First, living in Hesston this past week has been anything but dull. Physical and emotional scars will take some time to heal, but the community is strong and will work through the challenges. Having this type of tragedy in the community will make us stronger and will increase the faith in God to repair the brokenness.
Wednesday we returned from a week off after legislative turnaround. The week is not too busy, but we will begin looking at what kind of bills the Senate has sent to the House for consideration.
A few items come to mind that will likely need attention. Of course, the court decision regarding education equity was rendered a couple weeks ago. People ask what is going on with that and if anything is being done. I am not directly involved in any of the discussion but House and Senate leadership and the governor seem to be discussing the issue.
What the end result will be is unknown, but there are several possibilities. I suspect little or no legislative action will be taken until after first adjournment on March 25 and we return late in April after a nearly month-long break.
That?s the funding part of education, but another issue is the curriculum part. Much of the curriculum decisions are left to the state board of education, but the Legislature sometimes dabbles in that a little.
HB 2292 has become known as the anti-Common Core bill. There are a number of additional issues in 2292, but eliminating Common Core is the main one. By the way, the full title is ?College and Career Readiness Common Core Standards.?
I fully expect we will have a floor debate on that bill, even though there has not been a regular committee hearing. The closest thing to a committee hearing is that 2292 was at one time a bill that had some similar provisions that were deleted to make room for the contents of 2676. It?s complicated, but a gut-and-go was done to make the switch.
The House and Senate tax committees will finally begin hearings on several bills. It seems that many of them are rather mundane except for a proposal to put taxes back on LLCs. If it remains similar to the way it was written, most of the revenue increases from that would be plowed into reducing sales tax on grocery items. A hearing has been promised soon.
The Legislature will need another budget bill when it returns in April after first adjournment, especially knowing revenues for February were off projections by $57 million. That will be the Omnibus budget and includes expenditures from all funds.
The state general fund budget is about $6.3 billion and the all funds expenditures are about $14 billion. All this will occur after the new revenue estimates come in the third week of April.
Of course, we don?t know what will happen to revenue projections, but it would be no surprise if they are lower, given that oil and gas, agriculture and general aviation are not doing well. Those are three big economic drivers in Kansas.
All the focus is on the presidential races now, but keep in mind that every Kansas Senate and House seat is up for election this fall and there may be some local elections to pay attention to as well. Obviously, we need to pay attention to all the upcoming elections, but campaign fatigue is already starting.
Rep. Don Schroeder represents District 74, which includes much of the southern half of Marion County.