Capitol Update: Sen. Sykes details process that resulted in Senate approving proposed Constitutional amendment on abortion

first_imgSen. Dinah Sykes said that “everything about the process was aimed to advance the amendment as quickly as possible avoiding the opportunity for serious consideration.”Each legislative session, we provide Shawnee Mission area legislators the opportunity to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Rep. Jan Kessinger, Rep. Tom Cox and Sen. Dinah Sykes are scheduled to send updates this week. Rep. Sykes’s column is below.Since my election in 2016, I’ve stressed the importance of transparency and making government accessible to constituents. That conviction is why I hold monthly town halls (second Sunday of every month) in both Lenexa and Overland Park. I believe that working together and listening to other opinions generates the best policy solutions. I’m deeply disappointed that some leaders in the legislature do not share that commitment.After the Supreme Court decision last fall ruling that Kansas’ constitution included a right for abortion, there were immediate calls to amend the constitution to explicitly remove that right. Legislators knew this amendment had more support than the proposed amendments from previous years aimed at eliminating court oversight of school finance in Kansas.I think that we should be very careful when making changes to our constitution. Those changes have long term effects and making changes hastily or manipulating the processes is unwise. Those controlling the process to amend the Kansas Constitution today do not mind moving quickly or manipulating the process. My purpose in writing here is not to convince anyone to change their position on abortion. I know many good people who disagree about this issue. My purpose is to hold up a light to the “how” this amendment is being rushed through the legislature with arguments aimed not to discover the will of the people, but to ensure an outcome.The amendment was read into the Senate the first week of session. On the Senate side, the hearings were announced by the chairman of the Judiciary committee. That announcement preceded the referral to the committee. While this parliamentary mistake is minor, the mistake telegraphed the way that leadership had already set the process up to ensure an outcome. In order to further accelerate the process, the House and Senate committees held joint hearings. Everything about the process was aimed to advance the amendment as quickly as possible avoiding the opportunity for serious consideration.On Thursday, January 16th the committee scheduled hearings for the following Tuesday. Because Monday was a national holiday, that meant there was a single day for citizens to offer testimony to committees for consideration. If the aim of the legislature was to consider the will of the people, hearings could have been adjusted in order to allow people to share how they felt about the legislation.Despite this attempt to make it difficult for people to share their opinions, many were able (thanks to people who braved the weather to be in Topeka) to submit testimony. Hearings were quick and designed to do one thing: advance the amendment and supporting ballot language exactly as introduced.When the amendment made it to the floor of the Kansas Senate last week on Wednesday the 29th, committee work was not available to Senators who were about to debate the amendment. Senators who were not on the Judiciary committee did not readily have access to the submitted testimony. When my office reached out to the secretary of the committee, she was unable to help connect us to the location of the testimony. As a legislator, I do my best to read testimony and supporting documents before debate to better understand the background of the matter we will consider on the Senate floor.Two important things became clear in the debate. First, the proponents of this amendment were unwilling to alter it to protect access to abortion in cases of rape, incest, or when necessary to save the life of the mother. If Roe v. Wade is overturned at the federal level, the constitutional amendment empowers future legislatures to craft any restriction on abortion (even for hardship cases). When proponents assured the Senate that there would be no future legislation coming that would implement restrictions in hardship cases, they were making promises they won’t be around to keep.Second, the amendment, should it pass the House, will be on the August ballot. Turnout in August is lower than elections in November. During debate, the rationale for keeping this issue on the August ballot was to protect against “voter fatigue.” No one offered an explanation on how the most politically divisive issue over the last 40 plus years would somehow be overlooked at the end of the ballot. Make no mistake, the move to have the amendment on the August ballot is another attempt to try to use low voter turnout to have a minority of voting Kansans change the constitution.As I said before, my purpose in writing this explanation is not to change your opinion on the proposed amendment. Instead, I’m writing because I have a strong conviction that together we can find the right course forward. The deliberative process can be frustrating; however, when leadership manipulates it in order to achieve goals, we invite the kind of cynicism that feeds polarization.The antidote to this situation is the kind of sunshine that comes in as we make the process fairer and more transparent. We should be cautious when power allows circumventing the process—fear of the outcomes does not justify shortcuts. We must, as a people, demand better of ourselves. Please continue to stay engaged in what is happening in Topeka and keep your legislators accountable. Agreement on issues or policy might not be possible. Agreement about letting the process work is.If you want to watch the proceedings of the House or the Senate, a live video feed is available. Live audio feeds of the House, Senate and committee meetings are available through read more

Refrade UK first job in Norway

first_imgReftrade UK, a company that sells and leases refrigerated containers and temperature controlled units to the offshore energy sector, has been awarded a contract with a major operator in Norway, ahead of this year’s ONS exhibition.Greg Spence, Reftrade UK managing directorThe contract, which is the first that Reftrade UK has secured in Norway, will see the company supply custom-built refrigeration containers, fitted with Carrier Prime-line duel operation equipment, for use on an offshore platform located in the North Sea.The project will coincide with the company’s first visit to the ONS 2014 exhibition and conference in August, with Norway representing a large growth area for Reftrade UKGreg Spence, Reftrade UK managing director said: “This is a significant contract win for Reftrade UK. Securing a contract with a major operator further underpins our reputation for delivering excellent service and high quality refrigeration containers. “We have experienced a significant increase in demand for our products in the North Sea in recent months which is highly encouraging. The Norwegian market is a key focus for the company as we continue to expand and enhance our range of NORSOK-accredited containers to meet customer demand in the region. “Attending ONS 2014 provides the ideal opportunity for us to meet with new and existing clients to discuss their requirements and explore new business opportunities. The team is looking forward to visiting the well-attended Norwegian exhibition for the first time as we further expand our operations in the region.”The 10ft x 8ft, DNV 2.7-1 containers were custom-built for this project and are of the highest specification we have built to date incorporating Safe Area refrigeration equipment with Zone 2 ATEX internal equipment which also interfaces with the platforms control room. Each of the units are fitted with high end safety specifications, which include Atex Zone 2 easy access butcher doors, man trap alarm, overriding lock systems and a protective outer coating, which ensure they meet full NORSOK and ATEX standards.Reftrade UK is currently looking to appoint a new Norwegian agent. When agreed, the new partnership will aid local operations and provide Reftrade UK with a regional presence for projects in the area.Spence continued: “Forming a new partnership with an already established company based in Norway will be highly beneficial for Reftrade UK. It will provide us with the support and connections we require to offer a full, on-the-ground service to our customer base in the area.”At the end of last 2013, Reftrade UK made a significant investment to improve the safety standards of its rental fleet. The investment saw the company take a market-lead at the time as the only rental supplier of 10ft and 20ft rated explosion proof containers in the UK.Reftrade UK can supply, deliver and advise on the manufacture of custom-built, bespoke units to suit client requirements in a range of different temperatures. The explosion proof containers provide cold or freezer storage in a -28oC to +22oC temperature range. The company’s zoned 1 & 2 units are capable of providing cold or freezer storage, in a -20°C to +6 °C temperature range. [mappress]Press Release, August 18, 2014last_img read more

Is Your Home Winter Ready?

first_imgCentral Emergency services has a limited number of chimney brushes that are available for check out to the public. Chimneys should be cleaned a minimum of twice a year. Homeowners should be sure to remove soot and creosote buildup, which can be extremely flammable. For more information contact your local Fire Department or Central Emergency Service station.,Central Emergency services advises you to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Read the back of the alarm for either manufactured date or expiration date. 10 years old? Time for a new one. For more information contact your local Fire Department or Central Emergency Service station. Central Emergency services advises you to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Read the back of the alarm for either manufactured date or expiration date. 10 years old? Time for a new one.center_img FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The comforts of a cozy, warm home in winter can help you forget about the short days and the multiple layers of clothing necessary to brave the cooler months. There’s still a little time to make sure your home is ready for winter. According to CES, you should have one in the bedroom, hallway outside bedrooms, and kitchen area. According to CES, you should have one in the bedroom, hallway outside bedrooms, and kitchen area.last_img read more