Rep. Jerry Stogsdill.Each legislative session, we provide northeast Johnson County’s elected officials with the chance to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Rep. Jerry Stogsdill submits this week’s update:On Apr. 7, the Legislature completed its “regular” session and adjourned until May 1, when we return for the “veto” session. In theory, the “regular” session should be the time when the Legislature addresses all the major issues and passes all the resulting legislation on to the Governor for him to sign or veto. The “veto” session is, in theory, a time to address the Governor’s concerns and come up with a compromise or to override his vetoes and keep legislation the same as submitted. Unfortunately, thanks to our ultra-conservative Governor and the ultra-conservative leadership in the House and Senate, none of the major issues have been adequately addressed and we are probably in for a long and contentious “veto” session.Issues still on the table include an adequate and equitable school finance formula that will pass muster with the Kansas Supreme Court, a balanced budget, and a tax plan that is comprehensive, fair and includes all segments of the economy. The issues of Medicaid expansion, guns on campus and due process for teachers are also being pursued even though the Governor and the Republican conservatives have fought against these issues from day one.Here is where we are on some critical issues:School Finance: We should have an initial school finance bill to work with when we return on May 1. I have seen a preliminary proposal and, in my opinion, this is strictly a starting point which will require considerable discussion before a bill is finalized that will pass both the House and Senate and the scrutiny of the Kansas Supreme Court. One part I am adamantly opposed to is a section addressing “scholarships,” which is conservative doublespeak for school vouchers. My position is and will remain that public tax dollars need to be directed totally toward the funding of our public schools.Balance Budget and Fair Tax Plan: These issues go hand in hand as a fair, balanced and inclusive tax plan must be designed that will provide the funding necessary to allow us to address the basic needs of the state and to bring us back to a balanced and sustainable budget. Right now we are hundreds of millions of dollars in the hole because of the Governor’s 2012 tax plan which has been a dismal failure. The Governor’s plan which was enthusiastically supported by his conservative loyalists in the Legislature has created a financial disaster for Kansas. It has caused our state’s financial rating to have been downgraded four times, has been a drain on our public schools and universities, has caused damage to our basic infrastructure by the Governor’s raiding of KDOT funds to cover budget shortfalls, has put the KPERS system at risk by withholding the states payments into the system and has created no significant economic development even though the Governor said his plan would be an economic development powerhouse.There are plans in the works to address these problems, but, it will take a substantial number of Republican moderates to work together with the Democrats in order to craft a new budget and tax plan that will have the support necessary to override any veto attempt by the Governor.Healthcare: The Governor and his loyalists in the Legislature have cost the state billions of dollars in federal healthcare assistance by not expanding Medicaid in Kansas. At present, millions of Kansas tax dollars are being sent to Washington and then on to states that HAVE expanded Medicaid. The majority of the House and Senate has had the wisdom to see the benefits of passing Medicaid expansion. The House and Senate passed the Medicaid expansion bill and sent the bill to the Governor for his signature. The Governor had stated previously that he would leave this decision up to the Legislature. The Legislature acted and the Governor immediately broke his promise and vetoed the bill. Twenty-four of 40 Senators and 81 of 125 Representatives voted to override the Governor’s veto which was three votes short in the House and three votes short in the Senate necessary to override the veto. It was a sad day in the Legislature when small minorities in the House and Senate voted conservative politics instead of voting for the health needs of over 150,000 Kansans. This issue is not dead and those of us who are in favor of Medicaid expansion will be working hard to get enough conservatives to change their votes and pass this critical and lifesaving piece of Legislation.What now: Along with the previously mentioned issues we will also be dealing with guns on campus and due process to protect the rights and jobs of our public school teachers. On ALL of these issues we are going to need the help and voices of our constituents to accomplish our goals of balancing the state’s budget, creating a fair, balanced and inclusive tax code, making sure our public schools, colleges and universities are fully funded and able to provide top notch educational opportunities for our children, keeping guns off our campuses and making sure that every Kansan has access to quality healthcare at a reasonable price.In order to accomplish what needs to be done in Topeka we need you to stay informed and to get involved. Write, call, or e-mail the Governor and his legislative loyalists and let them know you want a Kansas that is solvent, that supports education, that taxes its citizens fairly, that encourages economic growth, that is concerned about health care for ALL Kansans and that puts the needs of the people of Kansas over loyalty to a failed conservative political agenda.I am cautiously optimistic that there is a real desire for change in Topeka and that the Republican moderates, who were voted into office based on their “moderate” views and promises, will work with the Democrats to see that sweeping and positive change can occur in Kansas.As always, I encourage suggestions and questions from my constituents on how we can work together to achieve the changes we need to see in Kansas. I am always available by e-mail at [email protected], or at [email protected] I am also available by phone at my office in Topeka at 785-296-7692 or on my cell phone at 913-579-9208. If you are in Topeka and would like to discuss something in person I would be happy to set up an appointment or feel free to drop by my office which is on the fourth floor at 452-South.Thank you for your continued support as, together, we make Kansas a better place to live, learn, play and work.
The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) and the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman will not fall victim to the government’s ‘bonfire of the quangos’. Justice secretary Kenneth Clarke (pictured) told parliament today that the two bodies will remain in place ‘as valued independent bodies, which do much to bring openness to the way candidates are selected for judicial appointments’. He did however criticise the length and cost of the appointments process, saying he will work with the JAC on more detailed proposals for improving the appointments process. Clarke’s decision follows a review of the operation of the judicial appointments process which began at the end of June. The JAC said in a statement: ‘While we are pleased that the important role played by the independent selecting commission in ensuring an independent judiciary has been recognised by the lord chancellor and the lord chief justice, the commission also recognises there will always be scope to improve efficiency and we look forward to working with our partners in the end-to-end process to achieve that.’ Clarke said: ‘It is clear that, at times, the appointments process can take too long and cost too much. The first duty of the commission is to maintain the high quality of judicial appointments, but I believe that the JAC should also focus on delivering efficiency in the selection of judges, working with the judiciary and the unified Courts and Tribunals Service. ‘The recruitment of the new chair of the JAC is underway and, with the lord chief justice, I look forward to working with the commission on more detailed proposals for improving the appointments process, in the first instance within the existing statutory framework. Any subsequent proposals requiring legislation would be brought forward in the usual way.’
That put the championship in the hands of the No. 2 match between UWF’s Paula Coyos and Valdosta’s Anja Coksa, who split the first two sets, 7-6, 4-6. Coyos led 5-2 in the third before Coksa tied it at 5-5. The UWF junior then won the final two games to set off the celebration. BOX SCOREMONTGOMERY, Ala. – The sixth-ranked UWF women’s tennis team won four of six singles matches in three sets to complete one of the most thrilling comebacks in program history and claim the 2017 Gulf South Conference Tournament Championship at the Lagoon Park Tennis Complex Saturday. With UWF trailing 2-1 after doubles play, second-seeded and 10th-ranked Valdosta State won straight-set matches at the Nos. 3 and 4 positions to grab a 4-1 lead an appear ready to end one of the longest winning streaks in league history. But the Argonauts dug deep and made sure the Blazers knew the 5-time defending champs weren’t going down without a fight. Print Friendly Version UWF (23-6) won its record 17th GSC title while extending its win streak over league opponents to 81-consecutive victories. The Argos are currently ranked third in the NCAA South Region and will find out their postseason destination on Tuesday night when the NCAA field of 48 is announced on NCAA.com at 7:00 p.m. Central time. “Anytime you can go into a tight match and pull it out, it gives you the confidence to go the distance against anyone.” 34th-ranked Paula Lopez also outlasted her opponent – 13th-ranked Bea Morales Hernandez – 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 to tie the match at 4-4. Valeria Mantilla fought back from a set down at No. 6 to start the comeback with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 win. She won the final nine games in her match. At. No. 5, Heather Mixon appeared to have her match in hand in the second set but was broken and forced into a third. She ran her dual record to league-best 22-3 with a 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 win to pull the Argos to within 4-3. “Valdosta played really good doubles today,” UWF head coach Derrick Racine said. “We were down in (number) one doubles most of the match but ended up getting into the tiebreak and eventually winning, so that gave us a little more life.”
Vickery annihilates Wimbledon champion Muguruza at Indian WellsIT was a victory heralded around the tennis world. Sachia Vickery came from being down a set and three points to defeat 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the Round-of-64 matches at the Indian Wells, one of the premier tennis tournaments in the World.Muguruza looked on course for an early night on Stadium 1 as she built a 6-2, 3-0 lead and 40-0 on serve in the match, but the American qualifier put up some spirited resistance in front of partisan fans to not only work her way back into the match, but score her first Top-10 victory, in two hours, 12 minutes.“I just tried to fight every point and hang in there. The crowd was so amazing and got behind me, and the atmosphere really helped me even though I was feeling it a little bit physically,” Vickery said on-court after the match.“I think at 3-0, we had a few really long points. I actually got the break, and I was like, ‘Run, put the ball in and do your best’. I’ve just worked so hard for so many years and I’ve been so close … and this is just the most amazing night of my life and I couldn’t be happier.”Vickery hit 26 winners to 30 unforced errors in the match, as she moved into the ascendency with stunning counterpunching over the course of the match.On the Spaniard’s side of the net, Muguruza struck 22 winners – but nearly doubled her total of unforced errors – finishing with 45 overall.Playing against a Top-10 player for just the third time in her career, the win against the World No.3 is the American’s best in terms of ranking by 25 places.Previously, Vickery defeated then-World No.28 Agnieszka Radwanska at the ASB Classic in Auckland to begin 2018.“I started out pretty nervous,” she admitted in the press conference afterwards, further stating, “Obviously, for me, I haven’t played matches on such a big court before. For her, it’s the norm. So in the first set it really took me a while to find the ball and get over those nerves. But then after, in the second set, I let a few go, and, you know, I started to get a lot of confidence and the crowd got behind me.”Vickery went into Indian Wells ranked inside the Top-100 for the first time, squarely at No.100, and reached the third round of a Premier Mandatory event for the first time in her career.Vickery’s upset books her a third-round date with the in-form Naomi Osaka, after the Japanese 20-year-old has scored straight-set victories over both Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwańska to reach the last 32 this week.That matchup seemed the furthest thing from possibility early on in Friday night’s encounter, as the two-time Grand Slam champion largely got the better of extended rallies between the two players to win nine of the first 11 games of the match.Undaunted by her deficit, Vickery began to work her way into points, attacking Muguruza’s forehand side with her own and reaping rewards – landing winner after winner as her comeback effort gained steam.After pulling closer, Vickery finally achieved parity with a break to love in the eighth game of the second set, and took her first lead of the match with a similarly emphatic hold in the next game.Muguruza had a pair of game points to take the second set into a tiebreak as she also saved a trio of set points in another marathon final game, but Vickery would not be denied her fourth and sent the match to a decider with another forehand winner.From 1-1 in the final set, the 22-year-old never looked back, as she claimed the last five games – and 12 of the last 14 points – to score the biggest victory of her career so far.Muguruza insisted she would take a lot from the experience: “I’m going to learn from this match. I’m going to watch it and see what went wrong. I felt I was in control, and it slipped away a little bit from me.”“When players with not a lot of experience play against top players, they are very motivated. They kind of elevate their game. I think (it) was a little bit the case. She was getting a bit more excited, and the key points went her way.“She was getting more into the match and, at the end, had a lot more confidence. Me, maybe making a few mistakes, helped her also to advance a lot, but she earned the match today.”