That's more like it

It is downright refreshing to be anticipating the introduction of bills into the Kansas Legislature with eagerness, instead of dread. Last week, unlike the first week of the session, saw the introduction of several pieces of legislature designed to make Kansas better. Sure, there are a few on the horizon that we expect to be more of the same. And the specter of the Governor's veto lays in wait after the hard work of getting bills out of committee and passed in chamber. But what a difference from just one year ago.

We are on the right path, now we just have to support the legislators driving us this way, and make more gains next time.

Here's a short outline of some of what was introduced. (Note: there are already 52 bills introduced into the Senate, and 136 into the House, most are the nitty gritty of governing, but some are important to Kansans. We will be exploring them as the session progresses.)

Medicare Expansion bill introduced by Rep. Susan Concannon (R-67%) in the House Heath and Human Services Committee. HB 2064, called the KanCare Bridge to a Healthy Kansas bill, it was largely written by the Kansas Hospital Association and is intended to make heath care available to the 150,000 Kansans who fall in the coverage gap under KanCare. Read more: Medicaid expansion bill introduced in Kansas House - Lawrence JW

Bills to repeal campus carry. Two bills have been introduced to stop the campus carry portion of the concealed carry law passed previously. In the House, Rep. Stephanie Clayton (R-100%) introduced HB 2074, which simply removes the date (July 1, 2017) after which Universities would not have been able to restrict firearms on campus. Read more: Kansas House Bill Would Roll Back Campus Firearms Law - KCUR and Kansas lawmakers seek to undo campus concealed carry law - KC Star

Same day voter registration bills were introduced by Rep. Gail Finney (D-100%) and Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D-100%) and would allow for voter registration at the polls. This bill is part of the ACLU of Kansas' push to let Kansas vote. Imagine, legislation making it easier to vote, rather than harder. HB 2020 was referred to the Committee on Elections, and SB 49 is still pending. Read more: Voting rights advocates seek to rein in Kansas election laws - Lawrence JW

A bill to repeal the LLC exemption in the 2012 tax cuts has been introduced to the House Taxation Committee. HB 2023 is undergoing hearings now (Taxation meets daily at 3:30 pm, and there is an audio stream available), and would end the LLC tax exemption beginning January 1, 2017. Read more: Kansas House committee considers bill eliminating Brownback tax cut - KC Star

We are also following HB 2082, which would repeal the bill that took local control of property taxes away from local communities. And we are keeping track of a move that might try to balance the budget on public school funding cuts, despite the pending school finance lawsuit. This will bear close watching. We will be tracking these and other bills on our legislative tracking page, and recording votes as they are made. Stay tuned. And let us know of any other legislation you're interested in.

Remember to do more than vote: listen, learn, engage, and speak out.

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