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Third coal plant bill on its way to Kansas governor

The Kansas House, like the Senate before it, has passed the most recent attempt to overrule the rejection of two western Kansas coal plants.

The vote was 76-48. Should those votes hold in the face of another veto, it won't be enough. A two-thirds majority is required.

The coal plant legislation (the third major effort to authorize the plants) was inserted into a comprehensive economic development package. Called the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, the bill also contains 1) language allowing the state to back some bonds related to the Gardner Intermodal project, 2) a provision allowing companies planning major expansions to use 2 percent of their employee's payroll withholding tax to finance said expansions, 3) incentives to help Topeka lure a wind turbine manufcaturer and 4) a tax refund for telecommunications companies.

Opponents to the coal plant project (rejected last year by a state regulator) said it wasn't fair to lump the controversial project in with several that they supported. But supporters of Sunflower Electric Power Corp.'s project said reliable, affordable energy for western Kansas is consumers and businesses is clear economic development.

Today should be the final day of the session (have we heard this before?), and it's likely the last attempt to get the coal plants authorized.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is widely expected to veto the bill, setting up a final effort to override her veto on May 29, the day known as Sine Die. Sine Die is the ceremonial end to the session, and usually sparsely attended by lawmakers.

The Senate, by the way, appears to have support for an override, should every 'yes' vote show up on Sine Die.

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