Capitol Update: Committees examine education finance, implementation of KanCare

In an effort to keep our readers’ better informed about the state government actions that impact our communities, we’ll be featuring regular update columns from northeast Johnson County’s elected officials in the legislature: Rep. Barbara Bollier, Rep. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Melissa Rooker and Sen. Kay Wolf. Check back on Mondays to find out what’s been happening the past week in Topeka. Rep. Rooker submits this week’s update:

Greetings from Topeka! As Barbara Bollier reported to you last week, we have been busy in Topeka getting acclimated to our new legislative session. The pace of things is a whirlwind. Meetings start as early as 7 a.m. some mornings, 8 a.m. most mornings and continue into the evening hours. Committees meet at 9 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Session in the House chamber takes place at 11 a.m. almost every day. I have been assigned to Education, Children & Seniors and Vision 20/20 for committee work.

Rep. Melissa Rooker
The House and Senate Education committees have held joint sessions for the past two weeks and will continue with that schedule this week as well. The purpose is to review all aspects of the state of education and education finance in Kansas. Thus far, we have heard from the Office of the Revisor on the Gannon ruling, Legislative Research on the history and function of the current school finance formula, reports from the Kansas Board of Education, Kansas Association of School Boards, KNEA, Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas Teacher of the Year finalists. We will continue to hear from stakeholders in the week ahead. Friday the committee will head out on a daylong bus tour of schools to see innovation in the field.

Children and Seniors has held hearings regarding the implementation of KanCare and reports from various agencies providing services to our senior population. I expect we will be reviewing the scope of services for children as our next order of business.

Vision 20/20 is unique in that we examine issues that will affect our state in a long range way. We have heard reports on the K-Tracs system of prescription drug tracking and the need for supercomputing capacity in Kansas. This week we will explore the effect of fuel efficiency on our transportation budget.

I attended the Mainstream Coalition town hall meeting on judicial selection last week at the Colonial Church. It was well attended and the source of terrific dialogue on the topic. Several constituents were among the many people stopping by my office on official visits last week. If you are ever able to stop in for a visit, please do. It brightens my day to see friendly faces from home.