The Net #10
Kansas Legislative Network News
April 6, 2008
Sierra Club Kansas Chapter
5001 Rock Creek Lane, Mission, KS 66205
Phone: 913-236-9161; cell: 913-687-2405;
You Did It!!!!
Holcomb kept at bay for now
The Kansas legislature adjourned at 9:00 p.m. Friday April 4th without attempting an over ride of House Substitute for Senate Bill 327. They will reconvene on April 30th for the veto session when a veto over ride can still be considered.
The over ride was not attempted because the pro-Holcomb forces did not have the 84 votes to do so. One of their votes was not present and earlier in the day 148 passed with 83 votes. Since 148 and 327 are similar, it was apparent an over ride of 327 would be at least one short. This is because of your efforts and not giving up!
The Legislative Action Tree has been extremely active the past few weeks. This past week there were 3 votes on Holcomb bills and one more was expected all the way till adjournment Friday. There is now a 3 1/2 week break till action begins and the Tree will need activating for additional votes.
There are several Holcomb bills that all contain essentially the same issues. Although there are some differences, these bills all limit the authority of the Secretary of KDHE to regulate air quality and allow Holcomb to resubmit their permit application. This will result in Holcomb being built.
327 remains on the front burner because it has been vetoed by Governor Sebelius. The Senate voted to over ride 327 earlier this past week. Since then, House Substitute for SB 148 has been passed by both the House and Senate and sent to the Governor to be signed. It is expected that this will be vetoed. Some call 148 “Son of Holcomb” whereas 327 was just “The Holcomb Bill.”
Why was this done? There is nothing simple about any of this. In short, the rules for vetoing and over riding vetoes have time limits. The clock is running on 327 and time will expire about 4 days into the veto session. The so-called veto session is for far more than vetoes. Several bills primarily dealing with appropriations and including what is called the “Omnibus Bill” will be voted on. The Veto session is supposed to last 3 or 4 days but some have lasted 10 days or more. It will begin on April 30th .
148 has almost everything 327 has in it plus a couple extra things to make it different than 327. It was written expecting a veto in case 327 runs out of time. If the veto session runs long, 148 will be there to be over ridden.
If the veto session ends without an over ride, Holcomb supporters will have one more chance during what is called “sine die.” Sine die is the official last day of the session and is usually ceremonial. However, it has one other purpose. Anything that still has not surpassed its time limit can be considered for a veto over ride. This would include 148 but not 327. Only vetoes can be considered at sine die. Sine die will probably be the week before Memorial Day. It is probable your communications will be needed then too. No matter what, 84 votes in the House are needed for an over ride. The Senate has shown itself to be veto proof.
What to Do…
If you haven't already, get on your legislators email list.
Question legislators if they voted for Holcomb bills and especially if they mention those votes in their newsletters.
Continue writing letters of thanks or dismay to Reps and Senators. There is time to use snail mail which is best but if you send email don't forget your home address so they know you are from their district.
Go to legislative forums and thank out friends for voting against Holcomb and ask others why they voted for putting 11 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually.
Go to and/or help out with Earth Day events. Also recommend that your legislator go. Sierra Club will need volunteers to help with their booths at these events. Call Stephanie Cole at (913) 906-9332.
Write letters to the editor about your concerns about Holcomb and appropriately mention your State Rep. or Senator for voting for/against Holcomb bills.
Educate or otherwise communicate to your friends and relatives in other parts of the state to get involved similarly. Much of our membership is clustered in larger urban areas. Legislators from less urban areas don't hear as much against Holcomb/global warming as in more urban. Many legislators think GW is a fad or worse yet, good for Kansas .
Yes there are still other bills. Some are being held waiting for an over ride of one of the Holcomb bills. SB 580 and 586 that I discussed last week have some other energy or conservation bills rolled into them and are being held in conference committee pending a Holcomb resolution. Part of the excuse for this is that for the most part the concepts in these bills are found in both 327 and 148 too.
House Concurrent Resolution having to do with the NAFTA super highway and recommendations to Congress to withdraw from NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America was passed by the House but had references to NAFTA removed. It is in the Senate. HCR 5038 the Kansas Energy Plan remains on General Orders in the House.
SB 670 that passed the Senate remains on General Orders in the House awaiting debate. This bill establishes a joint committee on the 2010 comprehensive transportation plan and will be an important committee for the Sierra Club to watch for the next two years. I would think this will eventually pass. Another bill that will keep the Sierra Club busy in coming years is SB 692. 692 creates a joint committee on energy and the environment and Is currently assigned to the House Utilities Committee. These bills are both “blessed” and could progress in some fashion during the veto session.
We have a window of about 3 ½ weeks to influence the legislative process. This is an opportunity we must take advantage of. The other side certainly will. It is a close game but we are still in the lead. Help keep us in the lead.
Sierra Club Kansas Chapter