2019 Legislative Update 2

It was a busy week at the Capitol as the Kansas Legislature completed week two of the 2019 session. It is wonderful to see so many visitors from home attending events at the Statehouse and engaged in the legislative process!

We have great help in our office at the Statehouse this session! Brian Truesdell has joined me and Rep. Jerry Stogsdill as our Office Assistant and Jordyn Lawrence, a student at KU, as my Legislative Intern. It is indeed a pleasure to have both Brian and Jordyn working with me this session!

On Tuesday, the Wyandotte County/Leavenworth County Delegation met with representatives from the Board of Public Utilities for an update on the utility and discussion of matters before the Kansas Legislature. KCKBPU President Norm Scott, GM Don Gray, and Chief Communications Officer David Mehlhaff attended the Tuesday luncheon. We appreciate them taking the time to travel to Topeka and meet with members of the delegation.

It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I value and appreciate your input on issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address at the Statehouse 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. You can also e-mail me at: pam.curtis@house.ks.gov

First Vote of the 2019 Session
The first vote of the 2019 Session was on the House Rules (HR 6004), which passed 104-15. There were a few provisions added to increase transparency. House Democrats have been striving to increase transparency for years, continuing with the passage of HR 6004. It is imperative that the citizens of our state are informed and included in the decisions and issues that impact them. House Democrats are committed to full transparency and will continue work to ensure accountability within the legislature. The addition to the biennial House Rules makes it easier for the public to find the name of an individual or organization requesting a bill, and easier to track bills and amendments.

In addition to covering procedural rules for the chamber, an amendment offered by Rep. Ponka-We Victors, to allow lawmakers to breastfeed on the House floor, was approved on a voice vote. House Democrats championed and supported the provision, encouraging a more pro-family work environment.

Joint Rules Adoption
On Thursday, January 24th, the House voted to adopt joint Senate and House rules by passing SCR 1603. The joint rules apply to both Chambers for the biennium. There were no changes made to the Joint Rules from the last biennium.

On Thursday, January 24th, Governor Laura Kelly signed an executive order creating an advisory group that aims to improve education in Kansas. The Governor’s Council on Education will look for ways to enhance early childhood education, create relationships between the education and business communities, and develop partnerships to address workforce needs in Kansas. Governor Kelly explained that improving education means not only fully funding public schools, but also searching for ways to evaluate and innovate from early childhood all the way through the workforce. There are several members from Kansas City, Kansas serving on the Council including: Co-chair Dr. Cynthia Lane, Joe Reardon, Irene Caudillo, Cathy Harding, Monica Crowe and Marcella Clay.

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