.  I treasure them all and I consider it a privilege to be at your service.

Warm regards,

Mary Pilcher Cook
13910 West 58th Place
Shawnee, KS  66216
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