Jeff Pittman's Statehouse Update - January 30, 2017

Here are some highlights from the last week in Topeka and back home:

As everyone knows, our state budget is a wreck. I recently wrote an op-ed to the Leavenworth Times that I cross-posted on my site.

As part of my service, I'd like to update our readers on what's going on in Topeka. Kansas 2017 legislative session is well underway, having been sworn in on Jan 9th.

Representing Leavenworth and Fort Leavenworth, I'm on the following committees: Military & Veterans affairs committee to best represent Leavenworth's vested military interests; the new Security & Technology to leverage my background in protecting our citizens; Transportation to represent our economic development interests in infrastructure; and Agriculture to represent our interests in the single biggest economic driver in Kansas.

The Kansas budget crisis is on everyone's minds in the Legislature. In order to balance the immediate budget that was put in place last year for the current year, the State needs to cover approximately $350 Mil that is not currently available with the Governor and former Legislature's tax plan. One can argue why the state is in this bad situation, but more importantly we have to fix it. There are a few proposals on the table. (READ MORE HERE.)

We have some good news: a smart colleague, Rep. Adam Lusker, was appointed by a bipartisan vote to chair a committee--the only Democrat to do so! 

In a 6-4 bipartisan vote, Rep. Lusker of Frontenac was elected Chairman of the Joint Committee for State Building Construction. This was an unprecedented show of bipartisanship, with both Republican and Democratic legislators placing Lusker’s experience before politics. He is now the only Democrat to chair a committee within the entire Kansas Legislature. Congratulations to Rep. Lusker!

It was a relatively light week on the floor, but we did have votes on four healthcare bills. One healthcare bill was formally passed, and the rest passed on a voice vote – final action will occur TODAY, Monday, January 30th, but all three are expected to pass. 
● HB 2025 (final action Monday) An act relating to assistant attorneys general 
● HB 2026 (passed Thursday) An act concerning the board of nursing; reinstatement of licenses; fees
● HB 2027 (final action Monday) An act concerning the healing arts; relating to anatomic pathology billing
● HB 2028 (final action Monday) An act concerning the mental health technician’s licensure act

If there is one thing that alum could point to at Leavenworth that makes it unique, it would be the pervasiveness of the JROTC experience at our high school through the years. Tonight we celebrated 100 years since the State department endorsed the Leavenworth JROTC -- and the Leavenworth cadet tradition actually extends beyond that to the 1880's. I was proud to be able to give the Kansas House signed commendation to the JROTC commander recognizing our local unit's outstanding 100 year tradition.

Thanks so much for all your questions, your emails and your input. Please--keep it coming! Looking forward to the week ahead.