Capitol Update: Rep. Jerry Stogsdill says stopping ‘terrible bills’ may be true measure of success for legislative session

"With super majorities in both the House and Senate, the majority Party has submitted numerous bills aimed at taking us back to the disastrous days of the Brownback administration," said Rep. Jerry Stogsdill in this week's Capitol Update column. Above, Stogsdill at the Post's 2020 candidate forum.

Each week, we provide Shawnee Mission area legislators the opportunity to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Sen. Dinah Sykes, Rep. Jo Ella Hoye and Rep. Jerry Stogsdill are scheduled to send updates this week.

Below is the submission from Democratic State Rep. Jerry Stogsdill, who represents District 21.

This year the number of bills passed may not determine the measure of success in this Session of the Legislature.  The true measure of success in this Session may be our ability to STOP the passage of a large number of terrible bills, which are now before the House and Senate.  With super majorities in both the House and Senate, the majority Party has submitted numerous bills aimed at taking us back to the disastrous days of the Brownback administration.

So far, the ultra-conservative leaders in the House and Senate are supporting legislation that would:

  • Give massive tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals and corporations in Kansas at the expense of the vast majority of working Kansans and their families.
  • Take money away from our public schools by reducing funding and by initiating an expanded backdoor “scholarship” program that would channel tax money away from our public schools and into the hands of private schools.
  • Lower the age of legal concealed carry down from 21 to 18!
  • Usurp the rights of our State Board of Education and our local Boards of Education to determine curriculum in our public schools and would instead put those curriculum decisions into the hands of the Kansas Legislature.
  • Suppress voting rights by limiting to one the number of days following Election Day that mail in election ballots would be counted, even if the mail in ballots had been postmarked days ahead of Election Day.
  • Severely limit the power of the Governor to address an emergency medical situation or natural disaster that would require immediate attention.

Majority Party leadership is NOT supporting the following:

  • Medicaid expansion which would provide health care coverage for tens of thousands of Kansans, bring back billions of our federal tax dollars to Kansas and spur the creation of much needed jobs as we emerge from this pandemic.  
  • The return of Due Process rights to teachers, even after they have performed heroically for our children during the pandemic.  
  • Proper funding for our public schools, colleges and universities.

On the positive side we did pass a bill authorizing 100 million dollars in low interest loans that would be available to cities and counties that were hard hit by utility bills that went ballistic during the dangerous cold snap we suffered through in February.  That bill had bipartisan support and was passed into law, literally, in a matter of hours.

There is still hope for a productive session of the Legislature based on three factors:

  • Good pieces of legislation still remains in play and bad legislation can always be amended to actually benefit Kansans and the future of Kansas.
  • There may be enough Republican moderates left who are upset with the direction the ultra-conservatives are taking their Party.  Hopefully, they will eventually be bold enough to vote to enact good legislation or at least join with Democrats in sustaining the Governors vetoes of the most disastrous bills to end up on her desk.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, Kansans will be loud and clear with their Representatives, Senators and Republican leadership, that they will NOT tolerate a “return to Brownback” and the policies that brought Kansas to the brink of bankruptcy, almost wrecked our public schools, colleges and universities and severely damaged our ability to attract and retain businesses and jobs in Kansas. Names and contact information of Representatives, Senators and Legislative leaders can be found on kslegislature.org.

As always it is an honor and a privilege to represent the best interests of the people of the 21st District.  If you ever have any questions or suggestions for me, I can always be reached at jws4414@aol.com or jerry.stogsdill@house.ks.gov.  Thank you for your ongoing support.