In an effort to keep our readers better informed about the state government actions that impact our communities, we will again be featuring regular update columns during the 2014 session from northeast Johnson County’s elected officials: Rep. Barbara Bollier, Rep. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Emily Perry, Rep. Melissa Rooker and Sen. Kay Wolf. Check back on Mondays to find out what’s been happening the past week in Topeka. Rep. Bollier submits this week’s update:
After three weeks back in session, the House has yet to go on General Orders to bring a bill forward for a vote. Committees are meeting, the budget that has been approved for 2015 is being tweaked, and Kansans wait for a decision from the Kansas Supreme Court on the Gannon school lawsuit. I continue this year to serve on the Health and Human Services, Insurance, and Children and Seniors committees.
Last week, those of us in the Legislature were joined by former legislative leaders and hundreds of Kansans to celebrate the 153rd birthday of the state of Kansas. In addition to the birthday celebration there was a dedication ceremony for the capitol building with the culmination of 13 years of renovations. I personally wanted to thank the people of Kansas for contributing their tax dollars to the spectacular renovation of the Capitol. This is the people’s building, and I encourage everyone to visit in order to share in the beauty of the work done.
The administration announced this past week that they have been given the go-ahead to expand KanCare to include the developmentally disabled population. Many people around the nation will be watching the effectiveness of private managed care organizations in their total care of those with developmental disabilities. I signed a Resolution asking to delay indefinitely the inclusion of the developmentally disabled totally in KanCare.
Some Legislators are supporting efforts to introduce legislation that would have Kansas join the Health Care Compact, a group of states including Missouri and Oklahoma seeking from Congress the ability to be independent from the Affordable Care Act. Separating from the Federal government would be complicated, at best, particularly with the changes Kansas has made in KanCare that increases our federal support of Medicaid with a 90/10 match of funds. I do not support this legislation.
The House Federal and State Affairs Committee held two days of hearings on HB 2473, a measure that would prohibit cities and counties from restricting open carry or enforcing laws to regulate guns. Another piece of the bill prohibits employers from keeping or assembling information on whether employees have conceal and carry permits. Many GOP legislators and the gun lobby came out in strong support of the bill. I support local control, believing that decisions on gun matters should be made by our cities.
For any of you who are interested in following what is going on in the legislature, I post articles daily on my Facebook page. I encourage you to “friend” me if you would like to stay current on the happenings in Topeka. It is an honor to serve you in the statehouse; do not hesitate to contact me as needed.