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Mark's Musings - 2018 Legislative Session
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September 26, 2018
A Summer of Preparing to Represent You


Happy September! The days are getting a little cooler, school is back in session, and we are only about three months from Christmas! I hope you had a refreshing and fun summer.
 
My summer flew by even though I had no opposition in the primary election (nor the upcoming general election). I used some of the time to help other candidates in their primary campaigns.
 

Summer Learning

In addition to meetings with various constituents — an activity of first importance that I thoroughly enjoy — summer also allowed me to attend a couple of legislative conferences to become better informed about issues and to learn what other states are doing legislatively. Here’s a quick rundown of how I used my summer to prepare to represent you.
 
  • The Council of State Governments (CSG) Midwestern Legislative Conference was held during mid-July in Winnipeg, Manitoba. CSG is a bipartisan organization of state legislators for which I serve on the Midwest-Canada Relations committee and its energy subcommittee. Prior to the conference, members of the energy subcommittee met in Winnipeg to tour a hydroelectric plant in northern Manitoba and a DC/AC converter station near Winnipeg. It was a great opportunity to learn firsthand how Manitoba and its utilities manage their electric supply and grid.
     
  •  During late July, I attended the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Los Angeles. A pre-conference energy summit focused on energy supplies for various states, whether from nuclear, renewables or fossil fuels. During the past 10 years, energy supplies have changed in many areas of the country as the cost of renewables has decreased while their reliability has improved. In other states, nuclear power plants are being shut down in part due to competitive pressures by the low cost of natural gas generation. However, some states, such as Illinois, have passed legislation that supports the continued generation of electricity from nuclear power. In the end, diverse sources of generation are needed throughout the region to support a strong electric grid.
     
  • During mid-August, I attended a transmission summit in Lawrence, which was organized by Rep. Tom Sloan. Electric transmission refers to the transmitting of large amounts of power, usually over significant distances. The availability of transmission is a determining factor for locating future power plants, regardless of the power source. In Kansas, we need transmission lines from the wind farms in western Kansas to the eastern part of the state. And transmission is not just a state issue anymore. Our transmission in Kansas is monitored and controlled by the Southwest Power Pool in Little Rock, Ark. That organization ensures that the electric grid operates reliably 24/7 throughout a 14-state region. Coordination between states is vital.
 
I also attended meetings about the Flint Hills Trail State Park, mental health in Lyon County, and Communities in Schools. These meetings and conferences help me prepare for the session’s committee work. They allow me to dig deeper into subject areas than what a 90 minute committee meeting allows.
 

Elections Matter! Mark Your Calendars Now!

The Aug. 7 primary election delivered a few surprises and some close contests. The Republican primary for governor was decided by a mere 343 votes, and the House seat in Hutchinson, currently held by Rep. Steven Becker, was decided by nine votes in favor of his opponent, Paul Waggoner.
 
I am still surprised at the lack of turnout for our elections. Several people I met during the primary campaign season said they don’t vote or were not registered — and these were not young people. We all need to do more to encourage voter turnout. Elections matter! Please mark your calendars now for these important dates:
  • The last day to register for the general election is Tuesday, Oct. 16.
  • Early voting at the County Clerk’s office in the Lyon County Courthouse begins at 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22, and closes at noon, Monday, Nov. 5.
  • For the first time, County Clerk Tammy Vopat has set a special Saturday voting schedule and location. On Saturday, October 20 at the Flint Hills Mall, you can vote anytime between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thank you Tammy!
  • The general election is Tuesday, November 6. Voting hours on Election Day are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
After the general election, elected representatives will meet Dec. 3 in Topeka to choose the House leadership team. Later that month, the Speaker will make committee and office assignments. The legislative session begins Monday, Jan. 14.

Combating Sexual and Domestic Violence


I have mentioned in the past that I am associated with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV). I have served on that organization’s board for several years and previously served on the local board of SOS, which operates a 24-hour helpline and offers other vital services.
 
The presence of sexual and domestic violence in large and small communities across the state continues to astound me. Victims include children and adults from all walks of life. Our legislature and the U.S. Congress have passed several laws to address the issue and provide funding to organizations, such as KCSDV and SOS, that provide services to victims, training for prevention programs and education to communities.
 
Follow this link (https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/46-republicans-call-on-ryan-mccarthy-to-reauthorize-the-violence-against-women-act) to a brief story about the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). A reauthorization bill was introduced during July in the U.S. House of Representatives but has yet to be acted on. Currently, Kansas receives $4.5 million through VAWA grants, so reauthorization is critical. These grants provide for law-enforcement training, victim services and prevention efforts, and it led to the creation of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Please contact your U.S. Congressional Representative to encourage support for reauthorization. After speaking with Congressman Marshall’s office, it is likely VAWA will continue to be funded, along with the rest of the federal government, through a Continuing Resolution until December 7.
 
As I was reading about the reauthorization delay in Congress, I also came across this article in the Summer 2018 issue of The Kansas Prosecutor magazine. It is among magazines and newsletters that, as a legislator, I receive from a wide variety of groups throughout the state. An assistant district attorney in Johnson County wrote this particular article. She did a nice job explaining a difficult subject. She and the publisher of the magazine gave permission for me to share the text of the article with you.


The Right Question
By Megan Ahsens, Assistant District Attorney, Johnson County
The most common question I get when someone finds out I prosecute domestic violence cases is, hands down, “Why don’t those women just leave?” It’s a simple question without a simple answer.
 
The answer to that question is as varied as the victims themselves. It is human nature to look upon an act of violence and comfort ourselves that we would never be in that situation because we wouldn’t make the same choices that the victim did. We wouldn’t be romantically involved with that guy. We wouldn’t have gone up to that guy’s apartment. We wouldn’t have gotten drunk at that bar. We blame the victim because then we never have to think it could happen to us. Fundamentally, we believe as a society that domestic violence is the victim’s problem and if she just leaves then that problem goes away. We know, as prosecutors, that that simply is not the case.
 
Consider, for a moment, how we speak about the hypothetical victim of domestic violence. We might say, for example, “John beat Mary last night!” That turns quickly into “Mary got beaten up last night!” Which morphs further into “Mary is a battered woman.” Gone completely from the conversation is John, the person who actually committed the crime and beat Mary.
 
Dorthy Stucky-Halley, Director of Victim’s Services with the Kansas Attorney General’s office, has pioneered research into the different psychological profiles of batterers. We have partnered together to present the various psychological profiles with accompanying case studies in a presentation that aims to give prosecutors the tools to recognize the specific risks to victims in their own cases.

It is time to go beyond the one size fits all “cycle of violence” approach to handling these cases. The FBI Behavioral Science Unit interviewed numerous serial killers to develop distinct profiles so that those killers, who otherwise blend well in society, could be apprehended and prosecuted before they could kill again.  Domestic abusers also blend well in society so a greater insight into their profiles will be an effective tool for police and prosecutors to use to hold them accountable.
 
Some might consider it over the top to mention serial killers and domestic violence offenders in the same paragraph. However, consider that from 2009 through 2016, 54% of mass shootings were committed at home against women and children. 422 people were killed in mass shootings in that time period and 40% of that number were children.1
 
Domestic violence continues to be the single greatest predictor of violence against police officers as well. Of the 44 police officers murdered by gunfire in 2017, 33 of them were killed by someone with a history of abusing their intimate partners.2
 
These crimes are not just “the victim’s problem.” Domestic violence offenders murder police officers and commit mass shootings in numbers too great to ignore. We must change the way we talk about and think about domestic violence. We need to stop asking, “why doesn’t she just leave” and start asking the more relevant question of, “why does he beat her?” Only in asking the right question can we start to understand, and more importantly, predict the behavior of batterers.
 

1 Everytown for Gun Safety: Mass Shootings in the United States 2009-2016
2 Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention

State Revenues and Taxes


Kansas revenue numbers were released Sept. 4. Total receipts for July and August, the first two months of FY 2019, exceeded the estimate by $13.4 million, or 1.6 percent. The ending balance for FY 2018 was strong, at approximately $762 million. However, that amount decreases quickly as transfers are made to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) and other priorities.
 
Speaking of revenues, I recently received the 2018 Facts and Figures book from The Tax Foundation. Here is the comparison of 2018 Kansas individual income tax rates compared with those in surrounding states.
 
  KS MO IA NB OK CO AR
If you make $7,500/yr. 3.1% 5.0% 4.5% 3.51% 5% 4.63% of federal taxable income 2.5%
If you make $15,000/yr. 5.25% 5.9% 6.12% 3.51% 5% 4.63% of federal taxable income 4.5%
If you make $32,000/yr. 5.7% 5.9% 6.8%,
above $71,910 = 8.98%
6.84% 5% 4.63% of federal taxable income 6.0%, above $35,099 = 6.9%
Source: The Tax Foundation, 2018 Facts and Figures
 
As you can see, Kansas rates are not the highest in the region. Plus, Kansas has only three income tax levels — the three levels I compared in the chart above. Conversely, all but one of the surrounding states actually have more than three income levels that are taxed at different rates — Missouri has 10, Iowa has nine, Nebraska has four, Oklahoma has six and Arkansas has six. Colorado calculates its state income tax based on one rate applied to the individual’s federal taxable income. 
 

I Welcome Your Viewpoints

Enjoy the fabulous fall weather, and all the activities in the Emporia and Americus areas. It’s an honor to serve you in the legislature, and I value your feedback. Thank you for the opportunity.
 
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
 

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the 60th District

 
 

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


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