On the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, members of the Kansas Congressional delegation offered their thoughts.
Sen. Jerry Moran, who was a member of the House of Representatives at the time, remembered the attacks as he was in Washington, D.C. that morning.
"When American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, I felt a tremor as my office on Capitol Hill shook more than three miles away. In the moments that followed, members of Congress and their staff were evacuated out of fear that the Capitol would be the next target," Moran said.
He also noted traveling to New York weeks after the attack to witness the destruction at Ground Zero where two airliners crashed, and toppled, both towers of the World Trade Center.
"Set up around the site were several long tables where flowers, photos and prayers in tribute to the fallen had been left. One note caught my eye that had been written by a child on spiral notebook paper. It read: Dear Daddy – How much I miss you. I hope heaven is a wonderful place. I hope I live a life good enough to join you there someday – Amanda, age 12,'" Moran said. "One of my own daughters was 12 years old at the time, so Amanda’s words left a lasting impression on me."
Rep. Lynn Jenkins said she remembers what she felt upon hearing the news of the attacks that morning.
“As I reflect on the morning 10 years ago when our nation came under attack, I can still vividly recall the feelings of loss, hurt, fear and anger felt by all Americans as we watched the collapse of the twin towers at the World Trade Center, the smoldering plane in Pennsylvania and the destruction of the West side of the Pentagon," Jenkins said. "Yet, those memories also remind me of the outpouring of patriotism and resolve that our Country shared in the days and weeks after the attacks and how strong this country can be."
Now, the country remembers 10 years ago today and those who died during that day.
"The very heart of America was attacked on that September morning, and now, 10 years later, we stand together as a nation, still with many differences, yet united in our grief for those we have lost and in our solemn gratitude for those who have ensured our safety ever since," Jenkins said.
When buying a home or a condo, one of the most common things to look at is homeowner's insurance.
But, one thing that most Kansans don't think about is earthquake insurance.
With the recent quakes that struck in Colorado and on the East Coast, Kansas Insurance Commission Sandy Praeger said that earthquake insurance should be considered for home buyers.
"Earthquake coverage is not a part of a regular homeowners, renters or condominium insurance policy," Praeger said. "If your company offers it, coverage can be added by including an endorsement to your policy or by purchasing a separate earthquake policy. In either case, you will pay an extra premium."
A little-known fact about Kansas is that there is a fault line that runs though the state. According to the Kansas Geological Survey, the Humboldt Fault Zone — which runs along the eastern edge of the Nemaha Ridge, a buried granite mountain range that extends from Omaha to Oklahoma City — passes near Wamego, east of Manhattan to El Dorado. West of the ridge is the Midcontinent rift, which runs from near Salina to the Great Lakes region and is a zone where the continental crust broke apart and drifted about 50 miles during the Earth's early days.
In addition to the Humboldt Fault Zone, Kansas can also be affected by the New Madrid fault in southeast Missouri.
As for earthquake insurance, Praeger said there are several things to consider when deciding which coverage is best:
• Coverage can protect your dwelling, other structures like a garage and your personal property. It may cover increased costs to meeting current building codes and costs to stabilize the land under your dwelling;
• Coverage does not include damage to your vehicles. That may be covered under your current automobile policy. Check with your local insurance agent or company to verify the vehicle coverage;
• Insuring a dwelling for its appraisal or loan value likely means you will only have enough coverage to repay your lender. You should review your dwelling coverage from time to time to be sure it doesn't drop below the cost to replace your home;
• Questions to ask yourself: How much would it cost to repair or rebuild your home? How much would it cost to replace your household items? How much would it cost to find a temporary place to live because you could not live in your home after an earthquake?
• The deductible for earthquake insurance usually is 10-20 percent of the coverage limit. This is different from a homeowner's policy, which is usually only one flat amount deductible, like $500 or $1,000;
• The time to buy coverage is before an earthquake. Most insurers won't sell any new earthquake insurance for 30 to 60 days after a recent earthquake;
• As with any household coverage, make a household inventory. Go through each room to write down and video everything in the room. Store the inventory in a secure place at another location, such as a safe deposit box. (For a download of Personal Home Inventory, log on to www.ksinsurance.org and click on "Publications.");
• Put your agent's or company's toll-free number into your cell phone directory.
"With other states in the region experiencing earthquake activity, Kansans should be aware of their options in purchasing insurance coverage that protects their property," Praeger said. "Your best source for determining your need and coverage levels is your local insurance agent or agency."
For additional assistance, contact the Kansas Insurance Department's Consumer Assistance Hotline at 800-432-2484.
Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins has announced a listening session in Crawford County on Monday, August 29, 2011.
Jenkins will visit Pittsburg to host a listening session at Memorial Auditorium located at 502 N Pine St. from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
“Each time I return home to Kansas, I enjoy my time traveling around our state talking with folks and listening to their thoughts and concerns about the issues we face as a nation. We have had some great events this August, and I look forward to continuing our tour in Pittsburg on Monday. I hope to see some good crowds in Crawford County to discuss the important debates we have been having in Congress,” Jenkins said in a release.
Since January 2009, Congresswoman Jenkins has held Congress to Kansas events during congressional work periods to keep Kansans informed about what she is doing in Congress.
Throughout this year, Congresswoman Jenkins will continue traveling to communities in Eastern Kansas to hold a series of listening sessions and mobile office hours.
For more information about the latest Congress to Kansas tour, visit Congresswoman Jenkins’ website by clicking here. The website will be updated as Congresswoman Jenkins and her staff finalize the Congress to Kansas schedule.
On a conference call Thursday, Kansas Democratic Party Chair Joan Wagnon called on Republican members of Congress to pledge to vote against the $1 billion tax increase that GOP leaders in Washington want Kansans to pay.
“Today we call on Lynn Jenkins, Tim Huelskamp, Mike Pompeo and Kevin Yoder to stand with 1.6 million working Kansans and pledge to vote against this $1 billion tax increase,” Wagnon said. “We can’t get Republicans to stop coddling the super rich, but they don’t worry one bit about hurting everyday Kansans. Like me, I’m sure most Kansas are left feeling baffled and frustrated.”
Wagnon went on to say ...
At issue is the extension of the payroll tax break President Obama has urged Congress to approve. The 2011 tax break cut Social Security payroll taxes from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for one year. Obama wants to extend that cut for another year.
If Congress does not approve his plan, then the payroll tax rate will return to 6.2 percent in only four months. Nationally, 159 million Americans will pay about $110 billion more in taxes if the Republicans succeed.
In Kansas alone 1.6 million workers will see their paychecks shrink by over a billion dollars, the U.S. Treasury Department reports. The tax break does not change workers’ benefits when they retire.
On Wednesday, over 300 people took part in the final forum posed to discuss Medicaid reform in Kansas.
Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer was joined by cabinet secretaries from Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's administration at the Overland Park Convention Center in Johnson County and talked about details and ideas regarding reform policies in Kansas.
“Once again, I am very impressed with the turnout from the stakeholders," KDHE Secretary Dr. Moser said in a statement. "I appreciate that people have taken time out of their busy schedule to come here and share their ideas for Medicaid reform.”
Discussion groups talked about different ideas and concerns with submitted recommendations.
The purpose of the public forum was to address, what the administration has called "enormous shortfalls in state Medicaid funding." The group has been tasked with developing "affordable, sustainable" programs.
“These meetings are an important step in moving Kansas forward to create a Medicaid system that will serve our state well. I’m pleased with the ideas I’ve heard while participating in the discussions. I’m confident we will design a plan that works for Kansas,” SRS Secretary Siedlecki said.
Kansans have until Friday, Aug. 19 to submit their ideas for Medicaid reform. They may do so at http://kdheks.gov/hcf/medicaid_reform_forum/.
On Friday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the "individual mandate" portion of the federal health care law to be unconstitutional.
Twenty-six states, including Kansas, joined in the lawsuit challenging the provision.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt called the ruling a "victory for Kansas and our 25 partner states."
"We have been united in our view that the law’s individual mandate is an unconstitutional exercise of federal power. For the first time, a federal appeals court has declared that this law requiring Americans to purchase a product or face a penalty exceeds the power granted by the Constitution to our federal government," Schmidt said in a statement. "The Constitution created a federal government of limited, enumerated powers and did not grant to the federal government an unlimited general police power to do whatever it wishes."
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who initiated the lawsuit in Florida, echoed Schmidt's statement.
“Today we have prevailed in preventing Congress from infringing on the individual liberty protected by the U.S. Constitution. The ruling by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upholds our position that the federal health care law exceeds Congress’ power,” Bondi said in a statement.
Even with the ruling, both Bondi and Schmidt said that the court's decision Friday was not final.
“While today’s decision is not the final word on the subject, our victory today makes Supreme Court review of the law almost certain," Schmidt said. "We will continue our strong advocacy for limited constitutional government.”
From the Governor's office:
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced today that he will host an economic summit on the service sector on Wednesday, August 24.
This summit is one of a series of economic summits focused on growing the Kansas economy and creating jobs.
Brownback will be joined by Kansas Department of Labor Secretary Karin Brownlee, Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan, area business leaders and other stakeholders in a strategic discussion on boosting growth in the Kansas service sector. Key topics for discussion will be workforce development and tax policies. Representatives from finance, insurance, healthcare, engineering and other service-related companies will exchange ideas for future growth.
The summit will take place in Black & Veatch’s Ruisch Auditorium from 8:00 a.m. to noon.
On Tuesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a Kansas prisoner who claimed that he was entitled to bring his lawsuit without first paying the ordinary filing fees.
Instead, the Court applied the 1995 federal Prison Litigation Reform Act in a manner that broadly takes into account an inmate’s prior history of filing frivolous lawsuits and refused to exempt the inmate from the filing fee requirement.
“The Court made clear that the federal law means what it says – there is a real limit on the number of times a prisoner may bring frivolous suits that cost the state time and taxpayer’s money to defend and adjudicate,” Schmidt said in a news release. “Today’s ruling should help discourage other frivolous lawsuits by inmates in Kansas prisons and jails.”
The federal law allows prisoners only three chances to bring frivolous lawsuits without first paying the full filing fee. After that, the inmate must pay the fee before filing, which usually has the effect of discouraging the frivolous suit.
Today’s case, Strope v. Cummings, involves an inmate at the El Dorado Correctional Facility who has brought more than 20 lawsuits against the state, seven of which were found to be frivolous on their face and dismissed. The Court ruled that the inmate must pay filing fees before being allowed to proceed with his three pending appeals and any future suits against the state.
Over the past month, nine new counties have joined the effort to help revitalize rural Kansas through the Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZs) student loan forgiveness program.
Cheyenne, Clark, Decatur, Harper, Norton, Sherman, Smith, Stafford and Thomas are now participating in the program, which was proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback and passed by the Legislature earlier this year. The ROZs program is a centerpiece of Brownback’s efforts to provide incentives to move people into rural areas of the state that have seen significant population declines.
These counties join Barber, Graham, Greeley, Hamilton, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kingman, Lane, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Pratt, Rooks, Russell, Scott, Stanton, Trego, Wallace, Wichita and Woodson counties that have already opted in to the program.
“This visionary program gives Norton County another tool to assist with workforce development,” said Scott Sproul, executive director of the Norton City/County Economic Development. “Norton City/County Economic Development identified an aggressive strategy to develop jobs and infrastructure. The ROZs fit within that strategy as a powerful recruitment tool. We have already had several people from Nebraska get information on how to apply for the program, and it also aided in the recruitment of a Texas company that will be relocating to Norton County in the summer of 2012.”
Individuals who move to one of these counties can qualify to have 20 percent of their student loans repaid (up to $3,000 per year for up to five years) by the county and state, if the individuals graduated from an accredited post-secondary institution.
Interest in the ROZs program has substantially increased, with the Department receiving 49 online requests for information about the program from several states including Kansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio and Washington. Department officials have received many more phone calls requesting information. The Department has received 38 applications from Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma.
“The volume of calls and e-mails from interested people and the number of formal applications into the student loan repayment program tell us that the Rural Opportunity Zones are resonating with a lot of people,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George. “We now have more than half of the eligible counties participating in the student loan repayment program. This is a great start to our efforts to recruit people who want to call rural Kansas home.”
The application form for the student loan repayment program is available online on the Department’s website at KansasCommerce.com/
Not long after the ink was dry on a debt deal that postponed the United States potenially defaulting on some of its payments, the U.S. House of Representatives received H.R. 2697, or the Affordable Footwear Act.
If passed, the Affordable Footwear Act (AFA) would eliminate approximately $800 million in duties on a variety of footwear types, including lower-priced children’s, outdoor and performance footwear.
The following statements were released upon the introduction of the legislation:
REP. LYNN JENKINS (R-KAN.): “As we continue to work towards recovery, Congress must strive to relieve the burdensome costs Government puts on consumers, especially consumers in lower and middle income families. That is precisely what this legislation does; it lifts burdensome and punitive tariffs that affect those who can afford it least. I am proud to introduce this legislation in the House, and I am hopeful Congress will move quickly to consider this worthwhile legislation.”
REP. JOE CROWLEY (D-N.Y.): “This bill won’t help Carrie Bradshaw afford more Manolo Blahniks, but it will cut costs for working parents who shop for their children’s footwear at low-cost retailers. The time has come to implement the Affordable Footwear Act and undo an out-dated, regressive tariff system that adds direct costs to U.S. shoe shoppers.”
REP. KEVIN BRADY (R-TEXAS): “Haven’t families paid too much for their shoes long enough? Congress should act soon to lift this outdated and unnecessary tariff which hits children’s shoes especially hard. Every dollar in an American family’s paycheck counts so let’s work together to make footwear more affordable for families.”
REP. EARL BLUMENAUER (D-ORE.): “Every American has a need for footwear, whether for work, school, or recreation,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03). “Yet the current system of tariffs on footwear places a regressive burden on working and low-income families. I am proud that this legislation will reduce the high tariffs on footwear and expand consumer choices, while protecting domestic producers.”