Bills, bills and more bills
Published on -2/4/2014, 9:05 AM
You have to wonder, sometimes, where these ideas come from that become bills printed up for the Kansas Legislature to consider this election-year session.
That's part of the wonder of the building, seeing ideas, good or bad or just surprising, that show up.
Like the one that gives property owners the first right of refusal of deer antlers seized from illegal hunting on their property.
Or the one that would allow podiatrists, who are, of course, foot doctors, to also treat problems in the ankle. Which is probably a little like farming on some health care professional's property.
Or one that would exempt motorcycles from turnpike tolls.
And, of course, the bill that would prohibit re-ticketing of an illegally parked car more than once each four hours.
If there's one relatively charming thing about the Kansas Legislature, it might be its members come up with ideas for -- or maybe to end a grocery store aisle conversation with a constituent agree to introduce -- some relatively novel legislation.
Now, of course, there are serious bills introduced, lawmakers have to approve a budget and deal with criminal activities and protect the children and the poor and such. But then, there are those bills legislators who are paid $88.66 per day introduce.
But part of the fun of the Legislature -- for those who aren't all fussy about lawmakers just dealing with earth-moving ideas, cutting taxes, paring expenditures and guaranteeing enough rain for the crops -- are those little bills that probably aren't going anywhere but are fun to listen to for a little while.
And remember most folks who don't live in the Statehouse have little reason to know details about the wide range of issues brought to the Statehouse for decision, or at least consideration. Why would a downtown legislator know about agricultural fence law, or a rural legislator have much background about urban-zoning technicalities?
The melting pot of backgrounds and specialties, the regional differences, the level of education -- remember, you don't quiz out for a seat in the Legislature, you just get elected -- probably means on most issues common sense prevails ... as long as it isn't a campaign contribution killer.
Somewhere, in even the bills that sound a little flaky, there's an attempt to accomplish something.
If illegal hunters don't get to keep the deer antlers, maybe they'll make sure they have legal permission to hunt on some farmer's land, or maybe it's not quite right for an illegal parker to get a new ticket based on how fast parking police can circle the block and discover that car still is there.
Still wondering about the toll-free turnpike for motorcyclists, but we're getting an idea of why no one has come up with a bill that would authorize distinctive license plates for members of the Kansas Legislature.
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Topeka, Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report.