The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 21, 1998 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 21, 1998
Page 4
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Afl THURSDAY. MAY 21, 1998 GREAT PLAINS THE SAUNA JOURNAL T LEGISLATURE EPA may take over state's lead poisoning program MAURE WEIGH Auto - Home Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron the Salina Journal Legislature fails to pass bill to extend project on education, licensing By SARAH KESSINGER Harris News Service TOPEKA — A bill to educate about child lead poisoning passed quietly through the legislative process this spring without a hitch. That is, until the session's final days. Some say it was politics that potentially bungled a much-needed state program. Others say it was unnecessary legislation in the first place. The result is the state's health department is scrambling to put together another program before it loses thousands in federal funds. Concerns stem from the fact that Kansas ranks 17th in the nation in percentage of housing built before 1950. Most of those homes have lead paint, some of which is chipping and leaving dust as a danger to children living there. s About 1,171 cases of lead poison- iiig in children under age 6 were reported in Kansas in 1996. But officials believe that number is low because few children are tested fofthe chemical, which can cause bjain damage if ingested. •The lead poisoning legislation would have expanded state efforts t&-~ educate people about lead in plaint and soil and encourage testing. It also would have set up licensing for businesses and public agencies working in lead paint re- m£>val. :; l "We're just disappointed that for certain reasons — political reasons — they couldn't look past it for the health and well-being of children," said Cindy Singer, di- rettor of LeadBusters, a Lenexa- tiased group that promotes lead ajvareness. .- The federal Environmental Protection Agency requires the pro- gjram and will run it if a state won't. - The issue, said state health offi- ci£ls, was who would administer the program. The state created a "We're just disappointed that for certain reasons — political reasons — they couldn't look past it for the health and well- being of children." Cindy Singer director of LeadBusters limited version of the program two years ago and wanted to continue and expand it with new federal funding in the fall. The bill was necessary to create the federally mandated licensing. Rep. Carlos Mayans, R-Wichita, chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, said this week that the bill didn't receive adequate scrutiny because it came to his committee from the Senate late in the session. The bill actually arrived in Mayans' committee in midses- sion, according to House documents, and hearings were conducted. After passing the committee, the bill sat on the House calendar until the end of the regular session with no action. Rep. David Adkins, R-Leawood, picked up the cause as his "little veto session project." "It's stupid to abdicate our policymaking authority to the federal government," Adkins said. "It was really a no-brainer." So what happened? "That's a good question," he said. "I would hope personalities wouldn't have anything to do with it." But Mayans, a conservative, has tussled with Adkins, a moderate, in the past on social and health issues. "This is not about education, it's about licensing people," Mayans said. But a major part of the bill was to provide more comprehensive education efforts, said Barry Brooks, head of the state's lead poisoning program. House Majority Leader Robin Jennison, R-Healy, said Mayans told him the bill wasn't necessary. After the House health committee passed it, Mayans went to Jennison and told him it wasn't a high priority. "No one said anything else," Jennison said. "I was really surprised when it came up in the veto session." Jennison said he didn't want to bring up another controversial topic in the veto session. It will be hard for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to come up with its own program, Adkins said, because legislative authorization is needed to create a licensing program. Health department spokesman Don Brown said the EPA needs to know the state's plan by June 1. If the federal agency must step in and run the program, he said, it will focus mainly on the licensing. "Either way it's going to happen," Brown said. "We'd prefer local control. We obviously want education and advocacy instead of just licensing and fining, which is what the EPA would do. They'll do the minimum." T;CAMPAIGN '98: KANSAS HOUSE Potential speaker faces fight for seat Hog issue could make Jennison battle for re-election to House By TIM UNRUH Tlie Garden City Telegram HEALY — Robin Jennison was planting corn Monday on his family's farm, but his thoughts were in Topeka and two upcoming elections. The House of Representatives majority leader must win re-election to his fifth term in the 117th District, expecting opposition and preparing to campaign after the past legislative session was dominated by hog debates and bills. If re-elected, the 44-year-old plans to run for speaker of the House. He's declared his candidacy for speaker but has yet to file for re-election. The deadline is June 10. Jennison said he's prepared to put in the work for both goals. While he organizes for the campaign, he's also making contacts for the speaker position. "I'm running for the Legislature Rcnic Buffet j^njoy Barbecue, Beef Brisket, Fried Chicken, Rotisserie Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Watermelon and more! Our Buffet has everything you could want in a fine American picnic... except the ants! Only 235 IS. 9th, Salina (Central Mall) and running for speaker. There are a few people I need to talk to," he said. "I've got to work hard right now. I don't think it's going to be a cake walk." Jennison may have to win back some voters whose loyalty was scarred by the great hog debate during the spring of '98. But he feels good about his chances. "It would be tough for anybody to find anything to beat me up too bad," he said. While the Healy farmer-stockman has never wavered on his position, supporting corporate hog farming legislation in his initial campaign, his district was engulfed in the controversy. The 117th includes all of Lane, Ness and Hodgeman counties and parts of Finney and Rush counties. "It's going to cause me some problems. There's a lot of emotion with that issue," Jennison said. "I told them I was hearing what they were saying and that I would be personally involved." Jennison maintained his support for the swine industry despite threats that he would be voted out of office. CARROL HAMILTON Roofing Company Since 1962 Free Estimates, All Work Guaranteed If.800.864-4637 • 785-452-9224 Now Available... Glucosamine Sulfate The supplemental glucosamine your joints need. Glucosamine Sulfate from PhytoPharmica is the ultimate glucosamine supplement. It's 98 percent absorbable, so more glucosamine gets to your joint structures. B&K PRESCRIPTION SHOP People Helping People 601 E. Iron • Salina • 785-827-4455 ALDI LOW PRICES Everyday! PREMIUM BACON sliced, 16 oz. 99* GRADE A LARGE EGGS dozen HUNT'S* OPEN RANGE BARBECUE SAUCE 18 oz. 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