Skip to main content

Senate Vote Heats Up Kansas Coal Fight

It’s hard to know who’s happy and sad over the prospects of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius being plucked to become President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. Timing is the big issue.

A Senate committee voted in favor of her today. The full Senate is expected to also vote in her favor – but when?

In just a week, Sebelius’ veto of the Sunflower coal-fired power plants bill will be challenged in a special veto session of the state legislature. She’s won this battle three times, but what if she’s not there this time? What if she’s confirmed for HHS before then and Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson becomes governor?

Some fervent Sebelius fans who are also Sunflower opponents are afraid that Parkinson doesn’t have the political power to fend off a veto vote. They are hoping out loud and in print that Sebelius will fail the Senate test and come home to continue fighting for local interests.

Anti-abortion opponents of Sebelius are also hopeful she will fail in the Senate, not because they want her home, but because they fear what she could do at the national level. But their hopes are countered by conservative business interests who think she’s the only reason coal power has been stymied in the state.