Northeast Johnson County morning roundup

Area Rep. Stephanie Clayton likened the budget bill passed in the House to handing "vodka to an alcoholic."
Area Rep. Stephanie Clayton likened the budget bill passed in the House to handing “vodka to an alcoholic.”

NEJC legislators amply quotable on controversial House budget fix. The Kansas House on Wednesday passed a bill that would (at least come close to) fixing the state’s budget shortfall for the year — but the bill, which takes millions from the state’s transportation fund and forces major cuts elsewhere, had plenty of detractors even among those who voted for it. Among them were NEJC Reps. Melissa Rooker and Stephanie Clayton, who were quoted in Wichita Eagle statehouse reporter Bryan Lowry’s wrap on the vote. Here’s what they had to say:

Rooker, in a joint statement with Salina Rep. Diana Dierks: “The vote today is not a choice. The state has an obligation to pay its bills. … But I will not support any other temporary fixes that enable magical thinking in favor of responsible public policy.”

Clayton: “I vote yes because I cannot bear the fact of Kansas not paying our bills. … This bill is tantamount to handing a bottle of vodka to an alcoholic, and this must stop. Members of the body, it is time for us to go to taxation rehab. Kansas cannot continue on this self-destructive path.”

[House OKs budget fix that falls short of plugging budget hole in Kansas — Wichita Eagle]

Rock Chalk Talk profiles Miege’s Willis. Rock Chalk Talk, the SB Nation site for Kansas Jayhawks athletics, had a profile on three-star quarterback recruit and soon-to-be Bishop Miege grad Ryan Willis. “Mobility is not the name of his game, but he moves around well enough in the pocket, and keeps his eyes downfield to find open targets,” notes the profile. “He throws a good deep ball, and money ball. He will sometimes press the action, and at times, that pays off.” [Kansas Jayhawks Recruiting Profile: Ryan Willis — Rock Chalk Talk]

Seat belt story features Roeland Park officer. Kansas has the lowest fine in the country for failure to wear a seat belt in a car. A bill in the Kansas Legislature would raise that fine from $10 to $60. A television report on the initiative featured Roeland Park police and their experience with seat belt violations. [Kansas lawmakers work to increase fine for seat belt violation – Fox 4]

Legislative forum scheduled next week. Rep. Jarrod Ousley will join Sen. Pat Pettey at a forum to discuss the Kansas Legislature at Merriam City Hall on Feb. 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The forum is sponsored by the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.

Merriam planning for public art. The City of Merriam is planning to put up a piece of public art near the intersection of Johnson Drive and Merriam Drive. A call for artists who might be commissioned for the piece has gone out. The placemaking is designed to make the entrance to the downtown more memorable. [Merriam plans on using public art to help define a sense of place – Kansas City Star]