Hello from Topeka! We are back and starting the 2020 session, which will by my fifth year representing you in the statehouse. This week will be a lot of little meetings and bill introductions. Governor Kelly will deliver her second State of the State address, then we will spend a good portion of Thursday going over what was in and what was left out of her budget proposal. Many times, in an election year, there isn’t a full agenda, but this year it seems we will have several issues that will be discussed. A few that you may have heard about is Medicaid Expansion that will be discussed in the Senate. The house passed out its version last year, so we will see how this plays out. A few days ago, the Governor proposed combining the human services back to one big agency. This would combine the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and Department of Children and Families (DCF) along with our state’s mental hospitals. This proposal will go through the scrutiny of the state legislature and my concern is we make progress on programs related to foster kids and families and the waiting list for those most vulnerable who need care.
Look for several things to come out of the Federal and State Affairs, there will probably be a constitutional amendment regarding abortion and that the state should decide what is in the constitution by a vote of the people. If it passes in Topeka, it will be on the ballot either in August or November of this year. There is also a lot of talk about medical marijuana, I am not sure how far that will go and if there is broad support in both chambers.
One of the committees I serve on is taxation, and that should be a busy one as there have been several bills pre-filed to address some of the issues that were not successful last year. We will keep you updated here on at kenforkansas.com.
I also remain Chairman of Higher Education Budget, I don’t see too many fireworks there this year. The wants are great, but the dollars are limited. We will continue to work with institutions to deliver a good education and a reasonable investment.
My final committee I serve on is Appropriations. It is the one that deals with every agency and is the committee that brings together all the budget committees and forms the house position on the budget that gets approved at the end of the session.
I am pleased to announce that Mark Coomes, a graduate of Phillipsburg High School and current student at the University of Kansas will be serving you as a legislative intern. He is a bright, energetic young man and looking forward to his skill set contributing to our great state.
When you come to Topeka during the session, my office is still located in Room: 149-S. My phone number is (785) 296- 7463 and email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and you can always try my cell number at (785) 302-8416. When you call or write you might hear from Jan Kohlers, who is back as my assistant during the session.
I look forward to seeing you around the 110th District. It is my honor to by your representative.