Legislative update from Rep. Pam Curtis

Rep. Pam Curtis

Opinion column

by State Rep. Pam Curtis, D-32nd Dist.

The 2020 Kansas Legislative Session commenced on Monday, Jan. 13, and is off to a brisk start. The first week brought many Kansan’s to the Capitol to share information, ideas and participate in the beginning of the Legislative Session.

On Friday members of the Kansas Legislature participated in a “Building Trust through Civil Discourse” workshop designed to assist lawmakers in exploring the benefits of improving the level of civil discourse and more effectively work across the aisle. An excellent workshop led by Next Generation a program of the National Institute for Civil Discourse that works specifically with state legislatures to address hyperpolarization and incivility at the state level. It was very worthwhile and will hopefully lead to better understanding and dialog in the Kansas Legislature.

I am pleased to have Victor Meraz, from Kansas City, Kansas, joining me this year as a legislative intern. Victor is a communications major at the University of Kansas and will be graduating in May. I am looking forward to having his assistance during the session as well as that of Jeannie Loyd who is serving as the office assistant for our office this year.

It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I value and appreciate your input on issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 452-S, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at 785-296-7430 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. You can also email me at pam.curtis@house.ks.gov

2020 legislative session begins
On Monday afternoon, Jan. 13, the Kansas Legislature kicked off the 2020 session. Newly elected Mayor Brandon Whipple delivered a farewell address before he resigned his post as representative of the 96th District. Rep. Stephanie Yeager was sworn in the following day. The Kansas House of Representatives has 125 representatives; the House Democratic caucus consists of 41 representatives. We’re looking forward to tackling the many issues still facing our state.

Medicaid expansion compromise
On Thursday, Jan. 9, after weeks of negotiations, Gov. Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning announced a proposal to expand health care to more than 150,000 Kansans and lower health insurance costs in the marketplace. Expanding Medicaid has been a priority for both Republicans and Democrats for years, so this is a huge bipartisan step in reaching this goal.
To see the full bill, visit http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/documents/sb252_00_0000.pdf.

2020 State of the State address
Gov. Kelly’s address had a recurring theme – moving forward from the disasters Kansas has faced throughout the last decade. She pointed out several issues that have been resolved, such as adequate school funding, as well as future plans to resolve issues that still haunt Kansas, such as Medicaid expansion, infrastructure, and closing the “Bank of KDOT.”
She also pointed out that for the first time in Kansas history, women sit at the helm of each branch of the Kansas government – exactly 100 years since women were granted the right to vote. The governor has many plans for our state, and we look forward to working with her to achieve those.

Governor’s budget proposal
On Thursday, Budget Director Larry Campbell presented the governor’s budget to a joint session of the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means Committees. The governor’s budget is intended to further restore the fiscal responsibility that has thus far occurred under her watch. The budget is a complex and dense document, so here are some of the major points included:

• This budget is structurally balanced, with an ending balance of 8%, or $627.8 million.
• For the third year in a row, state employees will receive a 2.5% raise.
• It will continue the phase-out of the “Bank of KDOT,” with no further raiding of highway funds.
• The plan again includes a re-amortization of KPERS, resulting in massive debt reduction.
• There will be no new taxes. The following recommendations are in the budget: taxing digital property, food sales tax relief, and local property tax relief.

State Library
Many of us have “learn a new language” on our to-do list. With Mango Languages, you can learn right from your own computer (or smartphone!). This online language learning service https://kslib.info/Mango provided by the State Library is easy to use. Choose from 71 languages such as Spanish, French, Mandarin- even Swahili. Mango uses real-life situations to more effectively teach a new language. Mango also includes 19 English as a second language options. Use as a guest or register to track your progress (and for smartphone use).

My Legislative Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/PamCurtisKCK/?ref=bookmarks
My Twitter Account , https://twitter.com/pcurtiskck.
My Website, https://www.curtisforkck.com/?utm_campaign=2020ksleg1&utm_medium=email&utm_source=pamcurtis.
Kansas Legislature Website, http://kslegislature.org/li/.

One thought on “Legislative update from Rep. Pam Curtis”

  1. Reamortization of KPERS doesn’t reduce debt. It decreases the annual payments on the debt, but increases the overall amount of interest we have to pay in the long run.

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