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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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Weekly Legislative Wrap-Up
It's turn-around time in the Kansas Legislature, which meant a flurry of activity in each chamber this week as numerous bills were debated and voted on.
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
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!!
Capitol Connection
Your resource for both live and archived committee room and chamber proceedings in the Kansas Statehouse!
Legislature hits first deadline

The Legislative session is organized with several deadlines in place to ensure that governing follows an established pace throughout the session. Legislators have deadlines on when they can request a bill to be drafted, and another deadline on when they can introduce a bill in committee. This is so committee chairs can efficiently plan their weekly schedules and not get overloaded near the end with everyone trying to propose a new idea. After those deadlines, only amendments are allowed to existing bills throughout the process.

There are a few exceptions to these rules. Three committees in the House of Representatives are considered exempt from the bill introduction deadlines. Those committees are Appropriations, Federal and State Affairs, and Taxation.

The recent deadline, referred to as turn-around, is a major concurrent deadline for both the House and the Senate.

All 50 states have a bicameral legislature where there are two separate chambers that make up the legislative branch, with only one exception. Nebraska has a unicameral body made up of only 49 members, which also makes it the smallest legislature in the nation. Nebraska started out as a bicameral, but abolished their House of Representatives in 1934 after nearly 20 years of arguing the redundancy of two chambers. Other states, like Pennsylvania and Vermont, initially set up single-body legislatures only to move to a bicameral system to install better checks and balances.

Ultimately, any legislation that becomes law in Kansas must pass both chambers and the governor. If a bill originates in the Senate, the exact language must pass the House before it can go to the governor for consideration. If any amendments to the original Senate bill are made in the House, the bill must go back to the Senate for their consideration of the changes. This can lead to quite the badminton match with proposed legislation before it ever makes it to the governor's desk.

Turn-around is the deadline when all bills must pass out of their originating chamber. Any bills not passed at this point are NOT considered dead because the Kansas Legislature operates on a two year biennium, so these bills will remain in play through next year as well.

Each yearly legislative session basically consists of three parts. Before turn-around when we are working our chamber bills, after turn-around when we are working the opposite chamber's bills, and the veto session. The veto session used to be only for consideration of bills vetoed by the governor and perhaps the omnibus budget bill, but lately the post turn-around part and the veto part have no distinct difference.

Having deadlines, unfortunately, doesn't mean we avoid procrastination. There is something to be said for the pressure a ticking clock puts on the negotiation process. Legislation that is relatively easy to agree upon typically passes without much fanfare. More controversial issues like budgets, taxes, and school finance, usually get played out until the very end when there is very little time left. Several years ago, no agreement could be reached on the budget and the session was extended well past the traditional 90 days. With the state's fiscal year beginning on July 1st, anxiety and consternation about a possible state government shutdown brought enough pressure on legislators to force an agreement on the budget... but not until late June.

That same type of delay also prevails as we approach the turnaround deadline. After a relatively slow pace in committee work, they kicked into high gear last week trying to get their bills debated and passed. In the final few days before turn-around, the House of Representatives passed about 35 bills, after typically having only a handful each day prior to that. After turn-around, we will have a full schedule in March before taking several weeks off in April prior to veto session.

Legislators now have a long weekend that is built into the legislative calendar immediately following turn-around. I like to use this time for town hall meetings across the district. Some legislators have a coffee meeting each weekend in their community, but some of their districts are less than six square miles whereas my district is six counties. I always look forward to town hall meetings and visiting with constituents, and I wish I could do it more frequently. The longer a legislator stays in Topeka, the weaker their pulse becomes for their district and local issues. I do receive many calls and emails throughout the week from folks from northwest Kansas, and that means a lot to me. I also try to make it home each weekend to be a dad and a husband.

If you're able, please check out the schedule for Senator Billinger and I as we travel the district this weekend and next week for town hall meetings - we would love to have you stop by and visit!
Town Hall Meetings Coming Soon

Saturday March 2
8:00-9:00 a.m. (MT) Sharon Springs Senior Center 223 N Main
9:30-10:30 a.m. (MT) Goodland Farm Bureau Office 1610 Main
12:30-1:30 p.m. (CT) St. Francis Public Library 121 N Scott St
2:00-3:00 p.m. (CT) Atwood Jamboree Foods Deli 106 N 4th
3:30-4:30 p.m. (CT) Oberlin BEE Building 104 S Penn

Tuesday March 5
8:00-9:00 a.m. (CT) Colby CCC Student Union Room 106
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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