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The committees are working on leftover bills that have been “blessed” or originated in exempt committees. They are also hearing and working bills that were sent over by the other chamber.

In our case, we are hearing senate bills. In federal and state affairs committee this week we had a third- and a fourth-grader testifying in favor of passing a bill to name the state rock as limestone, galena as the state mineral, and jelinite as the state gem. They did great. It is a joy to see young people getting involved and participating in the governmental process. The channel catfish was also named the state fish. The bill passed out of committee easily.

This is the time of year when students and their parents are evaluating universities, colleges, community colleges, and technical schools for next year.

I want to remind everyone about an excellent resource.Kansas independent I chaperoned the prospectus bill through education committee that requires the board of regents to publish the degree or certificate programs each university, college, community college, or technical school offers along with detailed information on time to graduate, expected costs to complete the program, estimated time to pay back loans that are expected to be used, the average starting salary upon graduation, and the expected salary after five years. This information is found within the kansas board of regents web site: https://ksdegreestats.Org/program_search.Jsp.

Additionally, when doing comparisons, the private colleges also have a website for information on their programs. The kansas independent colleges and universities legislative handbook is published annually by kansas independent college association.Kansas independent I find this publication to be very informative and would be useful in making career decisions. It is: http://www.Kscolleges.Org/_assets/docs/legislative%20factbook%20working%20file%202018.Pdf.

SB 405: A bill setting in statute department of health and environment rules for laying and broiler hens. Although there was emotional testimony by those living around tongonoxie where they successfully stopped the building of a processing plant, there are two counties that would welcome the business and desired that our statues be strengthened. It passed both chambers and now goes to the governor for signature. This bill is required for any future development of poultry production in kansas.

Sub HB 2572: this requires the department of commerce to create a database of economic development incentive program information.Board regents this will be searchable by everyone to determine the programs supported, their costs, and eventually what was the return on investment. This is a transparency issue that I supported and is supported by the majority of kansans.

HB 2740: this bill was heard in the tax committee and proposes an increase in the statewide property tax levy for K-12 education. Currently the rate is 20 mills with the proposal of going to 38.43 mills by 2020. As expected many came to testify against, especially owners of farm ground. It has been said this bill will never go anywhere. I don’t support this proposal and caution everyone that because it has been heard it is alive until the session is officially over.

HB 2416: this bill provides tax credits for companies that hire blind and/or disabled workers, making it easier for them to find work.Board regents this bill found unanimous support by the house and now goes to the senate.

The beginning of the conference committee phase has also begun. Bills that have passed both the senate and the house, but with differing language and a motion to nonconcur, are assigned a conference committee to work out the differences. In some cases, it is determined that acceptable changes are made by the senate, then the motion to concur is made and a vote taken. A majority vote of yes sends the bill to the governor.

Transparency in the statehouse is improving even more this week with the announcement of video live streaming in the house and senate. This is the time when session times fluctuate, but usually the house meets at 11 a.M. And the senate at 2:30 p.M. The link is: https://www.Youtube.Com/channel/UC_0NO-pb96cfabvxdwxaq8a

kansas independent

Sunday was a special day in wamego when the flint hills messiah chorus and chamber orchestra gave its 27th performance of handel’s messiah. Musical talent from all over district 51 and beyond put on this amazingly beautiful production under the direction of christine day and janet armstead, both of wamego. I have enjoyed attending, and linda has enjoyed singing in the chorus for seven years.

It is my honor to represent you and keep you informed with my newsletters. At my website, www.Ronhighland.Com, you can find a syllabus that explains in detail how to get legislative information. My contact information is: rm 561 W, state capitol, topeka, kansas 66612; 785-296-7310; ron.Highland@house.Ks.Gov. I look forward to hearing from you.