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PREVIEW: A wise German Shepherd, the Daytona 500, and an important survey... all parts of this week's legislative update!
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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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Important Survey!
As important legislation looms, I ask for your opinion on a few key issues
School Finance Begins
House K-12 Budget committee started hearing testimony on school finance bill
German Shepherd outsmarts them all
Never underestimate your opponent... or a wise old dog. (How can you not read a good dog story?)
Capitol Connection
Your resource for both live and archived committee room and chamber proceedings in the Kansas Statehouse!
Kansas State Library
Did you know our state library has Talking Books available for download to Kansans with visual or physical impairments? Learn more about how to access these resources!
We briefly saw some blue sky which made for an impressive view walking back to the Capitol from downtown Topeka.
 
Important Mid-Session Survey

Please take a few minutes to answer 6 questions that are topics we may be voting on very soon in the Kansas House of Representatives.
Take the survey now!
I will post the link to the survery results in next week's newsletter.
Work Begins on K12 Finance Bill

You know, the legislative session is kind of like the Daytona 500… 190 laps of driving in circles – maybe a little bumping and banging, but for the most part you’re just trying to hold your own and not get caught up in any big wrecks. But in the last 10 laps, things start getting intense. Time is running out and everybody is trying to do the best they can... sometimes without regard for who gets in their way!

Well, right now we’re on about lap 150 in the legislature. There’s still time left, but things are certainly beginning to intensify.

This week, the Senate concurred with the House amendments to the tax bill, so that now goes to the governor to sign, veto, or let it set for 10 days to become law without her signature.

The Senate also just passed their school finance bill - Senate Bill 142, on a vote of 32-8.

The House K-12 Budget committee began official deliberation of their school finance bill on Wednesday. House Bill 2395 contains school finance funding adjustments and a cornucopia of policy changes.

It differs substantially from the SB 142, which is primarily a four-year funding increase plan with no policy changes.

BASE Aid per student per school year

Current Law
FY 2018-19 $4165
FY 2019-20 $4302
FY 2020-21 $4439
FY 2021-22 $4576
FY 2022-23 $4712

Senate Bill 142
FY 2018-19 $4165
FY 2019-20 $4436
FY 2020-21 $4569
FY 2021-22 $4706
FY 2022-23 $4846

House Bill 2395
FY 2018-19 $4165
FY 2019-20 $4371
FY 2020-21 $4512

Not to oversimplify it, but the current law would produce an end result of approximately a 13.1% increase over 4 years, which was deemed unconstitutional by the Kansas Supreme Court.

Senate Bill 142 would produce about a 16.4% increase in the same 4 years and is "speculated" to satisfy the Supreme Court, and has the backing of the State Board of Education.

House Bill 2395 would yield an 8.33% increase in a two year period and removes any additional increases following the 2020-21 school year and also removes the automatic adjustment for inflation in future years.

No one knows for certain what the Supreme Court would approve regarding the funding. However, revenue and expenditure projections for the state general fund show that the financial feasibility of the current law, let alone SB 142, become very difficult in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 without significant cuts in other areas of state government or an increase in state revenue.

As mentioned already, HB 2395 also makes quite a few changes to the policy in school finance. There are some good provisions and some that I feel may cause the courts to reopen the equity portion of the lawsuit. You may recall that the Supreme Court has ruled the distribution formula IS constitutional, so for that reason alone I am cautious about making any significant changes to policy that may affect equity.

We will be working on HB 2395 in the K-12 Budget committee which I continue to serve on. Hearings have commenced and will wrap up early next week and it is anticipated we will begin debating the bill and potential amendments following the completion of hearing all proponent and opponent testimony.

Look for a lot of action next week in the school finance!
Not EVERYTHING on social media is worthless...

Here's a good story I came across on social media that gave me a grin... thought I would share with you!
 
An old German Shepherd goes hunting for a squirrel. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly,

"Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.

"Whew!" says the panther, "That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, the squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from nearby figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes.

The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.

The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back. But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says...

"Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"

Don't mess with old dogs - age and intelligence will always overcome youth and treachery!
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
 
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, Japanese- even Swahili. Mango uses real life situations and conversations 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).
 
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@ks.gov or 785-296-3296.  To see all the State Library’s online resources, visit https://kslib.info/databases.
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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