Senate Happenings, Week 5
By the first of March the legislature will have officially reached the halfway point for the 2013 session. This day, also known as turnaround means every bill must be voted out of its chamber of origin or it dies. Once we reach turnaround, each chamber will only consider the opposite chamber’s proposals with just a few exceptions. The pace of business in the Capitol will undoubtedly pick-up as we quickly approach the deadline. This week alone, the Senate debated 10 bills and we will likely see a larger amount of bills on the floor in the next few weeks. With the completion of the 5th week of the 2013 Legislative session, the Senate has successfully passed 15 pieces of legislation ranging from liquor sampling laws to criminal statute changes. Committees will continue to work on legislation introduced in the Senate. As they pass legislation out of their respective committees we will debate them as a whole on the Senate floor.
Visitors from Senate District #36
This past week was another busy one with groups from the thirteen counties visiting Topeka and the Statehouse. Representatives from the Kansas Pork Association, North Central Kansas Flinthills Area Agency on Aging, Kansas Bankers Association, Travel Industry Association of Kansas, Kansas Association of School Boards and the Kansas American Legion were in the city and attended their annual conferences and visited legislators during the day and evening. Students and staff from Fort Hays State University, Cloud County Community College and Barton County Community College were in the Capital during the week. The Kansas Association of Community College Trustees and members from the Board of Regents were in the Statehouse celebrating Higher Education Day on February 11th. The House and Senate recognized Kansas State University which turned 150 years old on February 16th and was the first land-grant university to be created under the Morrill “Land Grant” Act signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. It was also Kansas' first public university. President Kirk Schulz and members of his staff kicked off the official sesquicentennial public celebration and along with the Kansas Wheat Alliance, named a new wheat variety “1863” in honor of the year K-State was founded.
Pages and students
Logan Long from Beloit Jr. Sr. High School paged on Thursday and had the opportunity to meet the Governor and work with other Senators for the day. Two student scholars from Cloud County, Rachel Hasch, Concordia and Garrett Redden, Glasco were recognized by Legislators on Wednesday as Kansas Academy of Math and Science Students who attend college at Fort Hays State University. Four students from Cloud County Community College were selected as members to the Kansas All-State Phi Theta Kappa Academic Team for 2013. This International honor society for two-year colleges was founded in 1994 and honors students for their academic achievement, leadership and service. Leah Hill and Dylan Hinricks from the Cloud County campus and Cheryl Henderson and Noel Richardson from the Geary County campus attended with staff from CCCC. Kansas has nineteen community colleges and awards more than 7,500 associate degrees and nearly 3,000 technical certificates a year.
Committee Work and Senate Session Activity
The Agriculture Committee continues to hear testimony on Senate Bill 57 requested by the Department of Agriculture to regulate kennels, foster animal homes and address rate fees. The Department of Ag recently launched the new Kansas trademark program and returned to the old slogan or “brand” - FROM THE LAND OF KANSAS. The new logo is the recognizable state symbol of wheat with a star on each side of the single wheat head. We heard testimony on SB 85 in Financial Institutions and Insurance which would allow us to provide proof of insurance by cellular phone or portable devices in addition to our paper copies we carry now. This bill was passed out and will be heard on the Senate Floor next week. Public Health heard SB 121 which would bring Osawatomie State Hospital and Rainbow Mental Health Facility under one license and on SB 141 prohibiting abortions performed solely because of the gender of the unborn child. We heard an update form the Kansas Hospital Association noting that Kansas has 127 community hospitals of which 83 are Critical Access Hospitals.
I hope you take the time to track the Legislature’s work in Topeka over the course of the 2013 session. Although early, policy proposals on the above issues, and many others, are quickly forming and I believe it is an important part of the process to keep my constituents updated. As you know, the devil is in the details and many components of these policies are subject to change. I encourage you to stay informed on the issues under consideration by the Kansas Legislature. Committee schedules, bills and other helpful information can be easily accessed through the legislature’s website, www.kslegislature.org. You can even listen in live during Session which is 2:30 PM in the Senate and 11:00 AM in the House. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions. I enjoy hearing from my constituents on the topics we are discussing in Topeka and I appreciate the perspective from those outside of the Statehouse. As the majority of my day is spent in committee meetings and on the Senate floor, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to reach me.
Thank you for the honor of serving you!
Senator Elaine Bowers
Kansas State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th St
Topeka, KS 66612
Senate Happenings, Week 5