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. Cindy Holscher, Rep. Jan Kessinger and Sen. Pat Pettey are scheduled to send updates this week. Here’s Sen. Pettey’s filing:
We are officially one month into session. This week marked the last week for bill introductions.With few exceptions as of Friday at 5 p.m. no more bills can be introduced for the 2018 session. On Wednesday I introduced SB 409 concerning unreasonable contact of a defendant with a juror following the discharge of a case. This bill will have a hearing in Senate Judiciary on Thursday, Feb. 15.
Gov. Colyer is two weeks into his governorship. It is to soon to judge if he will govern differently then his predecessor, but I will compliment him on his support of transparency issues. The legislature on a bi-partisan basis have already introduced a number of bills to address transparency so it will be interesting to see how serious we are on the subject. I support ending gut-and-go in conference committees and on the floor as well as identification of who introduced a bill.
Transportation Task Force
The full senate passed 33- 5 SB 285 to establish the Joint Legislative Transportation Task Force. This is an opportunity for the legislature to coordinate with industry and stakeholders across the state to set the vision for transportation. The 28 member committee will be responsible for studying the Kansas transportation system and making recommendations for improving roads and highways. The highway fund has been raided of more than $2 billion since 2010, resulting in delays of dozen of transportation projects and the loss of jobs. The bill requires 8 meetings across the state and a report back to the legislature by Jan. 31, 2019. I supported the bill and Senator Hensley, Minority leader, has announced that I will be his appointee to this task force. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
Early Childhood Task Force
I have been working with other legislators to set up this task force. It is important as we look at how best to address the educational needs of our children that we understand brain development from 0-5 years of age. This knowledge can help us make the best use of your tax dollars in our public education system.