Melvin Neufeld waited until exactly the right time.
He had threatened to keep the legislature in session indefinitely until the Governor's veto of two coal-powered, carbon-belching power plants in Western Kansas could be safely overridden.
So yesterday, ol' Mel finally unleashed the fury, holding a vote to override the veto, confident he had his 84 votes.
That confidence was misplaced. After holding legislators hostage for hours trying to find the votes, the override attempt failed, 80-45. Not only did he not get an extra vote -- the bill passed the house originally with 83 votes -- he actually had a net LOSS of three votes. All the arm-twisting, threatening and game-playing just turned people away.
Of course, it's only because Kathleen Sebelius bought people tickets to the final four.
Neufeld said after the vote that Sebelius allowed legislators to fly on state aircraft to The University of Kansas games in the NCAA Tournament to leverage her position on the coal fight.What soon-to-be-former-Speaker Neufeld fails to mention is that the individuals in question paid their own way. He also forgot that many of them were and still are in favor of the coal plants and that it's commonplace for a governor to bring legislators along on when traveling in their official capacity.
"What else did the state pay for?" the speaker said. "I have no idea."
But I'm sure none of the special projects that he was promising to give people if they voted his way would have cost the state any money.
On a troubling note, Rep. Tom Hawk (D-Manhattan) voted with Neufeld and the rest of the Sunflower cronies. Rep. Hawk has been on the right side of this issue from day one, but yesterday there were some rumblings around the capitol that he had been seduced by Neufeld. We don't know the reason yet and we may never, but this blogger is shocked and saddened that a man who has been a very good legislator could flip-flop on such an important issue. We'll bring you more details as we get them.
Republicans voting yes: Aurand, Beamer, Bethell, Bowers, Brown, Brunk, Burgess, Carlson, Colyer, Craft, Crum, Dahl, Donohoe, Faber, Fund, George, Goico, Gordon, Grange, Hayzlett, Hill, Carl Holmes, Mitch Holmes, Horst, Huebert, Humerickhouse, Johnson, Kelley, Kelsey, Kiegerl, King, Kinzer, Knox, Landwehr, Light, Mast, Masterson, McLeland, Merrick, Jim Morrison, Moxley, Myers, Neufeld, Olson, O'Neal, Otto, Owens, Patton, Peck, Powell, Powers, Proehl, Rhoades, Roth, Schroeder, Schwartz, Shultz, Siegfreid, Sloan, Swanson, Tafanelli, Vickrey, Watkins, Whitham, Wilk, William Wolf and Yoder.
Republicans voting no: Colloton, Hodge, Huntington, Metsker, Judy Morrison, Pottorff, Quigley, Spalding, Swenson, Kay Wolf and Worley.
Democrats voting yes: Feuerborn, Gatewood, Grant, Hawk, Lukert, McKinney, Palmer, Pauls, Peterson, Phelps, Ruff, Wetta and Williams.
Democrats voting no: Ballard, Burroughs, Carlin, Crow, Davis, Dillmore, Faust-Goudeau, Flaharty, Flora, Frownfelter, Garcia, Goyle, Henderson, Henry, Holland, Kuether, Lane, Loganbill, Long, Mah, McCray-Miller, McLachlan, Menghini, Neighbor, Rardin, Ruiz, Sawyer, Storm, Svaty, Tietze, Treaster, Trimmer, Ward and