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Mark's Musings - 2018 Legislative Session
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December 26, 2018
Preparing for the 2019 Legislative Year


The 2019 Kansas legislative session will begin Jan. 14, 2019, with a new governor who is a Democrat and a legislature with Republicans in the majority (84 Republicans and 41 Democrats).
 

Working to Get Things Done

Electing a governor of one party and a legislature controlled by the other party is not a new situation for our state – it has occurred many times before. It simply means that elected officials at all levels of government and on both sides of the aisle must collaborate and build consensus to move Kansas forward. It may take time to get 63 votes to pass some issues, but I’m optimistic that we can work together for commonsense solutions.

My personal goal as your representative has been and always will be to get things done. Obstruction is not my goal because doing nothing is a strategy that fails our state. You can continue to count on me to energetically advocate for sensible solutions that benefit you.
 
I’m pleased that Speaker Ryckman appointed me as vice-chair of the Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications committee, which meets at 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. I enjoyed serving on this committee for the past two years, and I look forward to tackling the broad range of subjects that come before it. I also have been appointed to the Education committee, which meets at 1:30 p.m. daily, and the Agriculture committee, which meets at 3:30 p.m. daily. My neighboring colleagues, Rep. Ron Highland as chairman and Rep. Eric Smith as vice-chair, also will serve on the Agriculture committee.
 
My office has also changed for my next term. I will be located at 352S-B, which is on the south wing of the third floor. My office mate will be Rep. Leonard Mastroni from LaCrosse. Please stop by when you are in the Capitol.

Potential Issues of Interest

Issues that may come before the legislature include:
  • The ongoing school-funding lawsuit. During June of this year, the Kansas Supreme Court indicated that, if lawmakers add money to compensate for inflation, Kansas “can bring the K-12 public education financing system into constitutional compliance.”  I remain in favor of legislation that will fulfill our constitutional duty to fund education and increase accountability.
     
  • Medicaid expansion. A bill to expand Medicaid coverage likely will be introduced during the upcoming legislative session. Currently, 36 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, and none have repealed that decision. I have supported expansion in the past, and hope we can have a hearing on such a bill in committee, and then allow a vote on the floor.
     
  • Full restoration of previous cuts to funding for higher education. Budgets for our higher-education institutions, including Emporia State, were cut by 4 percent in 2016. During the past session, the legislature voted to restore about 70 percent of those cuts. At a minimum, we need to complete the job so these institutions can continue providing quality education for our future employees and entrepreneurs.
     
  • A new two-year state budget. I will follow the process diligently with your priorities in mind. I welcome your questions and input.
     
  • A new 10-year state transportation plan. A transportation task force will provide initial recommendations in January.
     
  • Mental health funding. During the 2018 session, the legislature provided additional funding for mental health care, but Kansans need more. The impact of underfunded mental health care in our state affects our hospitals, law enforcement units, businesses and schools.
     
  • Expansion of broadband internet service. Access to adequate broadband service is a critical need for our rural communities, so a statewide task force is leading a study of broadband access requirements and will work toward solutions. High-speed broadband will help rural businesses remain viable while allowing residents to take advantage of education and entertainment options. As the new vice-chair of Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications, I will join this task force at its first meeting on Jan. 11.
Providers are trying to expand services. AT&T recently announced that its Fixed Wireless Internet, a high-speed service for rural and underserved locations, now is available in more than 70 Kansas counties, including Lyon County.  Visit att.com/fixedwireless or call 877-990-0041 to learn more about this service, including pricing. To find out if it is available at your home, visit www.att.com/shop/address/#/check-availability.

Honoring Teachers

Recognizing the newest National Teachers Hall of Fame inductees is a highlight for me each year. Honorees come from small and large towns, near and far. Their stories are inspirational not only for teachers but also for those of us who support teachers. Hall of Fame recognition means that a teacher not only has great skill, but also a magnificent gift … one that is shared each year with students regardless of age, background or ability.
 
The induction ceremony includes a somber acknowledgement of teachers and school staff members who have been killed during the past year while conducting their duties. It is a telling reminder of the violence in our country to see that the two tablets, which are part of the original Memorial to Fallen Educators, now are full of names. A third tablet has been ordered for the inevitable.
 
I shared the following remarks during the 2018 remembrance ceremony:
 
Thank you … and congratulations to this year’s inductees into the National Teachers Hall of Fame.
 
I would like to take you back to Monday, Jan. 21, 1985, in a small town west of Wichita named Goddard. It was a cold morning, in the mid-teens. Jim McGee was beginning another week as principal of Goddard Junior High School. His pregnant wife and three children stayed home from school that day because of illnesses. By the end of the day, Mr. McGee was dead from a gunshot fired by a 14-year-old student. Two other educators and another student were wounded before the 14-year-old was apprehended.
 
Jim’s name is on this wall among far too many other educators who lost their lives in the line of duty. Memorials remind us of those who have passed, whether it’s George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or, as here, fallen educators such as Jim McGee.
 
The names etched on this memorial also should inspire us. Their courage in the face of great harm never wavered as they protected their precious students and staff. If their silenced voices could once again speak, they would tell us to take a stand for what is right, and never forget that courage and hope can truly change lives.
 
New names are being added to the memorial this week. It seems like nothing changes. Let us not only remember the lives of these educators, but let the names of Jim McGee and all the others on this wall inspire us to do more, to be courageous and never give up hope..

This week, Education Week magazine selected this photo of Kansas' only National Memorial, the Memorial to Fallen Educators, as among the best of the year.

Inspiration and Thanks

Earlier this month, I watched the memorial service for President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral. Much has been said of his leadership, courage and civility.
 
Many years ago, a wise person told me that leadership is neither a position nor a title. Leadership is a frame of mind and heart. Leaders inspire us to be better tomorrow than we are today, to serve others as we would wish to be served, and to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
 
Rest in peace, Mr. President. May we remember that to serve is to lead.
 
From my family to yours, warmest wishes for peace in your hearts during this blessed season, and for joy in the coming year.

 
Representative Mark Schreiber
www.schreiberforkansas.com
 
Home
1722 Yucca Lane
Emporia, KS   66801
Home: 620-342-6954
Cell: 785-230-0897
Email: markschreiber60@gmail.com
 
 Paid for by Mark Schreiber for Kansas House – Cindy Lore, Treasurer
 

Contact Mark

 

StateHouse Office

Room 167-W
300 SW 10th Street,
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-2721
Mark.Schreiber@house.ks.gov

Home

1722 Yucca Lane
Emporia, Kansas 66801
Phone: 620-342-6954
markschreiber60@gmail.com
 

Communities of
the 60th District

 
 

Resources

Copyright © 2018 Mark Schreiber for Kansas House, All rights reserved.


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