Wednesday, October 27, 2010


The general election is less than a week away. You've heard and read the ads, debates, news reports, pamphlets and speeches. The most important opinion is still to come... YOURS! The only way you can make that opinion heard is by voting.

The Secretary of State has a great site with information on how/where/when to vote at:
The site includes information on the voting process, accessibility, the complaint process and contact information if you have other questions or comments. Among the helpful links on this site are:


(Do a search to find out where you vote)


Don't forget that we're also voting on two State Constitutional Amendments this election. The Secretary of State provides links to the proposed amendments here:

Proposed Amendments to the Kansas State Constitution

Article contact: Bill Sowers
(Check out recent additions to our collection)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Prison Beds in Kansas

On October 9th, The Kansas City Star reported that Kansas had run out of beds for male prisoners. The Kansas Sentencing Commission (KSC) and the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) have been studying this trend and making projections for some years. KDOC Secretary Roger Werholtz is asking the Kansas Legislature for extra funding for more beds, parolee programming and alternative placements. This issue is likely to be addressed this next year.

Letter from the Chairman of the Kansas Sentencing Commission regarding the current state of available beds and inmate reduction

Report of the Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight to the 2010 Kansas Legislature

Monthly Offender Population Report from the Department of Corrections

Statistical Summary- FY 2009 Community Corrections Offender Population

Article contact: Kim Harp

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court

"The Supreme Court enjoys all but free rein in selecting which cases to review. From the end of one term in the summer until the start of the next, on the first Monday in October, the work of the court is to sift through thousands of petitions from parties…” (New York Times)

Each year in early October the Nation, if not the world, turns its attention to nine men and women meeting in a stately building on East Capitol Street in Washington D.C. The first Monday in October is designated by U.S. Statute as the opening of a new term of the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, and there is often great interest in knowing what cases the Court has chosen to hear and the eventual outcome of the court's decisions.

This year especially interest in the proceedings of the Court has increased in Kansas due to a case involving the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. Local media have focused on the arguments of both parties and Kansans have read and listened to explanations of how cases are presented to the Supreme Court and decided by the Court.

Below are some links with further information on the U.S. Supreme Court, its duties, history, members and actions. Also included are links to some media information on the case called "Albert Snyder, Petitioner v. Fred W. Phelps, Sr. et al."

About the Supreme Court

Court Procedure

Supreme Court Firsts and Other Trivia

Associate Justice Elena Kagan’s investiture

“No candid cameras in the Supreme Court”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram October 5, 2010

Has The Supreme Court Limited Americans' Access To Courts?
( Hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 111th Congress, First Session, December 2, 2009)

A Bill To Permit The Televising Of Supreme Court Proceedings
(hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 110th Congress, Second Session, September 8, 2008)

As the court begins its 2010 term, a case with Kansas connections has received national and world notice

Albert Snyder, Petitioner v. Fred W. Phelps, Sr. et al

“Snyder v. Phelps a ‘big’ case”
Topeka Capital Journal October 3, 2010

“High court struggles with funeral protest case” Wichita Eagle October 6, 2010

“U.S. court considers anti-gay protests at funerals”
Toronto Sun October 6, 2010

Article contact: Cindy Roupe (Resources); Bill Sowers (Text)
(Check out recent additions to our collection)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Water, water everywhere...

Living in a plains state makes Kansans unique in their uncanny sense of the weather and of water resources. Kansas has its watersheds, 14 reservoirs, and 12 river basins that help to keep metropolitan areas in drinking water and farm fields irrigated. The Kansas Water Office and Kansas Water Authority are charged with maintaining and preserving and preparing Kansas waterways. The Water Office coordinates the Kansas water planning process in concert with the Kansas Water Authority which advises the Kansas Legislature and the Governor in policy-making. This week, the Legislature meets in interim committee meetings regarding the water planning process. They will be looking at water supply and conservation issues, including the nature of the supply, where and whom it serves, and what it will look like in 10-20 years. Learn more about your Kansas government's plan for our water resources.

Kansas Water Office home page:

Kansas Water Authority and its members:

2009 Kansas Water Plan:

2010 Water Plan Status:

2010 Annual Report to the Governor and the Legislature:

More reports and publications by the Kansas Water Office:

Kansas Department of Agriculture- Division of Water Resources:

Kansas Geological Survey- Water Resources:

Kansas State Conservation Commission (SCC):

Article contact: Kim Harp