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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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State Fair Legislative Showmanship Program
Rep. Adam Smith recognizes 4H and FFA members in the Kansas House of Representatives
We all scream for ice cream!
What do ice cream and cheeseburgers have in common with legislation? Just because two things may be good doesn't mean they are good together...
Weekly Wrap-up on Legislation
It was a busy week as we approach the turnaround deadline, but here are some of the highlights
New Itern: Makayla Fox
This year I have the opportunity to host a legislative intern from Kansas State University. I look forward to her help on following important issues during the legislative session!
4H Citizenship in Action
The future of Kansas stopped by Sunday evening to hold session in our Kansas Capitol, and I had the honor of observing the proceedings of these young leaders in action.
Townhall Meetings Scheduled
Rep. Adam Smith and Sen. Rick Billinger will be traveling the district soon to visit with you. Dates and times are scheduled, locations are being confirmed
Capitol Connection
Your resource for both live and archived committee room and chamber proceedings in the Kansas Statehouse!
Legislative Page Program
Applications are being accepted for youth to serve for as a legislative page for a day - an excellent opportunity to see firsthand how state government works in the Capitol!
I had the honor of recognizing several 4-H and FFA members in the House of Representatives this week. These particular students were participants in the Legislative Showmanship event at the 2018 State Fair. As the 2017 Legislative Showmanship champion, I had the privilege of presenting the trophy to this year's winner, Representative Larry Hibbard from Toronto.


Rep. Adam Smith, 2017 Kansas State Fair Showmanship Champion
We all scream for ice cream

Every once in a while, when I’ve been spending too many late nights at my desk in the Capitol, a rather quirky analogy will pop into my mind regarding a circumstance that has happened either in committee or in the chamber while debating a bill.

Today, it was ice cream!

I love ice cream. Homemade, soft serve, whatever. I have certain flavors I like more than others, but I’ve never met an ice cream I don’t like.

I also love a good bacon cheeseburger. Farm-raised beef on my grill at home, dining at a restaurant, even a tailgate party at a KSU football game in frigid inclement weather… nothing beats a good bacon cheeseburger!

Something I do NOT like at all is hominy. Never cared for it at all, and I am not a picky eater. There’s just something about the taste, the consistency, that gives me a full-body shiver.


However...

No matter how much I love them – I’m not going to put ice cream on my bacon cheeseburger, or vice versa. Just because two things are great doesn’t mean they are great together.

In the same manner, I wouldn’t put ice cream in some hominy and expect it to be good. Putting something really good into something really bad doesn’t make the bad go away… usually it just ruins BOTH things!

This is the sort of situation we witnessed in the Capitol this week with some legislation that hit the House floor on Thursday.

The cornerstone of the governor’s budget rests on the re-amortization of KPERS. This is the concept that the state refinance our KPERS obligations to a longer term / smaller payment structure. Kansas would then use the difference between the current payment schedule and the reduced payment to fund other budgetary obligations for now. Anyone who has ever made a minimum payment on a credit card knows that interest-only payments, or even less, exacerbates the problem down the road and makes the total amount paid much larger. In the case of re-amortizing KPERS... that makes an additional $7.4B above our current payment structure. Ouch.

That’s the "hominy" we were debating.

In order to make the hominy appealing, there were several attempts to mix in some cheeseburgers and ice cream.

One amendment strategy was to add on a cost of living increase for retirees – the first one in years. That’s an idea that appeals to quite a few because they believe retirees deserve to have an increase in pension benefits as inflation drives costs up. There is a bill in committee right now that will do just that, so if it's a good measure then it will get its chance in debate.

Another idea was to make the $115M payment to into the KPERS fund to make up for skipped payments in 2016. Personally, I think this is a fine idea! When we skip payments, that has an impact on our payment plan as well. Even though I was not serving in the legislature in 2016, I will honor the promise that was made when the payment was skipped that it would be repaid when the money was available rather than just absorbed into the total amount of KPERS debt. Apparently others agreed with me... the bill that does this exact thing just passed the Senate unanimously and is now ready for action in the House.

Proponents of the re-amortization bill knew that most of us didn’t like it, so they tried to dress it up with goodies they thought everyone would like.

But the fact was, no amount of ice cream or cheeseburgers was going to make this bill palatable. It failed with even some Democrats voting against it.

I think I’m gonna go grab a snack…
 
As a part of the Citizenship in Action program, 4H youth leaders from across the state converged on the Capitol last Sunday evening for a mock session in the Kansas House of Representatives. Divided into groups, they discussed issues regarding water resources, veteran's benefits, and opioid abuse... some pretty intense topics!

This is always one of my favorite events of the year... watching the leaders of tomorrow develop their skills and creating statewide friendships that will serve them well in their futures!
 
Town Hall Meetings Coming Soon

Saturday March 2
8:00-9:00 a.m. (MT) Sharon Springs
9:30-10:30 a.m. (MT) Goodland
12:30-1:30 p.m. (CT) St. Francis
2:00-3:00 p.m. (CT) Atwood
3:30-4:30 p.m. (CT) Oberlin

Tuesday March 5
8:00-9:00 a.m. (CT) Colby

Stay tuned for further details regarding exact location of meetings, some locations are pending confirmation.
 
Wrap-up of the weekly agenda

It was a busy week as the legislature approaches our turnaround deadline. Turnaround is the point at which the House of Representatives has to have all of our bills passed and sent over to the Senate, and vice versa. After turnaround, the House will only be able to consider bills passed by the Senate, with the exception of a few exempt committees which are Federal and State Affairs, Taxation, and Appropriations.

Some of the big issues this week were the Farm Bureau health benefit, KPERS payment, commercial hemp, death penalty, and rural EMS.

The Farm Bureau health benefit bill passed the Senate 28-11 on Wednesday and will now be sent over to the House for consideration. It was speculated that this bill may be able to help around 42,000 Farm Bureau members receive access to a health care plan who have previously been unable to obtain affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The plan is available only to Farm Bureau members and would operate much like a cooperative.

A bill now headed to the governor’s desk is the KPERS repayment bill, which passed the House easily this week. The state has a history of skipping their required retirement contributions, it’s happened fifteen times in the past nine years, when the revenue is short and the state government is out of money. This particular payment puts $115M into the KPERS fund to help reduce the unfunded liability and makes up for a skipped payment back in 2016.

The Ag Committee heard and passed the Commercial Hemp bill to begin the development of rules and regulations for opening up the production of a new crop in Kansas. Hemp is a crop that is very similar to marijuana without the THC levels to be used as a drug. The crop has many potential benefits for fiber and oils production, and is adapted very well to the Kansas climate. However, due to its similarity with marijuana, we have to proceed very carefully to make sure we don’t make things more difficult for law enforcement officials.

There was also a hearing on repealing the death penalty in Kansas. As expected, there was very emotional testimony on both sides of the issue. There are 10 people on death row currently in Kansas, with the last executions being back in the 1960's. The two criminals responsible for the Clutter family murders in Holcomb were some of the last to be put to death by hanging. Kansas is currently permitted to use lethal injection, but has never actually used this method since the death penalty has not been carried out in over 50 years. The repeal bill has yet to be voted on in committee.

We also held a hearing on a bill allowing the driver of the ambulance in situations involving a stabilized transfer to be a certified apparatus operator or healthcare provider. In rural areas, often with a volunteer EMT staff, it is sometimes difficult to find enough certified EMTs to go on every run. Emergency response is critical, but in the instances were a patient is simply being transferred between hospitals, this new law would provide some leniency in allowing a properly trained operator/driver to drive the ambulance.

Like I said, it’s been a busy week, but those are some of the highlights!

 
Introducing Intern: Makayla Fox

Hello! My name is Makayla (MiK) Fox, and I am Representative Smith’s Intern.

Hailing from the Corn Belt state of Indiana, I grew up on a small hobby farm. My summers were spent baling hay, being involved in 4-H and spending time at state FFA convention. Growing up on a small hobby farm I learned the values of hard work, determination, respect and optimism. Through my numerous agricultural involvements, I developed a love for the agricultural industry. This passion inspired me to attend Ivy Tech Community College where I received an Associates of Applied Science in Agriculture Business. Once out of college I worked for Wilbur-Ellis in Indiana as a Precision Technology Specialist and Agronomy Trainee for a year before deciding to continue my education with a bachelor’s degree.

I am currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism with a specialty in Pre-Law at Kansas State University. I am looking forward to learning more about the legislative process and the current legislation that is in the works for Kansas.

If you get a chance to come to Topeka, don’t be afraid to say hi! Go ‘Cats!
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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