“It’s time to kick junior out of the house. It’s time he starts contributing to the state.”
That’s the analogy Wichita Republican Rep. Mark Hutton used to describe the Kansas Turnpike, which he said was originally envisioned to use tolls until initial construction was paid for. The House last week gave initial approval of a partial merger of the Kansas Turnpike Authority and Kansas Department of Transportation. Lawmakers amended the bill in hopes of preventing toll money from being spent on other roads, except for the 10 miles of feeder roads connecting to the Turnpike.
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That’s how many places folks may be able to purchase full-strength beer and wine in Sedgwick County if the state approves a bill expanding certain types of alcohol sales to grocery stores and other retailers. The county currently has 121 liquor stores and 225 retailers that sell low-alcohol beer and malt beverages. Nearly 200 people packed a hearing in the Capitol last week, including liquor store owners who say the expansion would put them out of business and increase access to alcohol and retailers who say the sales bolster small town grocers in danger of going out of business.
Strip clubs and dancers trended upward last week when a House panel killed a proposal to drastically limit activity inside strip clubs, including moves that would have kept dancers at least six feet away from patrons. The proposal has been tried several times in recent years, but some conservative Republicans were surprised by the bill’s failure this year given the surge of new conservative lawmakers voted into office last fall.
Debate over what to cut and not cut out of Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed budget is likely to get more controversial this week as lawmakers grapple with wide-ranging proposals to rein in spending to accommodate income tax cuts for businesses and individuals approved last year and new tax cuts proposed this year. Meanwhile, House panels will likely further debate proposals to expand alcohol sales and limit what public unions can negotiate with local governments.
For more legislative news, go to www.kansas.com/politics and follow @BrentWistrom on Twitter.