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. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Jarrod Ousley and Sen. Barbara Bollier are scheduled to send updates this week. Here’s Rep. Clayton’s filing:
The legislature has been in session for six weeks, and we are nearing our first major deadline. Referred to as “turnaround,” this is when most bills need to be passed through committees and the committee of the whole in their house of origin. After the “turnaround break,” (essentially three business days), the legislative session will resume, and the House will work bills from the Senate, and the Senate will work bills from the House.
Of course, for every rule in the legislature, there is an exception, and some of these bills that were expected to “die” (that is, lose eligibility to continue through the legislative process), have been “blessed.” HB 2548, my bill that will end anonymous legislation is one such bill. While no hearing has been scheduled, the “blessing” bodes well for the bill’s future, as it had previously been languishing in a committee where it was unlikely to continue through the process. (HB 2548 is co-sponsored by every legislator in the Northeast Johnson County delegation).
Committee work has moved at a vigorous pace as we work to meet these deadlines. In Social Services Budget, we developed our budget proposal for the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services. I was proud to propose language that would add beds for adolescent mental health crisis centers, as there is a great need for this throughout the state, particularly here in Johnson County. It will be very difficult to secure the funding, but our adolescents and their families need us to provide these opportunities for care, and my pursuit for this funding will continue.
In Federal and State Affairs, HB 2460, a bill that would force local school boards to use only programing developed by the National Rifle Association advanced out of committee by the slimmest of margins. If passed, local school districts would no longer be able to use any gun safety program that they chose, and could only use the programming developed by the NRA. I brought an amendment in committee that would remove this mandate, and allow school districts to choose; the amendment failed by one vote. I would imagine that, given the tragic incident that occurred in south Florida, that this legislation is unlikely to continue, as discussing bill requested by the National Rifle Association would be in tremendously poor taste, but the possibility should not be ruled out entirely.
Perhaps the most important deadline that looms is that of school funding. The K-12 education budget committees are very unlikely to produce any bills prior to the release of a study that was commissioned by House and Senate Leadership. The release date of this study is the somewhat ominous March 15th, and the findings are likely to guide the actions of the legislature as they continue. Discussions also continue regarding taxation; a property tax increase option will be explored, and likely ruled out, in early March.
I enjoy hearing from you! You can reach me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, find me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @sscjocoks, where I live-tweet every vote that I take. I will join many members of the Northeast Johnson County delegation this Saturday, February 24 at Corinth Library at 10 a.m. for a Town Hall sponsored by the Johnson County League of Women Voters; we hope to see you there!