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Movement on judges, not liquor sales

I would like to thank everyone that contacted me during the session this year. The input from the 120th District constituents is very important to me. There are many issues that I receive both sides of a concern, but it helps me get a feel for how northwest Kansas wants to be represented.

I have answered each email received -- if the email is from our district and is not a form letter. I try to answer the day I receive the contact.

Receiving hundreds of emails that are form letters from a lobbying group really does no good, as every legislator I know simply deletes them. The other email concern is when a response is forwarded to a lobbyist group.

A few updates on some of the major areas that I received contacts:

Judiciary: The governor signed into law a bill granting Kansas governors greater influence over selection of judges to serve on the Kansas Court of Appeals. The federal model will enable governors to nominate judges for vacancies, pending confirmation by the state Senate.

The governor advocated for a move away from a nominating commission he felt gave too much influence to lawyers.

The Senate approved a state constitutional amendment that would apply the same process to the Kansas Supreme Court. The House did not vote on the measure. It could be considered in the 2014 session in time to place the issue on ballots next year.

KPERS: The House, but not the Senate, advanced a bill that would authorize sale of $1.5 billion in bonds with money invested in the pension system to cover the anticipated $9 billion shortfall between KPERS promised members and what is projected to generate in revenue over the next 20 years.

Liquor: All the talk did not produce a bill again this session. The session began with a huge push from large grocery and retail shopping interests to alter Kansas law blocking them from selling wine and liquor. Under current state law, those beverages are the domain of individual retail liquor stores.

During the next two weeks I will highlight education, gun laws and other legislation of interest.

Ward Cassidy, R-St. Francis, represents the 120th District in the Kansas House of Representatives. ward.cassidy@house.ks.gov