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:
We finally got out of Topeka Sunday morning, April 8, at 1 a.m. and left with a school funding bill that I hope is on the Governor’s desk and will be signed ASAP. I also hope it will be blessed by the Supreme Court. While the plan is not what everyone wanted, it is one that will fund state-wide schools. The $500-plus million dollar plan will be phased in over a five year period. I do not sit on the education committee, but I attended a number of joint meetings that occurred between the House and Senate when time allowed. I would like to see more dollars devoted to Parents as Teachers and Tiny K programs which jump-start learning at an early age. The research shows that the sooner education starts, the more a child will get out of their formal education. Ways and Means still has a chance to add dollars to these programs and I’ll work to do that. I will cut my time off short from the Senate to work on budget.
The formation of the statewide Transportation committee should start soon and I hope to be included in that group. The committee will focus on another 10 year vision plan for the State of Kansas.
A committee to study broadband for the entire state will also be formed this summer. It’s focus is to produce a map of areas of inadequate coverage in the state. We have 65 schools in Kansas with no fiber connectivity. I tried to add $3 million to our budget that would have allowed the state to apply for $30 million dollars in federal money to expand broadband to schools. That motion failed in Ways & Means. These schools are not in Johnson County, but I feel all Kansas students need broadband access and I’ll try again to get this through in the wrap-up session.
Those are the highlights of where we are as I see it. It is an honor to represent you in Topeka.