With the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday on Monday, this week was an abbreviated one, but the legislature continued its work, with all of the activity taking place within committees.
The first week in the legislative session has passed. It was marked by ceremonial events, beginning with the inauguration of Governor Brownback, other statewide officials, two senators and 125 state representatives on Monday. I am honored to be serving the 39th District for a second term.
I’d like to start off this inaugural newsletter for 2015 by wishing you and yours a very happy coming year. Diane and I hope you enjoyed the Christmas holiday season with your friends and family. We also encourage you to be careful in this extremely cold weather--keep your children and pets safe and warm indoors.
In a week that is usually dominated by a long series of conference committee reports, this year’s regular session went into overtime to deal with the very important issue of education, specifically the funding bill that was crafted in response to the Gannon decision issued earlier this year.
We are closing in on the end of the regular legislative session, which will conclude on April 4. This past week as short in days but long in terms of activity, as we spent most of our time on the floor debating a multitude of bills covering a range of important topics. We concluded on Wednesday, giving conference committees time to meet in advance of next week.
The Kansas House moved much closer to first adjournment this week. We cast votes on a number of bills on the floor, while committees finished their work by Friday, which was the deadline for most bills to be passed out of committee. We will return Monday for three days of floor votes before taking a break for conference committees to meet. April 4 is first adjournment.
Last week’s legislative agenda was brief in terms of floor activity, as much of our progress was made in the committee process, where we are working hard to churn out legislation in advance of the deadline on Friday to have all non-exempt bills out of committee. This week will be far busier in terms of floor votes.
The legislature returned on Wednesday in what was originally going to be a shorter, uneventful week with a minor amount of floor activity, while things picked up in committee. That changed on Friday when the Kansas Supreme Court released the Gannon decision, a long-awaited ruling that had held us a bit in suspense as many things, from our education structure to tax policy, hung in the balance. With an absence of other action this week, this newsletter focuses exclusively on that decision.
The Kansas legislature reached its halfway point this week, completing its work on Thursday in advance of the “Turnaround” deadline, which is when most bills must be passed out of one chamber in order to be considered in the other. The legislature will return on Wednesday and we will then have two weeks for committees to work through bills adopted by the Senate.
We are now in the sixth week of the legislative session, with floor acting picking up as we approach “Turnaround”, the legislative half-way point of the session, in which most bills must be passed out of their originating chamber. Below is a list of several items we have voted on the past two weeks.