Local legislators prepare for new session

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Issues relating to the Kansas’ COVID-19 response and budget matters are among the issues state lawmakers from Leavenworth County anticipate taking up during this year’s legislative session.

The 2021 session will begin Monday in Topeka.

Something that lawmakers will need to address early in the session are provisions of the Kansas Emergency Management Act that are set to expire Jan. 26, according to Jeff Pittman.

Pittman, D-Leavenworth, previously served in the Kansas House of Representatives, but he will be sworn in Monday as a new member of the Kansas Senate.

Pittman said lawmakers need to extend the provisions of KEMA as well as modify the law to some extent.

“It’s going to be a high focus early on,” he said.

Pittman said lawmakers need to make sure the state maintains if not improves on its COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

A member of the Kansas House, state Rep. David French, R-Lansing, said the state budget will be one of the major issues to be tackled during the session.

“We’ve got some real issues with funding,” he said.

He said legislators are at the point in which they may have to look at making cuts.

“There’s not a whole lot to cut without affecting a lot of people,” he said.

French said lawmakers should not increase taxes.

Pittman said he wants to protect funding for education.

“We need to keep our eye on that,” he said.

Pat Proctor, R-Leavenworth, who will begin serving his first term in the Kansas House of Representatives, said he is interested in bills concerning accountability for property taxes. He also supports moving forward with what is known as the Value Them Both Amendment.

Supporters of the proposed amendment to the state Constitution argue it will ensure legislators can regulate abortion in the state.

Pittman said he is interested in pursuing a new veterans home in northeast Kansas, something he supported as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives.

Pittman said he also wants to work on transportation issues that will benefit Leavenworth County.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR