Sebelius Rejects Coal Plants, Stimulus Bill

Governor Sebelius signed four new bills into law Friday and let another pass without her signature, but most eyes were on one of the two she vetoed.

After twice rejecting lawmakers intentions to approve two new coal-powered plants for Sunflower Electric, state legislators included the measure in an economic stimulus package.

The maneuver was even questioned by proponents of the coal plants, according a statement released by the Governor, since it violated a section of the Kansas Constitution (Art. 2 Sect. 16) which prohibited two subjects in the same bill.

While Sebelius says she supports many of the provisions included in the bill, she chastised the legislature for not working toward a compromise solution, claiming they "recklessly chose to jeopardize important initiatives for businesses and communities across our state by combining them with energy legislation (she) ha(s) previously vetoed twice."

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld (R-Ingalls) criticized the Governor's move, claiming the veto will cost the state $16 billion. "While parts of our country are headed into a recession, our state's own economy is beginning to slow down, the Speaker said. "It is important we do whatever we can now to keep our state's economy going and growing" Read Speaker Neufeld's Response

Among the items set aside by the Governor's veto, according to Neufeld were a $100 million manuyfacturing plant in Johnson Co., another $100 million plant in Shawnee Co. and a $10 billion oil refinery in northeast Kansas.

"This was an opportunity to set Kansas on a strong economic course," the Speaker continued. "Leaving this work to future legislatures is a huge gamble for our state."

Sebelius does comment that she "remain(s) very supportive of many provisions contained within HB 2412 and hope to work with the Legislature, businesses and communities in the future to pass these important measures."

Supporters need two-thirds majorities in both houses to override a veto, but they have always been short in the House.

Additionally, the Governor rejected HB 2802, which she said would "put the regulatory process in the hands of a part-time legislature" and would increase the rates of all Kansans utility bill, while chiefly benefiting one company.

A proposal that allows people convicted of certain felonies was allowed to pass without the governor's signature because, despite her opposition, the nearly unanimous approval of the legislature seemingly ensured a veto would be overrridden

Laws regarding a sexual assault victim being allowed to request an examination, a change in the penalties for employees or volunteers aiding a prisoner escape, a change in the name of Fort Hays State's Endowment Assotiation, and authorization for KDOT equipment to be used for cleaning up flood debris were all signed.


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