Capitol update: State bills impacting JoCo landfill, judicial nominating process

In an effort to keep our readers better informed about the state government actions that impact our communities, we are 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. Clayton submits this week’s update:

This was a very exciting week in the Kansas House. This past Friday, March 1, was “turnaround day,” the day all bills from non-exempt committees were set to clear their house of origin. For those of us in the Kansas House of Representatives, it meant a very intense week of working our final bills in committee, and then two long days on the House floor voting on a large list of bills.

I serve on the Local Government committee, and one such bill that we worked earlier this week was HB 2074. I did not agree with this bill, which states that if a landfill is privately owned, a county cannot determine what materials other counties deposit in to it. In the case of HB 2074, Johnson County, which follows a solid-waste plan that the state of Kansas mandated us to create, cannot deposit recycled materials or yard waste into the landfill located in North Shawnee. But, Missouri and other Kansas counties can put whatever they want in this landfill, which would significantly decrease the time this landfill can be used as a disposal option.

While I dislike the idea of regulating a private business, I do think that local governments have the right to determine what gets deposited into a landfill within County lines. During committee discussion, I attempted to table the bill, which would have put it on hold for further discussion until the next session. My motion to table failed, and the committee voted to pass the bill on to the full House for a vote. HB 2074 passed the House on Friday. The bill will now be considered by the Kansas Senate.

One vote of note we had in the House was House Bill 2019, which would change our current Judicial Nominating system for the Court of Appeals. Under the old system, a nominating commission that consisted of attorneys and laypeople made a list of candidates for the Governor to then appoint a judge from. The new system would abolish the nominating commission, allowing the Governor to choose a judge, with that new judge then being confirmed by the Senate. I did not vote in favor of this bill for several reasons, chief among them that I saw no problem with our current judicial selection system. I worked with other legislators to offer a compromise, but that compromise was rejected. I voted “no” on HB 2019, although it did pass the House and will now be considered by the Senate.

My office in the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka is 167-W, my phone number is 785 296-7655, my e-mail is Stephanie.clayton@house.ks.gov, my website: www.clayton4kansas.com, my Facebook page: https://Facebook/clayton4kansas, or to follow me on twitter for live updates from the capitol: @sscjocoks.

I will also have a candidate forum on Saturday, March 16, at Foo’s Fabulous Custard at 95th and Mission from 10-11 a.m. I hope to see you there. To those of you who have contacted me, thank you. I am very grateful to hear from you. To those of you who haven’t contacted me: please do! Constituent communications heavily influence the way that I vote, and I can’t serve you properly unless I know what you want.