The 2018 Kansas Legislative Session is off to a fast pace with committee hearings, informational briefings and constituent groups visiting the Statehouse to meet with elected officials about matters before the Kansas Legislature.
I am fortunate to have excellent help in Topeka this session! Gentry Thiesen, a student at Wichita State University, is working with me as an intern and office assistant and Miranda Rheuport, a student at the University of Kansas, is serving as an intern. I enjoy having students serve as interns and learn as much from them as they perhaps do from the experience. I appreciate having both Gentry and Miranda helping me out this year.
During the Legislative session students ages 12 and older have the opportunity to serve as a Legislative Page. Being a Legislative Page is a great way for students to experience the legislative process first hand. Please let me know if you have a student that is interested in spending the day with me as a Legislative Page. Click here for additional information about the program.
Transparency in Kansas Government
Transparency in state government is a thing of the past under the current administration. The Kansas City Star released a series of stories highlighting a disturbing lack of transparency across state agencies and within the administration.
Kansas House Democrats stand poised to hold the administration and state agencies accountable and restore transparency to the Kansas government. It is imperative that the citizens of our state are informed and included in the decisions and issues that affect them. We are committed to full transparency and will be introducing multiple pieces of legislation this session to ensure accountability and honesty in the democratic process.
You can view the “Secret Kansas” stories here:
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday, January 15th, we celebrated the life and works of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Every year he is honored for his devotion and sacrifice in the name of equality and for the Civil Rights movement.
“We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
State of the Judiciary
On Wednesday, the members of both the Kansas Court of Appeals and the Kansas Supreme Court visited the Statehouse for the annual State of the Judiciary. Delivered by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, the address advocated higher pay for those who work within the judicial system.
Nuss said, “Nearly one-third of our employees also need to work jobs outside the judicial branch to make ends meet. This is five times higher than the Kansas average. I am well aware you are still facing many challenges during this legislative session. Maybe some of the biggest ones ever. If things continue on this financial path in the judicial branch, there are serious concerns about our ability to administer the quality of justice that Kansans have come to expect and deserve."
The Supreme Court is requesting $22 million in new money for raising judicial salaries.
Delay in Lansing Corrections Vote
On Thursday, the State Finance Council (which includes the Governor and Republican and Democratic Legislative Leadership) was scheduled to meet for a final vote on the Lansing Correctional Facility project.
The meeting was abruptly canceled ten minutes prior to its start time via a press release sent from Brownback’s office. At the last State Finance Council meeting, the vote was tabled until more information was available.
The Kansas Department of Corrections has awarded a contract for a lease-to-purchase contract to a company called CoreCivic, a for-profit prison company with a dubious reputation nationwide. Two former Brownback top aides have filed as lobbyists for CoreCivic in Kansas. The State Finance Council must approve the contract in order for the project to move forward.
It is uncertain at this time if the vote will occur at the next meeting of the State Finance Council.
Brownback Nomination Vote
Governor Brownback – nominated last year by President Trump for an ambassadorship – was re-nominated in 2018 after the U.S. Senate failed to confirm him before the end of 2017. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee re-voted on the first step of his confirmation again on Thursday. The Committee passed the confirmation, and Brownback will now continue through the confirmation process.
It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I both value and need your input on the various issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 452-S, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at (785) 296-7430 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. Additionally, you can e-mail me at email@example.com You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org