Quote of the Week: “Dependency harms culture. People thrive the more they can be self-reliant.” - Wesley J. Smith in The War on Humans

HARD FACTS:

⦁ The 2017 Kansas Job Vacancy Survey found there were an estimated 48,908 vacancies in Kansas during the second quarter of 2017, a 9.1 percent increase from 2016. The trade, transportation, and utilities industry recorded the most vacancies while ‘cashier’ was the occupation with the most vacancies (⦁ Kansas Department of Revenue) https://klic.dol.ks.gov/gsipub/index.asp?docid=703

⦁ The Dow Jones industrial average struggled for gains in volatile trading, set to post its worst weekly performance since October 2008 (⦁ CNBC) https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/09/us-stock-futures-dow-data-earnings-market-sell-off-and-politics.html

⦁ 82 percent of Kansans Want Schools to Stay Open. In a scientific poll conducted late in 2017, 82 percent of Kansans indicated that schools should remain open during school policy debates over the appropriate amount of funding for schools. (Source: http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=c823b217-e1cf-4928-8086-eb6e0d2f7f9b)

⦁ Kansas Ranks 38th in Sales Tax Burden. Kansas ranks 38th in the country for sales tax burden, with 1st place being the state with the least tax burden in the country. With a base sales tax of 6.5 percent and local sales taxes creeping up past 10 percent in some areas, there is increased discussion about efforts to at least reduce the sales tax on food. Kansas is one of only a handful of states that does not have any exemption or cap on food sales tax. (Source: http://www.richstatespoorstates.org/variables/sales_tax_burden/ ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_taxes_in_the_United_States)

TRANSPORTATION TASK FORCE BILL

On Thursday, the Kansas Senate voted 33-5 to approve the passage of SB 285, establishing a joint legislative transportation task force to study Kansas’ transportation system. During the voting process, I voted “NO” on SB 285 when I intended to vote “NO” on a different bill, SB 288.

During Friday’s session, I attempted to correct my vote under Rule 39, which requires unanimous consent to reconsider votes. I was extremely frustrated that bipartisan politics interfered when another senator objected and therefore blocked a unanimous vote. The senator that blocked this didn’t have an issue with the process of using Rule 39, and even acknowledged this was a correction by allowing my vote on SB 288 to be corrected. However, he did not allow SB 285 to be corrected. This is a learning process and I apologize for my error. We will get another chance to correct this vote when it comes back over from the house for the final vote to send it to the Governor to sign. Although I am disappointed that my true vote was not correctly placed, I am very pleased with the passage of SB 285. I strongly support SB 285 which establishes the joint legislative transportation task force that will make recommendations to the state relating to the state highway fund and state highway transportation system. This is an essential piece of legislation for Kansans and for the future of our highway transportation system. This legislation will not only attract new jobs and expand economic opportunity, but will also be vital for the safety of our families.

Our economy needs reliable infrastructure to efficiently connect goods and services around the state and SB 285 is a step in the right direction. SB 285 will improve economic development, job creation, safety, and infrastructure for all families of southeast Kansas.

Thank You for Engaging

Thank you for all your calls, emails, and letters regarding your thoughts and concerns about happenings in Kansas. Constituent correspondence helps inform my decision-making process and is taken into great consideration when I cast my vote in the Kansas Senate. I hope you’ll continue to engage with me on the issues that matter most to you, your family, and our community. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka.

Please know that I am fully committed to addressing the current issues in our state, and I am proud to be your voice in the Kansas Senate.