Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: State: December 2009

WICHITA, Kan. - The year 2009 was an eventful year for the women of Kansas and the rest of the women of the nation.

We saw the advancement of the Kansas ERA in 2009. The hearing in the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee was successful and SCR 1608 currently waits in that committee with the potential for placement on the Senate calendar for debate in 2010.

The 2010 legislative session may see the advancement of the DV Tagging Bill (HB 2335), a comprehensive sex education bill and potential legislation to address the short falls of the sexual assault examination procedure in Kansas communities. As always, there is sure to be an abundance of attempts at legislative restrictions on women's reproductive access and health care choices.

HAYS, Kan. - As kids, growing up in Texas, we always hoped for snow at Christmas. On TV, we'd see Linus, Snow White, Santa or the Frosty the Snowman enjoying their sparkling winter lives. We just knew that all kids everywhere were iceskating, sledding and having snowball fights. Just not us! Never us!

One year, although snow was definitely not in the forecast, the temperatures were at least expected to dip below freezing overnight on Christmas Eve. My father and several of the fathers on our block got together and cooked up a plan to create a Texas version of Winter Wonderland. We lived on a concrete hill in suburban Dallas. The fathers made ice by connecting up several water hoses and letting lots of municipal water run down our street throughout the night. On Christmas morning, we were happy kids! We sled down our icy hill in trash can lids until everything melted by mid-morning. That's the closest that I've ever come to enjoying a white Christmas - until now!

Snow is coming! A strong winter storm is expected to develop over Kansas and move slowly across our state between Tuesday night and Christmas Eve day. Travelers should heed the warnings, however, since these storms may create blizzard conditions. The snow and ice is expected to significantly impact travel across most of Kansas this week. If you have travel plans, here are the latest watches, warnings or advisories for Kansas...

tom-wiggans.jpgTOPEKA, Kan. - Tom Wiggans announced that he has ended his exploratory committee, and his campaign for governor. Wiggans announced he was running less than a month ago.

In an email to his supporters, Wiggans said,

What I have learned from my discussions, and from public opinion polling, is that Kansans are hardly in sync with Sam Brownback and they are deeply concerned with the performance of Congress. What I have also learned is that for a candidate who has recently returned to my home state and who has never run for political office, it will take more time and resources than I can assemble to mount a winning campaign. While I have remained involved in many activities in the state over the past years, I have spent much of my business career away from home and thus am unknown to many voters and donors.

Therefore I believe it is in the best interest of the voters for me to end my exploration of running for Governor and entering public service at this time, and instead offer my ideas and experience to state leaders, institutions, and companies and focus my energies on creating new jobs and a strong economy for the future. I am committed to continuing my dialog with the voters of Kansas and becoming fully engaged in the many issues facing our state.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - The Democratic party is the voice for working people, farmers, and small business. The Republican party is the voice of Big Business. Never was this contrast between the parties more clear than on February 12, 2007 in the Kansas House of Representatives.

That's the day State Rep. Mark Treaster (D-Pretty Prairie) tried to tone down a corporate welfare bill sponsored by Republicans. The Republicans planned to abolish the "Franchise Tax" on all corporations in Kansas, regardless of size. The "Franchise Tax" is the annual fee that corporations pay to do business in Kansas. At that time, the cap on the franchise tax was $20,000 per corporation, and the franchise tax raised $44 million for the State of Kansas each year.

Democrat Rep. Mark Treaster offered an amendment to eliminate the state's franchise tax on all businesses licensed in Kansas with a taxable equity of a half a million dollars or less. The bill not only would have provided a tax break to small businesses, but also included a provision rewarding those small businesses who provide health insurance to employees. (The exemption could climb to 3 million if the company provided health insurance for workers.)

Who could be against such a win/win bill for both small businesses and the everyday Kansans who work for them? The Kansas Republican legislative delegation, that's who. The Treaster amendment was defeated 73-48. The vote was strictly along party lines.

Why did the Republicans object to the Treaster amendment?

TOPEKA, Kan. - On July 3, 2008, Christie Brungardt received news that is every mother's worst nightmare. Her 25-year-old daughter, Jana Mackey, a KU law student, had been killed by her daughter's ex-boyfriend in Lawrence.

Jana was well-known throughout Kansas for her advocacy for women's rights. A Hays native, Jana had spent years volunteering to aid victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in Topeka and Lawrence. She received her bachelor's degree in Women's Studies from KU and was an active participant in KU's Commission on the Status of Women. Jana also served as one of the youngest lobbyists at the Kansas State Capitol for the National Organization for Women.

On Thursday, more than a year after Jana's murder, about 50 people attended a news conference at the Topeka YMCA. Attendees heard Christie Brungardt and Jana's stepfather, Curt Brungardt, both also of Hays, announce the roll-out of Jana's Campaign to Stop Domestic Violence.

Realizing that other women continue to suffer the same tragic fate as their daughter, the Brungardts believe that much more must be done to adequately protect women in Kansas.

brownback.jpgTOPEKA, Kan. - Too little, too late Sam.

After a 25 year career in Washington, Sam Brownback has suddenly become aware of the staggering size of the U.S. debt -- and not a moment too soon, as he's ambitiously seeking the Governor's mansion in Kansas this cycle. The Kansas City Star explains:

...Sam Brownback of Kansas [snip] along with 23 colleagues from both sides of the aisle, believe that the imbalance between spending and revenue is too worrisome to ignore.

But as usual with Brownback it's just another move of political expediciency. Just as Brownback is leaving the Senate he's suddenly rediscovered his inner "fiscal responsibility" just in time for election.

During his time in Congress, a staggering $7 trillion has been added to the U.S. debt -- with hardly a peep in opposition from Kansas' junior Senator. In fact, as I'll detail below, Sam Brownback has been a leading contributor to the problem over the last two decades.

TOPEKA, Kan. - As anybody who has followed my writing here on Kansas Free Press or at Everyday Citizen knows, I am a passionate advocate for ending domestic violence. My advocacy stems from my friendship with one of the most amazing women I've ever met, Jana Mackey, whose life was taken much too early by the epidemic of domestic violence that engulfs the world.

In a world where 1 in 4 women will be subjected to some form of domestic abuse, it is hard to find hope. However, it doesn't have to be that way. Here in Kansas, Curt and Christie Brungardt, Jana's parents, have started an organization whose goal is to eliminate domestic violence. While that may seem like a lofty goal, I think we can all agree that it is a worth one.

So, I implore you to join Curt and Christie this Thursday in Topeka for the kickoff press conference for Jana's Campaign to Stop Domestic Violence. Here is the information:

Thursday, December 10, 2009, 10:00 a.m.
YWCA (North Door Entrance)
225 SW 12th Street
Topeka, Kansas

For more information please visit

money-200px-wide.jpgHAYS, Kan. - National economic indicators may signal the end of the recession, but here in the Midwest and specifically in Kansas, the job market is teetering. Companies are still laying off workers. New data shows communities reliant on the farm economy may be the last to rebound.

The November Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region, a leading economic indicator from a survey of supply managers in a nine-state area, slumped to its lowest level since May of this year. The index stood at 47.5, which was down from October's 51.8 and September's much healthier 56.2. An index of 50.0 is considered growth neutral.

The leading economic indicator for Kansas sank from October's reading. The November Business Conditions Index, based on a survey of Kansas supply managers, stood at 42.1, down from October's 50.0.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is State: November 2009. The next archive is State: January 2010.

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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the State: December 2009 section.

The previous archive is State: November 2009. The next archive is State: January 2010.

The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.

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