Capitol Update: Sen. Pettey expresses frustration with delays on major legislative issues

Sen. Pat Pettey calls the lack of progress on big outstanding issues this session disappointing.

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. Brett Parker, Rep. Brandon Woodard and Sen. Pat Pettey are scheduled to send updates this week. Here’s Sen. Pettey’s filing:

This session has been extremely frustrating. I continue to question why things take so long. The legislative process is like looking at one of those puzzles and trying to decide the right path to get from home to your destination. Lots of dead ends and re-routing and maybe you’ll make it.

On March 14 Republican lawmakers on Ways and Means voted to remove Medicaid expansion funding from the Governor’s budget. This same action happened in House appropriations. As a member of Ways and Means I denounce this act as another political maneuver to delay the expansion conversation. Denying Medicaid funding from the budget is a Catch 22. Debate about Medicaid is being blocked by leadership and now funding is out of the budget.

SB 22 that gives tax cuts to giant multi-national corporations and now has a price tag of a half billion dollars removes dollars from the state treasury in hopes that new jobs and revenue will be created — yet Medicaid expansion dollars would go to work in our state on day one, paying salaries, funding purchase of materials, and growing sales in a variety of areas as new dollars flow into the state treasury.

SB 22 now goes to the governor’s desk. She has repeatedly said that her administration has only begun to repair the damage of the last eight years. The state recovery is fragile and this is not the time for a change in our tax code. I believe she will veto SB 22.

Senate Public Health had two days of hearings on SB 113 Providing for the legal use of medical cannabis. I did sign onto this bill. I believe our state is at a point where Kansas citizens are insisting for access to medical cannabis to treat their chronic pain issues. This bill has a long ways to go. A hearing is just step one.

We have just started hearing the seven bills that came out of the work of the Transportation task force that I served on. This hard winter has helped every driver to see the impact that lack of preservation work has on our state system. We need to reduce using transportation funds for other state issues. These bills are a priority for the next two weeks.

School funding , SB 142, which adds $90 to K-12 funding and a framework to keep pace with the rate of inflation passed the Senate on a 32-8 bipartisan vote. Now it moves to the House and needs to be on a fast track. This bill is supported by the governor.

The legislature ends the regular session April 5.