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Capitol Beats: 'Something is funny here. Somebody did not want bad press.'

  • Published Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at 6:05 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, at 8:48 a.m.

Check this spot on Sundays for a few quick hits about what’s driving the debate in the Legislature.

Say what?

“Something is funny here. Somebody did not want bad press.”

— Haysville Republican Rep. Joe Edwards. His comment, directed at the hotel, may have inadvertently summed up the whole strange situation. Edwards reported being bashed in the back of the head, shoved into his room and robbed of $260 cash at the Ramada in downtown Topeka, the weekday home of dozens of lawmakers. But hotel officials and police say surveillance video from last Tuesday night shows no attack occurred outside Edwards’ room as he claimed. He spent a night in a hospital for a concussion.

200

At least that many Realtors rallied on the second floor of the Capitol, home to Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration offices, in an effort to persuade lawmakers to reject Brownback’s proposal to eliminate the home mortgage interest and real estate property tax deductions while cutting income taxes. Senators axed the real estate property tax portion, but the plan still would zap the mortgage interest deduction. A proposal by the Realtors to phase out the deductions as income taxes are phased out is drawing more interest, but many worry it would hurt the state’s budget. And some Republicans, including top House officials, say the answer may be cutting state spending on services.

Trending

State securities commissioner Aaron Jack abruptly resigned from Brownback’s administration last week, becoming at least the fourth top administration official to leave with some lawmakers and observers asking questions. Officially, Jack left for opportunities in the private sector. Some wonder how the resignation could affect his plan to be elected as the state’s next insurance commissioner. Speculation over the race for insurance commission appears to be trending.

News ahead

A delayed hearing over a proposal to drug test welfare and unemployment recipients who the state has reason to suspect may be using drugs is likely to make headlines later this week. Failing the test would mean treatment and suspension of benefits. It’s seen as part of a larger effort to push people away from welfare programs and into jobs. Meanwhile the House State and Federal Affairs Committee plans to debate laws aimed at protecting Kansas from potential federal gun-control efforts.

— Brent Wistrom

For more legislative news, go to www.kansas.com/politics and follow @BrentWistrom on Twitter.

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