LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:   Committees kicking into gear

Rep., 74th District

We have entered the second week of legislative session. The week was shortened by Martin Luther King Day and services scheduled for the wife of a House member on Thursday morning, so things have gotten bottled up for the week.

Despite the changed schedule, committees are beginning to meet. Most of the meetings at this point are for introduction of bills and to provide committee members with the rules for working legislation within the committee.

There are already emails and letters regarding the proposal to eliminate capital punishment. This is an emotional issue as those wanting to eliminate the death penalty say the cost to simply incarcerate someone for life is less than the cost to end their life. Another question brought up is how can we know with 100 percent certainty that the right person has been sentenced. On the other side, I think of the Carr brothers in Wichita. They were convicted of really heinous crimes and murder, and there is no doubt they were the perpetrators.

This week in Agriculture Committee, we have heard from the judicial council regarding their thoughts on corporate farming in Kansas. The law needs to be applied equally to all and that is the basic issue. Currently, corporations from outside the state have slightly different rules than in-state corporations.

In the early part of the session, committee meetings are shorter, so there is typically more time to study and review legislation and issues in preparation for later in the session. Since education funding and the question of what is known as “common core” implementation seem to be topics on legislators’ minds, it is a good time to study up for the anticipated debates.

 

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