Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Developmental Disabilities Services

The Kansas Neurological Institute (KNI), Parsons Sate Hospital and Training Center and local community developmental disability organizations (CDDOs) have been in the news a lot since October.

A Commission, originally established by Governor Sebelius, submitted recommendations to Governor Parkinson in October regarding social and educational services in Kansas. The Commission's recommendations included services to developmentally disabled Kansans provided by KNI, Parsons and the local CDDOs. Governor Parkinson's response to the Commission's recommendations about KNI and Parsons State Hospital were summarized in a January 26 statement and laid out in Executive Order 10-01.

Below are information resources about the developmentally disabled, KNI, Parsons, the local CDDOs and the workings of government in deciding how to maintain social services in changing tough economic times. Also included are a few news stories covering what happened between October and January. We hope this will shed light on this still unfolding story.


What are developmental disabilities?
"Developmental disabilities are severe, life-long disabilities attributable to mental and/or physical impairments which manifest themselves before the age of 22 years and are likely to continue indefinitely. They result in substantial limitations in three or more of the following areas:

•comprehension and language
•skills (receptive and expressive language)
•capacity for independent living
•economic self-sufficiency
•ability to function independently without coordinated services (continuous need for individually planned and coordinated services).

"Persons with developmental disabilities use individually planned and coordinated services and supports of their choosing (e.g., housing, employment, education, civil and human rights protection, health care) to live in and to participate in activities in the community."
(Definition provided by U.S. Administration on Developmental Disabilities)

Governor Parkinson's Statement on Recommendations of the Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission

01.26.2010 - Executive Order 10-01 KNI and Parsons

Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission Information
("The Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission was created with Executive Order 09-01. The Commission’s charge was to “study and evaluate the closure and/or realignment of state facilities, and alternative uses of such facilities, including but not limited to: 1.Kansas School for the Deaf; 2.Kansas School for the Blind; 3.Beloit Juvenile Correctional Facility; 4.State Developmental Disability Hospitals; and 5.Rainbow Mental Health Facility")

Kansas Neurological Institute (KNI) website
Service Areas

Parsons State Hospital and Training Center website

Community Developmental Disability Organizations in Kansas
(Information on community service providers in Kansas provided by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services)


"Panel Recommends Closing Kansas Neurological Institute, Downsizing Parsons State Hospital"
(October 26, 2009 - Lawrence Journal World)

"State Looks to Streamline Departments"
(December 17, 2009 - "Wichita Eagle")

"Governor Rejects Recommendation to Close Kansas Neurological Institute"
(January 26, 2010 - "Lawrence Journal World")

"Kansas Neurological Institute Will Stay Open"
(January 26, 2010 - WIBW TV News)

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Legislation in the news- K2

The Kansas State Legislature has introduced two bills to address a concern regarding K2, a synthetic cannabinoid that is marketed as incense which when smoked, produces a marijuana-like high. House Bill 2411 and Senate Bill 348 would each add K2 to the controlled substances list. Three chemicals in K2 contribute to its effect on the user: JWH-018 and JWH-073 and HU-210.

You can find the full text of these bills at by clicking on "full text of bills" and entering the bill number.

You can find the status of these bills by going to, click on "bills" from the menu at the upper left, then click on "single bill tracking." There you can enter the bill number and you will be given a list of all the actions taken on the bill.

The Kansas Statute that lists the controlled substances is KSA 65-4105 and may also be found on House Bill 2411 and Senate Bill 348 would add K2, also named "Spice," to this list.

News coverage of the legislation:

In the University Daily Kansan:

In the Kansas City Star:

In the Lawrence Journal-World:

Topeka Capital-Journal:

More information on K2:

Report of the Kansas Health Institute:

Annual Report of the Drug Enforcement Administration- Office of Diversion Control:

Reports from this office regarding the individual chemicals within K2:

Report by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration:

Report by the National Institutes of Health regarding possible medical uses for cannabinoids

Article contact: Kim Harp

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Over the next several months Kansas state government officials will work out a system of financial support for continuation of government services in our state striving to find a balance between government expenditures and the appropriation of funds to cover those expenditures. Most of the money collected by the state will come via taxes.

So where do your taxes come from and where do they go? The links below offer some general resources in gaining a basic understanding of the state system of taxation in Kansas:

Governor's 2011 Budget Report Overview
(A good review of state expenditures. Check out the pie chart graphics at the end of the document showing where state dollars come from and how they are spent).

Kansas Department of Revenue
Divided into three sections:
1)--Your Personal Taxes
2)--Your Vehicle Taxes
3)--Your Business Taxes.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Property Tax in Kansas
(A good handbook on how property tax is figured out. FYI... Less than 1% of state funds come from property tax. These funds are used primarily by local government units).

Property Valuation: Statistics--Value, Tax and Levy
(Links to information and statistics on property valuation, mill levies, school district values, etc. with historic data)

County Tax Statistics
(Click on a county on the map for local statistics on taxing districts, property types/classes, per capita tax, taxable values, etc.)

38 County Government Websites
(Links provided by the Kansas Department of Revenue to official county websites. Some of these websites offer more information on tax collection and statistics.)

Frequently Asked Questions on Sales Tax
(Includes a document on the current sales tax rates of municipalities, counties and other local government areas in Kansas. Find out what the sales tax rate is in your community here.)

Kansas Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations (KACIR)
("[The Council] engages in a continuous study of the services provided by the various levels of government within the state. By monitoring a wide range of governmental relations, the Council helps to promote cooperation and efficiency within government; thereby helping the leaders in Kansas work together more efficiently.")
Some online KACIR reports:
Erosion of the Property Tax Base in Kansas
Erosion of the Kansas Sales Tax Base
Local Debt Affordability in Kansas
Policy Evaluation Guide
Recommendations from KACIR (01/2010)
County Consolidation Study
Condensed Guide to Consolidation
Executive Summary Consolidation Guide

Check Out Material in Our ATLAS Online Catalog:
Property Tax--Kansas
Sales Tax--Kansas

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Legislators Are Coming Back

On January 11 the 2010 Legislature will return to Topeka to represent you in the Kansas House of Representatives and Kansas State Senate. On Monday, as required by the Kansas Constitution, Governor Mark Parkinson will present his State of the State speech in which he will lay out his goals for the state and the current status of state functions to the legislature. Check your local listings to see when the Governor's State of the State address will be televised.

Previous Governors' State of the State addresses and other messages can be found online at:

Section of the Kansas Constitution requiring the Governor to deliver a message to the legislature:

Interesting facts:

*The State of the State address has been given 128 times.
*The first message delivered in person, Governor Carney, 1863.
*First radio broadcast of the message was Governor Woodring, 1931:
*From the House Journal, March 30, 1861, pg. 43: "Resolved, That the Secretary of State be directed to have 2,500 copies of the Governor's Message printed for the use of this House, 500 of which to be in the German language."

The following are recommendations to communicate with your elected officials
Find your legislators' contact information at:

Find out who your state legislators are by entering your address at:

Click on either House or Sentate and then on the roster in the middle. Select the name of your legislator; this will bring up a picture and the contact information for your legislator
OR you can call the Legislative Hotline, a service of the State Library, to leave a message for your legislator at 1-800-432-3924.

Talk to your legislators about what concerns you:
1. When emailing or writing a letter to your legislator address him or her as Honorable Representative or Honorable Senator
2. Be sure to include how your concern affects people in your area
3. Offer background information to support your argument
4. Offer to testify to your argument

Find out more about your legislators:
Histories of elected officials:
Legislators Past and Present:

Article contact: Kim Harp