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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Melanie Meier's Adventures in the Statehouse

  • In This Issue

    - Back in the Statehouse
    - Governor's State of the State Address
    - Governor's Budget
    - Surprise from the Secretary of Agriculture
    - Keep in Touch
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  • Melanie Meier's Adventures in the Statehouse
    Kansas House of Representatives
    Volume 2013, Issue 1: January 20, 2013
    In This Issue
    - Back in the Statehouse
    - Governor's State of the State Address
    - Governor's Budget- Surprise from the Secretary of Agriculture
    - Keep in Touch
    Back in the Statehouse
    Monday, January 14th, 165 legislators took their oath, the new House and Senate leadership were elected and the 2013 session started. There are many changes this session in the House. We have 57 freshman legislators. I have a new office on the 4th floor of the Capitol and a new committee assignment this year to the Transportation & Public Safety Budget Committee. I am still the Ranking Minority Member of the Veteran Military & Homeland Security Committee and serve on the Corrections & Juvenile Justice Committee.
    Governor's State of the State Address
    On Tuesday, January the 15th, the Governor gave his State of the State Address to a Joint Meeting of the House and Senate. He began the address by welcoming the first woman president of the Kansas State Senate, Susan Wagle. He reported that, "the state of our state is strong and blessed and leading America in several key arenas." He went on to outline what he would like the legislature accomplish this year. The following are some of the key proposals:
    - establish the "Kansas Reads to Succeed" that includes: $12 million for reading programs, incentives to elementary schools that increase 4th grade reading scores, and holding 3rd graders back until they demonstrate their ability to read.
    - raise the State sales tax to 6.3% and further cut income taxes to 1.9% and 3.5%.
    - dissolve the Kansas Turnpike Authority
    - redefine "suitable provision" for education in the Kansas Constitution
    - elect appellate and supreme court judges (instead of the current merit system)
    You can read the entire address at www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/chamber/documents/daily_journal_house_20130115113425.pdf
    Governor's Budget
    This year the Governor is proposing a 2 year budget and his staff presented it to the House Appropriations and the Senate Ways and Means Committees on Wednesday. These committees will start their work forming the budget with the Governor's proposal as a starting point. All the state agencies will testify before the committees about their particular sections of the budget. The House has budget sub committees, such as the Transportation & Public Safety Committee that I am on, that listen to agencies and then work those portions of the budget and bring the Committee's proposal to the full Appropriations Committee.
    Page 2 of 2 - Some aspects of the Governor's proposed budget have already made the news. Such as his proposal to raise the State sales tax to 6.3% and eliminate the home mortgage interest tax exemption. His budget also calls for holding the K-12 Base State Aid Per Pupil (BSAPP) at the current level of $3,838, and proposes to raise it by $14 to $3,852 in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2014.
    You can read the Governor's full budget proposal at the following websites (it is in 2 volumes) at http://budget.ks.gov/publications/FY2014/FY2014_GBR_Vol1.pdf and http://budget.ks.gov/publications/FY2014/FY2014_GBR_Vol2.pdf
    Surprise from the Secretary of Agriculture
    Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman told legislators this week that they should consider repealing the current Kansas restrictions on corporate farms because he believes they may be unconstitutional and that they hinder the recruitment of agri-business and its growth. For the past 80 years Kansas has limited corporate farming to family corporations or corporations with 15 or fewer Kansas resident shareholders.
     
    Keep in Touch
    I am privileged and honored to be your voice in the Kansas Capitol. You can track my activities on my website www.meier4kansas.com, my Facebook page www.facebook.com/Meier4Kansas, and Twitter www.twitter.com/melaniemeier.
    If I can ever be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact me at home or in Topeka. My office in Leavenworth is at 309 Cherokee St. My Topeka office address is Kansas State Capitol, Topeka, KS 66612. You can also reach me at the legislative hotline, 1-800-432-3924 or e-mail me at melanie.meier@house.ks.gov.
    If you need to directly contact a particular agency in state government, you can find useful telephone numbers online at http://da.state.ks.us/phonebook.

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