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Capitol update: Judicial selection changes among issues of interest in state senate
In an effort to keep our readers better informed about the state government actions that impact our communities, we’ll be featuring regular update columns from northeast Johnson County’s elected officials in the legislature: Rep. Barbara Bollier, Rep. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Melissa Rooker and Sen. Kay Wolf. Check back on Mondays to find out what’s been happening the past week in Topeka. Sen. Wolf submits this week’s update:
This week we wrapped up the fourth week of the legislative session. Our first major deadline of the session called turnaround is Friday, March 1. At that point, aside from certain exempt bills, bills must be passed out of one of the two chambers in order to be considered for the remainder of session. If a non-exempt bill has not been passed out by then it is considered dead for the session. In preparation of the deadline, committees are meeting on a daily basis in order to pass legislation and have it considered by the full Senate. After turnaround, the Senate’s primary focus will to focus on House legislation and vice versa.
My committee assignments for the session are Vice-chair, Transportation; Vice- Chair, State Building Construction; Member, Ethics, Elections, Local Government; Member, Education; Member, Legislative Education Planning Council.The Senate has passed several bills of interest and forwarded to the House for consideration. SCR1601 and SB8 are judicial reform companion bills allowing the governor to appoint judges and changing the make-up of the present nominating system. The present system has been in effect since 1958 and I believe has worked well and preserves the integrity of the system.
SB61: Expands, creates and amends several statutes related to human trafficking establishing a fund for support of victims.
SB19: Amends current law of mistreatment of dependent adults for misappropriation of their financial resources.
SB46: Allows physical therapists to initiate treatment without referral from a physician.
Bills of Interest:
SB45: Disallows monies appropriated by the legislature to be used for support or defeat of legislation. This would most likely limit the Kansas National Education Association’s ability to advocate for legislation impacting education.
SB109: States the no public funds may be used directly or indirectly for lobbying, or to pay dues in an association engaged in lobbying the state. This would impact counties, cities and the Kansas Association of School Boards from advocating for issues they feel are relevant to their constituency. Scheduled for a hearing in Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government, Monday Feb 11, 9:30am.
SB64: Requires changing of party affiliation to be filed not less than 21 days prior to the date of the election and mandates a person cannot change their party affiliation more than once in 90 days.
SCR1608: States the financing of education interests of the state shall be established solely by the legislature. This is in response to the current lawsuit
regarding funding of schools. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs stating the previously set $4,492 BSAPP may not be lowered (based on the Montoy Case). Senate hearings are scheduled in Judiciary on Feb 13th and 14th. The Attorney General has requested mediation from the Supreme Court and a stay. This is an approximate $600 million cost to the state to fund.
There is just a brief overview of the many things happening in the legislature. You can stay informed through the legislature’s website, kslegislature.org. I also routinely write email newsletters. If you would like to receive these, please contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-296-7390. I welcome your comments, thoughts and suggestions. Thank you for allowing me to be your voice in Topeka.
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