Capitol Update: Stogsdill says bill to stagger Senate terms would improve accountability

first_imgEach legislative session, we provide the Shawnee Mission area’s elected officials with the chance to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Rep. Jerry Stogsdill, Rep. Linda Gallagher and Sen. Jim Denning are scheduled to send updates this week. Here’s Rep. Stogsdill’s filing:The first two weeks of the 2018 session of the Kansas House of Representatives has been very slow on the floor of the House with little activity, no bills to discuss or vote on and mostly quick adjournments. This is not particularly unusual as this is the time of the year that the committees are meeting and most of the activity is happening in those committee meetings, in informal discussions between legislators and in discussions with individual constituents and constituent groups. Activity on the floor of the House should pick up this week.Some topics that we will be considering as early as this week include school finance, the school finance formula, political transparency, Medicaid expansion, tax policy, due process for all teachers and public employees, statewide water usage, judicial salaries, prison construction, criminal justice reform, child protection services, infrastructure needs, voter rights and programs aimed at encouraging economic development. As you can see we have plenty to do and I will keep you up to date as issues make their way to the floor of the House. This is definitely going to be an interesting and very important session heading into the statewide elections this fall.I want to bring you up to date on a bill (HCR 5017) that I have submitted aimed at changing the Kansas Constitution. This change to the Constitution would require that half of the Senate be elected to four year terms every TWO years instead of the entire Senate being elected to four year terms every FOUR years. Kansas is one of only nine states that elect all of its Senators to four year terms all at once.In a year when we are looking to address the long overdue issue of political transparency we must combine that with ways to make the legislature more accountable to their constituents. My bill addresses the accountability issue and this change will have a very positive and profound impact on the political process in Topeka.By requiring that half the Senate stand for election every two years it will do three things.Create more accountability. Under this election process the electorate will be able to have a referendum on how the Senate is doing every two years instead of every four. Just like the House if the Senate has not been doing its job the voters have a means of correcting that situation every TWO years.Encourage moderation. Since half the Senate would be up for election every two years those up for election are going to be much more inclined to support the moderate positions favored by most Kansans. That shift toward more moderate views should increase their willingness to work with the House whose members are all up for election by the voters every TWO years.Create continuity. Under the current electoral process the Senate is much more susceptible to be taken over by extremists in a single election. Under the staggered plan it would be much harder for extremists to take over the Senate as only half the seats would be up for election at any one time. This also allows for more continuity in that at least half of the Senate would have experienced members.This plan is getting a lot of discussion in Topeka and the response to this idea has been extremely positive. This bill is currently in the House Elections Committee. If you support this idea or any other idea going through the Legislature I encourage you to let your Representative, your Senator and the leadership in the House and the Senate know your opinion. You can always find information about your Senator, your Representative, those in leadership positions and a wealth of other information about the Legislature at will continue to keep you informed on the myriad of issues we have coming up as they progress through the system. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for me please don’t hesitate to get in touch at [email protected] , on Facebook at Rep. Jerry Stogsdill for Kansas, at 785-296-7692 or at [email protected]last_img read more

Davenport hails Serena’s “powerful message” for sporty mums

first_imgPARIS,  (Reuters) – With only one mother having won Grand Slam titles over the last 38 years, Lindsay Davenport hailed Serena Williams for delivering a “powerful message” that shows it is possible to “pursue personal goals even when you’re a mum”. As the winner of 23 majors, Williams is already considered one of the all-times greats and has very little left to prove in the sport.However, her desire to come back to the Grand Slam arena nine months after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia is grabbing as many, if not more, headlines than those that followed her major triumphs.As one of the few people in the world to have experienced the same spectrum of emotions that goes with being a tennis-playing mother, Davenport hopes Williams’ comeback will encourage more mums to play professional tennis. “I hope players now feel that (coming back to play after having children) is an option. For a long time it didn’t feel like that was an option,” Davenport told Reuters in an interview at one of Roland Garros’s hospitality suites on Friday.“They feel like they’ve got to quit by 29 to be able to have a family. Now it’s wonderful for them to be able to look at (playing on following a maternity break) as a possibility.”Almost a decade ago, Belgian Kim Clijsters and her toddler daughter Jada melted hearts as mother-and-daughter celebrated her 2009 U.S. Open triumph on court together. Clijsters went on to win two more majors but she is the only mother to have claimed any of the four slams since 1980.While Williams did not play any pro-tennis during the first six months of Alexis Olympia’s life and Clijsters took a 17-month break following the birth of Jada, Davenport incredibly came back to the tour three months after giving birth to son Jagger Jonathan through an emergency c-section in June 2007.And she won her comeback tournament. “It was pretty crazy,” Davenport, who had not won a title for two years before her triumph in Bali, said with a laugh.“Looking back now I have no idea how that happened. That’s like the one trophy we have up in our family room because there is a picture of me holding him on the court because it seemed so surreal. I can barely remember it.”GREATEST TIME The memory of the time when she clutched the Bali trophy with her right hand while cradling her baby in her left arm still makes the three-times Grand Slam champion smile.But with Williams highlighting how she suffered life-threatening complications following her daughter’s birth, Davenport realises she herself is among the “lucky few” who felt “so exhilarated and happy after giving birth”.“I healed pretty well after the c-section and I was out hitting tennis balls 2-1/2 weeks later even though you’re not supposed to do that,” said the 41-year-old Davenport, who is an ambassador for the Oct. 21-28 WTA Finals in Singapore.“It was honestly the greatest time of my life.” She also quickly figured out that her focus would never again be 100 percent on tennis. “Once you have a child, your mind is never clear. It’s always worried. I remember playing one match in Bali and I could see the nanny holding him (in a building overlooking the court) and I was like, ‘The sun’s like right there on top of him,’ and I couldn’t get that out of my mind,” she said.“Then I told the nanny that she couldn’t come because if I saw or heard him, my mind went into overdrive. It’s a learning experience because you figure out what works and what doesn’t work.”Following her triumphant comeback, Davenport won three more WTA titles but retired a year later as her body was “breaking down” and it got more challenging travelling with her son as he got more mobile. With hindsight, Davenport wished she had not waited until she was 31 to have her first child. “I remember joking with my husband that we should have had kids when I was 22 and then gone back to play,” said the mother-of-four who now coaches American hope Madison Keys.“Some women stay (with their babies) 24 hours and that’s amazing. But leaving my son for four hours a day, especially a lot of the times when he was napping… to pursue my own goals, I didn’t feel like it made me a worse mum.“Kim really set the tone by having the success that she had. But I think Serena’s message is even more powerful. She is doing a phenomenal job at 36. “Having accomplished as much as she has and still having these goals, she’s showing that you can have these goals while still being a mother. I love the message that she is sending.”last_img read more