Each legislative session, we provide the Shawnee Mission area’s elected officials with the chance to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Rep. Melissa Rooker, Rep. Tom Cox and Sen. John Skubal are submitting updates this week. Here’s Sen. Skubal’s filing:
The 2018 legislative session has begun. My committee assignments remain the same as last year – Ways and Means, Transportation, Utilities, and Ethics and Elections. The Ways and Means committee may break into smaller groups to address individual department budgets.
The Governor has presented his State of the State and his budget director provided a budget which addressed the vision laid out in that speech. We have not yet had time to drill down on specific items in that budget, but after a quick look, it appears current revenue will not keep pace with planned expenditures. This budget includes $600 million for K-12 schools spread out over five years. As most know, we have lost another lawsuit argued before the Kansas Supreme Court and been ordered to fully fund our schools. The legislature has not fully funded K-12 education and that will be at the top of the list of challenges as we move through the session. I believe in the three branches of government. The Supreme Court has done its job interpreting the state constitution with this ruling. Now the legislature must do its job to fully fund our schools. We have a court ordered deadline to submit our plan by March 1, and I know the education committee and others are working on this.
I will submit a bill soon that I hope will begin conversation on a new transportation plan. While funding will be a challenge, the conversation needs to be started.
While much was accomplished last session, much needs to be done. My goal is to continue working with like-minded legislators to move our state forward.
It is my privilege to represent you in Topeka and work to make our state a place where our children wish to stay and businesses want to locate.
Please feel free to reach out to me at any time. To contact me and/or receive an email copy of my newsletter, request it at my state email address, John.Skubal@senate.ks.gov.