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PREVIEW: After final action in the House of Representatives this week, Kansans will be seeing a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this November.
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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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Constitutional Amendment
Kansans will have a choice to make on their next ballot...
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Constitutional Amendment on ballot

...and it does NOT have to do with school finance.

There is another issue regarding adjusting census data for our state legislative and state board of education districts.

On April 1st 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will be conducting the decennial federal census... theoretically counting every person in the United States.

Following the collection of that data, Article 10 Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution requires that our state census data be adjusted to exclude nonresident military and college persons, and to reassign resident military and college persons to their place of permanent residence.

Kansas is currently the only state in the nation that continues to adjust the census data for state purposes. The Kansas adjustment does not affect federal data, and therefore does not impact congressional districts.

Why was this provision put into our state constitution in the first place?

In the mid-1980's, there was concern that counting military persons where they were stationed and college persons where they were attending would over-inflate the population in those specific areas where they may not necessarily be permanent residents. Since state legislative districts, as well as state board of education districts, are based on proportionately equal population, the concern was that areas with military bases, colleges and universities were being over-represented while the rural areas where these residents may be originally from would be under-represented.

It sounds like a legitimate concern, but after nearly 30 years of collecting this adjustment data, the results show the impact on districts is quite marginal. Some of these residents claim their parents' address as their residence, some claim the census location as their residence, and some claim non-Kansas residence, too. Last census, about 13,000 military and college persons claimed residency outside the state.

Any constitutional amendment follows a unique process relative to other bills. First of all, it takes a 2/3 majority to pass each chamber rather than just a simple majority. If the measure passes both chambers, it does not go to the governor's office to sign or veto. It becomes a ballot question in the next statewide election for the voters of Kansas to give final approval. If a simple majority of the voters approve, it becomes adopted.

This particular amendment has been proposed three times now. It has never passed both chambers to be included on a ballot until now.

You may ask, why do we need to change?

First of all, the results of the adjustment have not shown a significant reduction in rural population nor a significant increase in urban population. That is something that could not have been fully proven until the adjustments were required and years of data analyzed.

Second, it costs quite a bit of time and money. The Secretary of State's office must place a phone call to each person that indicates on the federal census that they are military or a college student to ask them where they want to be counted.

That's a lot of phone calls.

It costs nearly $1 million dollars to perform these adjustments. My personal feeling is, that is a relatively small price to pay every 10 years to make sure we have the most accurate census data. But that is only if the adjustments have any significance. If we spend that much time and effort and money with only marginal impact - the value of the adjustment is much less significant.

Ultimately, it will be up to YOU as a voter to determine the fate of this constitutional amendment.

Look for this amendment in the November election this year.

Read the amendment

If you would like to read and learn more about our Kansas Constitution, the Kansas State Library has an electronic version and a printable version on their website.
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Consumer Health Complete covers all areas of health and wellness.  Did your doctor prescribe a new medication? Recently diagnosed with a condition? Look it up here.  Designed for the everyday consumer, this online database provided by the State Library of Kansas offers popular reference books, medical encyclopedias, fact sheets, and magazine articles. This full text database covers topics such as aging, nutrition, cancer, fitness, drugs and alcohol, even yoga. https://kslib.info/ConHealth
 
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.
 
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.
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