The Associated Press
TOPEKA, Kan. — A bill sought by the Department of Agriculture to end small headaches in regulating grocery stores and vending machines didn’t get much attention as it slipped quietly through the Legislature this year.
But House Speaker Melvin Neufeld and his staff noticed, particularly one section several pages into the measure. It said the secretary of agriculture couldn’t impose regulations more stringent than those imposed by the federal government, unless legislators approved.
To them, the section had a familiar ring. Something similar for the secretary of health and environment had been included in two bills Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had vetoed during the biggest legislative debate of the year.
Those bills allow two coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas, which Neufeld, an Ingalls Republican, strongly supports. Sebelius has criticized provisions restricting the secretary of health and environment’s power, saying they’re unacceptable to her.
So why, Neufeld wonders, did Sebelius sign a bill containing a similar restriction on the secretary of agriculture? He believes she’s being inconsistent, something her staff disputes.
The contentious debate over coal-fired plants casts a huge shadow. When people have points to make, public opinion to shape and votes to change, seemingly insignificant things like the agriculture bill become relevant.
And this year, the legislative session seems to be all about whether the two coal plants get built.
“You see other legislatures in coal mining states spend a lot of time on coal, but nothing like this, not day in, day out,” said Bruce Nilles, director of the Sierra Club’s national anti-coal campaign.
Legislators return Wednesday from their annual spring break to wrap up their business for the year. Responding to Sebelius’ vetoes tops the agenda for Republican leaders.
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat who opposes the coal-plant bills, contends Neufeld is holding other issues hostage. Neufeld denies it.
The Associated Press
- State News
Oklahoma petition for medical marijuana signing up thousands of new voters
Medical marijuana may be the state's newest gateway drug -- to voting.
Miners earn top seed in district American Legion tourney
The Joplin Miners are the No. 1 seed for this week’s Triple-A District 15 Tournament at Carl Junction.
Rep. Reiboldt withdraws from debate about farming amendment
Southwest Missouri Democrats on Wednesday will sponsor a program on the Right to Farm Amendment, but it unclear if there will be a debate on the measure.
Oklahoma lawmaker not upset by convict’s delayed death
State Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, said his thoughts turned to Clayton Lockett’s murder victim when he learned Lockett had died of a heart attack shortly after his formal execution was halted because of problems with the lethal drug injection process.
Oklahoma governor orders review of failed execution
Gov. Mary Fallin ordered a thorough review Wednesday of the botched lethal drug execution of a convicted murderer that left him writhing and grunting. But the governor said executions will continue in Oklahoma, and the review by the state Department of Public Safety is to determine if medical and other protocols were followed in the failed execution of Clayton D. Lockett.
Party on? No local love in Princeton Review rankings
There's no love for Missouri Southern State University, Pittsburg State University or Crowder College in the new rankings issued by the Princeton Review. Which, given many of the survey categories, isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency in Missouri
Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe winter weather that began early this morning, bringing hazardous travel and the possibility of power outages.
Publicist: Andy Williams dies
According to a publicist, Emmy-winning TV host and 'Moon River' crooner Andy Williams has died.
Lions climb into share of MIAA men's basketball lead
Without taking the floor, Missouri Southern has climbed into a first-place tie in the MIAA men’s basketball race.
2.6 magnitude earthquake recorded in Oklahoma
The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a 2.6 magnitude earthquake near Wellston in central Oklahoma.
No injuries or damage is reported.
- More State News Headlines
- Oklahoma petition for medical marijuana signing up thousands of new voters