January 25, 2008
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The Health and Human Services Committee, is reviewing health care statistics regarding uninsured Kansans. The facts show that Kansas is below the national average with an 11% uninsured rate while national rate is 15%. That is not a bad number when you realize Kansas has a 14% uninsured rate of vehicle insurance and coverage is state mandated! In trying to determine how to best reduce the cost of health care, our committee is also reviewing recent legislation passed in Missouri. They seem to be tackling some of the important issues such as making insurance affordable to those who are forced into the state insurance high risk pool because of pre-existing conditions. They are dealing with portability of insurance policies which can be carried from one employer to another. Perhaps we can mirror some of the positive steps taken by Missouri and learn from their mistakes as well. We have also been briefed on obesity rates in Kansas which seem to be higher than national averages – both in children and adults. In looking for answers we must be mindful that the wrong approach could result in creating adverse effects such as eating disorders with our youth.
My plan to introduce a resolution condemning gangsta rap has created quite a stir in Topeka. Perhaps it has also caused people in our state to focus on something that needs to be talked about and addressed. I realize we have a first amendment right to free speech, and I feel I am representing that right for many in Kansas by stating that the lyrics demeaning women promotes violence, and uses course slang words to describe minorities. This is not acceptable to Kansans! Our children’s minds should be protected from the damage done by these lyrics. If repetitive messages don’t impact our thinking, then advertisers are going about their jobs all wrong.
Veterans came into my office on Wednesday and announced the good news that the Emporia area will once again have a Veteran’s Service Representative located in Emporia. I am excited about this as I have been working with the Veteran’s Commission to get this accomplished. I am also looking for revenue sources that will help to fund a mobile unit that will deliver services to our local communities throughout the state.
A bill that would outlaw Salvia has entered the Senate as well as one in the House. It looks positive that these bills will get the support needed in both chambers. This drug has become widely abused and it is time to pass legislation to make it illegal.
I am strongly considering a bill that would place a permanent spending cap on the Legislature. I know there are many who claim that elected officials should be responsible with spending tax dollars without a mandate. I have yet to see the Legislature do it and I have been here for twelve years. I look forward to your input on this issue. After all…it is your money.
We had the pleasure of two very impressive young students from Hartford High this week. Christopher Moomey and Lukas Preeo came dressed in their Civil Air Patrol uniforms and made a very impressive sight in the Capitol. I took great pride in having them here and we very much enjoyed their conversations and ideas. They have expressed a desire to have a SADD chapter in their school.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We were going to have an educational forum on the South Steps of the Capitol today on Global Warming, but we have postponed it until June when it will be a little warmer.” Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson 2008