The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on March 28, 1998 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, March 28, 1998
Page 21
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THE SALINA JOURNAL GREAT PLAINS SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 1998 03 T LEGISLATURE Graves satisfied with legislative session Governor declines to be drawn into debate over state Spending with GOP chairman by LEW FERGUSON The Associated Press TOPEKA — Gov. Bill Graves pronounced ;himself highly satisfied with the way legislation he wants is progressing as the 1998 ;session winds down, and refused Friday to •be drawn into squabbling within his own ."Republican Party over his performance. : Graves told reporters during his weekly ;news conference that he could not think of a ;single issue of importance to him that isn't •moving along satisfactorily. •' "If we go back and look at the State of the ."State message, and everything that we were 'trying to get accomplished this session, ;we're feeling pretty good about," Graves said. - "And it's being accomplished in a lot less adversarial kind of climate." He cited as an example the cooperation exhibited by the two tax committee chairpersons, Sen. Audrey Langworthy and Rep. Phill Kline, in developing a tax relief pack- "Everything that we were trying to get accomplished this session, we're feeling pretty good about. And it's being accomplished in a lot less adversarial kind of climate." age that all can accept. He said the compromise package being worked out just about mirrors the components he put in his proposed package last January, with only the amount differing. Graves proposed $178 million in tax relief and the package likely will be about $190 million. A week ago, Republican Chairman David Miller sent a letter to Kline of the House Taxation Committee that was critical of state spending during Graves' term as governor and the fact not as much tax relief is being discussed as Miller would like. Graves said he wasn't getting into that fray. "I would simply say that we're in the last Gov. Bill Graves weeks of the legislative session, and there is a lot going on," Graves said. "It's probably a wonderful political story for you, but it just isn't something I'm interested in. This isn't the time and this isn't the place." He said the barb-trading Thursday between Miller and former GOP Chairman Fred Logan will have no disruptive effect on the conclusion of the session late next month. Graves even expressed optimism that agreement will be reached between antiabortion and abortion rights advocates on a bill to ban the so-called partial-birth abortion procedure. He said behind the scenes dialogue is going on to work out a compromise, and he be- lieves people will be surprised at the end of this session when an agreement is presented, just as they were surprised last session by the llth-hour settlement on the Women's Right to Know legislation. The closest Graves came to expressing a concern was on a bill passed by the House to replace the state Board of Tax Appeals with a new "Tax Appeals Commission," which has not been embraced by Chairwoman Audrey Langworthy of the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee. "We need to continue to move forward with those reforms," Graves told reporters. "I'm hopeful (Langworthy) will kick something out in the Senate so we get something to vote on ... to create a new appeals process." He said he doubts the Senate will get around to passing the plan for overhauling the governance of higher education in Kansas this year, but commended the House for producing the plan. "The whole process has been very beneficial in that it has raised the awareness of a whole lot of Kansans who hadn't thought about it," the governor said. "I don't think the Senate has the time and inclination to get behind the governance piece." "A GREAT ACTION ADVENTURE WITH AONCE IN A LIFETIME CAST 1 DICKINSON CENTRAL MALL 8 MS9S. 9TH STREET 025-9/05 CHECK DIRECTORIES. | OR CALL THEATRE FORSHOWTIMES V LEGISLATURE Senate resolves dental '. Measure allows dental -assistants to clean •-.teeth above gum line ( By The Associated Press ', TOPEKA — The great dental , dispute may have been resolved. , The Senate overwhelmingly ap- , proved a bill Friday that resulted ^ from negotiations between den" fists and dental hygienists, com.'.. batants in a debate over the work ,, of dental assistants. A key provision gives the state Dental Board the power to decide what procedures dental assistants can perform and the authority to issue regulations to put its deci- " sions into effect. The change could •«keep the Legislature from becom- ., itig involved in the future. v- i 'The bill would allow assistants •'.to''clean teeth above the gum line - under the supervision of a dentist. But it requires the State Board of Education, which oversees community colleges, and the Board of Regents, which oversees universities, to report on their efforts to train more hygienists. .'; JThe Senate vote on the bill was 38-2. It was working with a House bill, but the compromise it approved included extensive amendments, so House members will ' have to review them. "I wonder how many times you ! • 'all have had a dental appointment • and you all thought, Til be glad vwhen this is over,' " said Sen. '•Janice Hardenburger, R-Haddam, "who explained the bill to her col- ' leagues. "I feel the same way /"about this issue." Senate bill expands board "•••'The Senate's version of the bill ' also expands the Dental Board from five members to nine. Instead of having three dentists, a , hygienist and a member of the general public, the board would , have six dentists, two hygienists and a public member. ; 'The dispute began because of a ••'legal opinion from Attorney Gen.- eral Carla Stovall, who said state law did not allow dental assistants 'to' clean teeth. Some dentists al' lo'wed their assistants to do so, es- 1 • pecially in rural areas, claiming a shortage of hygienists. ' But hygienists worried that changing the law would encour- " age dentists to save money by hir- irig assistants. Hygienists are li- ''eetised by the state and make • more money than assistants, who are not. The House passed a bill to allow assistants to clean teeth, but it created another category of employee, an assistant with extra train- Jing. The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee formed a subcommittee, then had it monitor negotiations between dentists and hygienists. T LIVESTOCK JUDGING Cheyenne County team places 2nd in national judging event Scotland may be next stop for young livestock judging team By DAN ENGLAND The Salina Journal ST. FRANCIS — Nikki Krien knew absolutely nothing about cattle when she judged her first livestock show. Actually, that's not true. She knew one thing. "I knew they were supposed to have four legs and a heartbeat," Krien quipped. But cut Krien some slack. She was only 7 at the time. Now Krien, 18, a freshman at Colby Community College, and her three Cheyenne County judging teammates know a little bit more about livestock — at least enough to place second in the most elite livestock show in the nation. With that second-place finish — the team lost by only one point to an all-state team from Illinois —'the Cheyenne County 4-H Livestock Judging Team hopes to raise enough money to travel to Scotland as one of two teams to represent the United States in the Royal Highland Show. Coach Lyn Wiley couldn't be more proud of his team. The other three members practice judging for at least 20 hours a week. They are: Megan Douthit, 18, a Donations to help the Cheyenne County 4-H' Judging Team go to Scotland may be sent to: Cheynne County , ExtensiorfOfflce 212 E. Washington St. Francis, KS 67756 freshman at Colby; Jessica Dunn, 17, a senior at St. Francis Community High School; and Lyn's son, Dustin, 14, a freshman at St. Francis High. Judging requires the students to pick out the best animal in each category and justify their selections in oral arguments to judges. The kids have traveled all over the country to go to contests, and have practiced their' talents by going to different livestock operations in the St. Francis area and picking out animals, Wiley said. "The biggest thing is these kids can see there is a future for them," Wiley said. "Anyone can go down there and judge, but these kids work hard. Most of the kids look at it as a way to get out of school for a day." The judges may not agree with the animal you picked as the best in its class, Wiley said, and that's why he teaches his pupils to justify their choices — what is referred to in judging as "reasoning." "If you justify what you did and tell exactly why you think that animal is the best, you will do very well," Wiley said. "You'll always do better than someone who just got lucky and picked the animal that the judge thought was the best one." Two of the students, Krien and Douthit, are on full-ride judging scholarships at Colby and practice or perform for at least 35 hours a week. Dunn plans to go to Colby on a full ride as well, Wiley said. For now, the quartet wants to work with livestock as a career. Judging is a tradition in Douthitls family. Her siblings got her into it when she was 13, and her family runs a cattle operation in St. Francis. She remembers the first time she started to get the hang of judging. She was a sophomore, and something clicked, and all of a sudden, she could see the difference between a good animal and a great one. In a year when she failed to qualify for the state tournament, she placed 10th in a national tournament. "I was really excited, I ran up to my sister and said 'I can see it!'," Douthit said. "It just hit me like a load of bricks. I don't know what made me see it, but I could see it." T LEGISLATURE Democrats: State should use budget surplus to pay off debts By CAROL CRUPPER Harris News Service TOPEKA — With a robust economy and the state coffers full of unexpected revenue, much of the legislative focus has been oh tax cuts. But some think Kansas ought to use part of its surplus money to pay off its debts. "When economic times are good, the responsible thing to do is pay your debts," said Rep. Dennis McKinney, D-Greensburg. He said that's good practice for an individual and sound policy for the state. Although he concedes it might not be the politically expedient thing to do in an election year, the southwest Kansas lawmaker is leading the charge. This week, he succeeded in attaching an amendment to a bill regarding state budget surpluses. The amended bill would establish a debt reduction fund in the state treasury, and require that whenever there is surplus of more than $50 million in revenue, all but $25 million of that surplus be placed in the debt reduction fund. The fund would be used to retire bonded indebtedness. Asked about the bill Friday, Gov. Bill Graves questioned the sincerity of the Legislature on the issue. He said if lawmakers had felt strongly about the debt, they wouldn't have been so aggressive with tax cuts. Indeed, McKinney isn't optimistic about the measure's fate in the Senate. "It's hard to sell," he said. The governor's budget report notes a total bonded indebtedness of $1.26 billion. That represents debts from general government, human resources, education, public safety, agriculture and natural resources, and transportation. Most — about $836 million — is in highway bonds. By policy, the state may incur debt, primarily through the is- suance of revenue bonds, only to finance capital improvements, equipment and certain grant programs. It is never used for operating expenses. There's a time to have debt, and a time to pay it off, McKinney said. Paying off some of the bonds, he said, would keep taxpayers from paying millions of dollars in interest. House Democrats have promoted debt reduction since the beginning of the session. "This is simply the right thing to do," said House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita. "The first thing most families or businesses would do with an unexpected windfall is pay their bills. The state should do the same." Thinking Flowers? 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