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My Two Cents of Common Sense
"Northwest Kansas holds some truly inspiring scenery, contains a wealth of Old West history, possesses some of the finest educational institutions, promotes an entrepreneurial spirit, and is home to some of the most hard-working, genuine people I've ever met!"    ~ Adam Smith
1970 RD 3 Weskan, KS 67762
785-821-2568 (Cell)
300 SW 10th St, Suite 512N Topeka, KS  66612
785-296-0715 (Office)
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School Safety - the Kansas Safe and Secure Act

With plenty of coverage on KPERS payments being made up from missed years in 2016 and 2018, and action on the Kansas tax plan to address our rolling conformity with the changes in the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act, I am going to focus this week on a briefing we received in the House Education committee that hasn't been as well-reported.

It's a new program just implemented last year call the Kansas Safe and Secure Act.

In 2018, Republicans in the Kansas House of Representatives proposed and passed an initiative to help keep the children of Kansas safer and more secure at school. The Safe and Secure Schools Act requires the State Board of Education to work with other agencies to develop statewide standards for safety and craft security plans for each school district in the state.  It has been a collaborative effort involving the state Department of Education and the State Board of Education, Attorney General’s office, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Fire Marshal’s office, and others to develop and adopt standards for a successful program. 

They also looked through the funding requests from 156 school districts out of the 286 districts in Kansas. A total of $5 million was allocated to help schools make their buildings more secure.  Combined, these districts had requested a total of $13 million in improvements, so the funds had to be distributed proportionately based on enrollment and an on-site assessment of current security measures.  Eight different schools in northwest Kansas received a total of nearly $65,000 for security improvement. Unfortunately, the current Governor has not included any funding for this program in her proposed budget. We'll see what the final budget looks like once the House and Senate work it through the committee process.

The KSDE has created a website for schools to get more information on the Safe and Secure Schools Act. You can learn more about this program at www.ksde.org

The Federal Government has also recently published their final report of the Federal Commission on School Safety.  This focused on three broad categories: Prevention, Protection, and Response.

School safety is something we cannot ignore these days. We seem to live in a society where respect for the value of life has diminished and one misguided person can significantly destroy the lives of many. High density areas with potentially vulnerable people, like schools filled with young, innocent children and churches filled with unsuspecting congregations, are especially susceptible because they have very little security.

The Safe and Secure Act won’t change every school in Kansas overnight, but it can certainly help assist schools in analyzing potential weak spots in their security systems and establish professionally developed protocols to best handle the situation if an attack ever would occur.
Stay SAFE out there!  With frigid, icy weather from Topeka to my home right on the Colorado / Kansas border, conditions were treacherous this week...
My Irrelevant Soapbox: Sibling Rivalry
 
There was a little "showdown" that happened this week. As someone that bleeds purple, I have always enjoyed a good-natured razzing back and forth with fans of the red and blue. I even had a little fun with my Jayhawk-cheering chairman in committee the morning after the big game.

We love our rivalries, but when does it go too far? I have witnessed plenty of bad behavior from the most extreme fans of the game at all levels of many sports. From little league to the big leagues, and everywhere in between, our biased opinion can rear its ugly head at times when our discretion lapses.

What is it about the intensity of sports competition that can bring out the best in us on the court/field, but the worst in us from the stands?

As a junior high football coach, I’m happy to say I’ve never had a bad experience in all my games throughout northwest Kansas – we have some great kids from great communities. Respect and sportsmanship is something I impress on my student-athletes often, especially when the game or a certain call isn’t going your way. You can learn quite a bit and build more character by going through a difficult situation that you can from always winning and never struggling.

In a lot of ways, our very own Sunflower Showdown is similar to a sibling rivalry. Depending on your sport of choice, recent history seems to favor an upper-hand in dominance similar to that of an older sibling. On occasion, the traditional underdog scores a win... and boy that feels good! (Spoken from the experience of being the youngest child... sorry sis!)

But what I notice about some of the most fierce sibling rivalries is, while they fight like mad with each other, they stand strong together when someone outside the "family" threatens them.

Kansas University has a stranglehold on men's basketball championships. I don't know the count, but I'm sure any decent KU fan worth their salt will be able to recite that number immediately. If you're a KU fan and still reading this... you probably just did, maybe even out loud? If the end of the season nears and KU is out of contention for the Big 12 title - how awesome would it be to keep it "in the family"? While watching a portion of the game the other night, I noticed a sign that said "We own Kansas"... but I think a more appropriate sign should say "We own the Big 12!"

For now, enjoy the rest of the season. For me, while I'm learning to enjoy basketball more... I can't wait for football season to start!
 
Legislative Page Program

Do you know any young adults who may be interested in being a Legislative Page for a day? I am taking requests for the new session!

Here's some quick info:
  • You must apply - there are limited spots available.
  • Check in at 8:00 a.m. with the Page Coordinator.
  • Take a photo at 9:30 a.m. with the Governor (if available).
  • Observe the House Chamber as we gavel in and debate legislation.
  • Serve as an assistant to the Kansas House of Representatives, running small errands as necessary for myself and other legislators.Receive a $5.00 voucher for the snack bar.
  • Tour the Capitol, including the inspiring "Dome Tour", as your time allows.
You will receive a certificate of appreciation recognizing your service to the state!

Recommended for young adults at least 12 years of age through High School Seniors, the Legislative Page program offers a memorable experience in the Kansas Capitol. Learn how the state government process works by becoming a part of it for a day!

Each legislator is allowed a limited number of Page sponsorships per month on a first-come, first-serve basis. Be sure to get your requests in as soon as possible. If you have further questions, please contact me at 785-296-0715 or Adam.Smith@House.KS.Gov

 
Capitol Connection

Your source for important audio and video links (live and archived) to committee meetings and chamber sessions inside the Kansas Capitol
 
Video Channel (Live and Archived)
House of Representative and Senate Chamber Proceedings

Audio Channel (Live)
House of Representatives Chamber
Senate Chamber

Capitol Committee Rooms (Live and Archived)
Calendar & Committee Schedule
 
Getting ready to apply for college? Improving your test scores just got easier with LearningExpress Library, available from the State Library of Kansas. LearningExpress Library is an easy to use online resource that includes practice tests and tutorials for PSAT, ACT and SAT as well as AP. There is no charge to use LearningExpress and no limit to the number of times you can take the practice tests. Becoming familiar with and comfortable with the testing format and the types of questions helps to improve test scores. Go to  https://kslib.info/LearningExpress click on College Preparation Center.
 
Easy registration and self-supplied password is necessary and helps you save your practice tests and tutorials. If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas.  Most people will be automatically recognized as being in Kansas and will not need this step.   

Questions: kslc@library.ks.gov or 785-296-3296.
I strive to create and maintain constituent relationships through good communication. Two-way communication is essential to my effectiveness as a legislator in promoting successful solutions for Northwest Kansas! Please consider subscribing to my contact list or send me an email and I will add you.
Copyright © 2019 Smith For Kansas, All rights reserved.


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