The Kansas Legislature had a condensed week this week while they observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, an ice and snow storm blanketed Topeka Tuesday night. Due to the ice and snow, the Kansas Legislature did not reconvene until late Wednesday morning. Due to the delay and the safety of staff, the Appropriations Committee canceled the meeting for Wednesday morning.
On Thursday, the Appropriations Committee did have hearings from a varied list of agencies. Due to Governor Kelly’s budget proposal on reamortizing the undfunded liabilty for the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS), we had the executive director, Alan Conroy, give a presentation on the status of the KPERS system.
There was an update from the Kansas Department of Agriculture that presented the current details of the agriculture sector. Their main focus was regarding commodity prices, credit, trade, agriculture economics, and the recently passed farm bill by Congress.
The final information briefing was an overview of the Joint Legislative Transportation Task Force, of which I was a member. The Research Department detailed the subject matter of each meeting we had across the state of Kansas and the future transportation plan.
Kansas Watershed Annual Meeting
On Tuesday, January 22nd, Senator Dan Kerschen, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee, and I spoke at the Kansas Watershed Annual meeting. Senator Kerschen gave a detailed explanation about some of the bills that were passed last session regarding agriculture. I discussed the current budgetary status for the state of Kansas. I also gave an overview of Governor Kelly’s budget that was released last Thursday and the direction that I see the House Appropriations committee will take to address the state budget. Thank you to all of the individuals that were there from the Wet Walnut Creek Watershed in Rush County.
As with any legislative session, there are numerous bills that have already been introduced by either committee, individual legislators, or interest groups.
In the Appropriations Committee, the only bill introduced, at this time, is Governor Kelly’s bill to address the Kansas Supreme Court decision for K-12 education. It was introduced as a formality; other education bills, I presume, will also be introduced.
Some other legislation that has been introduced vary from eliminating day light savings time in Kansas, restrictions on legislators becoming lobbyists, to election crimes and penalties. As the session continues, I will focus on some of the noteworthy items of legislation that have been introduced.