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Fate of Kansas fossil bill uncertain

3/19/2014

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

TOPEKA -- It's the ultimate whodunit. But this one isn't about who's dead.

Instead, it's about who pulled a legislative measure Tuesday recognizing two long dead species as the state fossils from the Senate's consent calendar.

"I am trying to find out," Rep. Don Hineman said of his efforts to determine why a measure he carried through the House has run into a roadblock in the Senate.

Hineman, R-Dighton, said he's been trying to reach Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell, leaving a message on both his phone and his desk.

"I don't know who done it, or what the deal is," Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer said of the bill being unceremoniously being jerked off the Senate consent calender. "You know, people play games this time of year."

While he's not sure he'll even be able to find out who is behind the move, he remains optimistic the bill still will be passed.

"We'll have to run it through the full committee of the whole and have the debate and have one or two guys gripe about it and then move on," he said.

It's a stark contrast from what it was just a week ago.

The bill designating both the Tylosaurus and the Pteranodon as the state's fossils sailed through Ostmeyer's Federal and State Affairs Committee last week and it almost immediately was put on the consent calendar for the entire Senate to approve.

The consent calendar typically means something lacks any controversy and is quickly passed.

"I assume we'll be all right," Ostmeyer said of the bill passing the Senate and being sent to Gov. Sam Brownback's desk for his signature.

"I've also called the lieutenant governor's office," Hineman said.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer's daughter testified last week in favor of the bill.

Had things gone normally, the bill should have received the Senate's blessing Friday -- three days after it was added to the calendar.

But the Senate met only briefly Friday and took no action other than to receive a pair of committee reports. It didn't take up the consent calendar on Monday.

Tuesday, the bill was withdrawn from the consent calendar.

Hineman said he was surprised by the move, which typically happens on the first day a bill is placed on the consent calendar.

"I do know I have a very disappointed 4-H'er out in Scott City," he said.