Senator Elaine Bowers of Concordia and Representative Susan Concannon of Beloit hosted a legislative forum at the Beloit First Christian Church on Saturday, February 3. The pair addressed about 30 people in attendance on the current happening in the Kansas Legislature.
Bowers is the Senate Republican Majority Whip and serves on several committees including Chair of Elections, Local Government and Ethics, the Judiciary Committee, the Post Audit Committee, and the Utilities Committee.
In regard to the differing committees, she discussed hearings being held with rural cooperatives and municipalities in terms of where their lines cross. She also said work is being done to try to enhance the no call list in consideration of elderly people. They are doing a lot of work on how to deal with abandoned property at the local government level. She also said they are also working on legislation regarding state elections commission members.
She also discussed a new Supreme Court mural on third floor of the capital coming in May on dedicated to the famous Brown vs. Board of Education case. She spoke about upcoming new requirements for “Real ID.” She said by 2020 everyone will need a federally compliant ID such as Real ID. There will be a star in the corner of your license to identify it as a “Real ID.”
Concannon is the House Majority Caucus Chair. She is the Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, and she also serves on the appropriations and tax committees. Apart from the HHS committee, she serves on another committee year-round which deals with KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.
Concannon said there has been two billion dollars in federal money left on the table due to lack of Medicaid expansion in the state. In discussing Medicaid expansion and said she explained the concept to an opponent of expansion without using terms like Medicaid or Obamacare. She said they agreed with the concept when it was not tied to a political agenda. That same person had previously voted against the expansion.
The Appropriations Committee does budget work. They are currently working on a supplemental budget, planning two years out. She said they are also dealing with an unconstitutional, non-balanced budget submitted by former Governor Sam Brownback prior to his resignation late last month to take a federal ambassador position.
Concannon said work on the Tax Committee is at a standstill right now until Governor Colyer makes it clear what his desires are in terms of tax policy. There is little appetite for more tax increases after the repeal of the Brownback tax plan last year. There is a push to exempt gold and silver from sales tax. She said there is also little chance for any type of tax cuts. She also noted that the state supreme court is to rule this year on a potential internet sales tax which is intended to help rural areas and small business.