Capitol Update: ‘It is time for the legislature to stop insulting the people of Kansas and to start governing’

To keep our readers better informed about the state government actions that impact our communities, we feature an update columns each Monday from one of northeast Johnson County’s elected officials: Rep. Barbara Bollier, Rep. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Jarrod Ousley, Rep. Melissa Rooker and Sen. Kay Wolf. Rep. Clayton submits this week’s update:

Good Morning, shawneemissionpost.com readers. As of press time (about 10:30 a.m. Monday), the Kansas House of Representatives has not yet voted on a budget or passed a revenue plan. Today is Day 102 of what is supposed to be a 90-day legislative session, and will go down in Kansas history as one of the longest legislative sessions on record.

Clayton_HeadshotMembers of the House have worked through the weekend trying to come up with a solution to the massive budget shortfall, but I was highly displeased that we did not take a vote on either a budget or a revenue plan.

The frustrating aspect, and insulting to voters, is that the longer the legislature stays in session, the more bad policy that is passed. I am highly displeased with the theme of legislation that has passed that shows a consistent, hostile disregard for local control.

Yesterday (Sunday), the Conference Committee Report for House Bill 2183 passed the House and is on the way to the Governor’s desk. This bill commits numerous offenses, including:

  • Prohibits your local government from regulating or prohibiting the placement of or number of political signs on private property or on unpaved right-of-way for city streets during the 45 days prior to an election. As a state legislator, I operate under the assumption that the people research and elect the city official that would serve them best, and am not inclined to insult the intelligence of voters by supporting legislation that supersedes the decisions of duly elected local officials.
  • Another component of the bill that I do not support is the lessening of restrictions currently placed on political candidates regarding social media communications. An additional component of the bill allows candidates who are current office-holders to use the wifi in the Kansas statehouse for campaign-related communications. Currently, we can only send campaign-related communications using our own personal data-plans, such as those on smartphones, tablets, etc. Under this bill, we would be able to use taxpayer-funded wifi to conduct our campaigns, and that simply isn’t right.

It is time for the legislature to stop insulting the people of Kansas by passing bad policy, and to start governing by passing real revenue reform. State workers will be furloughed beginning a week from today, June 7, if the budget it not balanced. It is my hope that as we continue an already unnecessarily long session, the legislature brings about a long-term fix to the budget crisis that is rooted in the belief that we can grow business through balance and stability, and treat our taxpayers with respect by providing a sustainable and intelligent revenue plan. Unfortunately, the executive branch has informed the legislative branch that any bill that reforms the current income taxation system will be vetoed.

I always enjoy hearing from constituents. You can contact me at stephanie.clayton@house.ks.gov, follow me for live, real-time updates from the House floor on twitter @sscjocoks, or follow me on Facebook.