The new House and Senate members who Save Kansas—which all our living former Governors support—played a role in electing have been making several positive contributions. So far, despite being new, they are not only following through on their commitments with the votes they cast but also, in many cases, are providing strong leadership. Normally, I might advise and expect new members at this point to listen, stay in their seats, and let the veterans take the lead. But, given the struggles of recent legislative sessions, I am most happy with the way they are engaged. In my opinion, the state is going to really benefit from the class of 2016—hopefully for years and terms to come.
As to specifics, on the positive side of the issue ledger, it appears the remaining budget questions for Fiscal Year 2017 (ends June 30) are resolved without making further cuts. The leading success to date that I wrote about last week is the progress towards repealing the Governor’s tax experiment. But the House didn’t stop there. They went on to pass Medicaid expansion with 80 plus votes and also a bill to restore due process rights to our state’s educators. All of this is just more evidence of how much the election of 2016 is positively impacting Kansas.
I also continue to be encouraged by the level of engagement from the citizens of our state, who have been pushing for change and sustaining their energy and focus on the problems that need solving—both during the election cycle and throughout the first weeks of the session. This element will be absolutely critical to any successes moving forward.
On the negative side, what stands out for me is the unwillingness to address the rightful concern about guns on campuses. Even just focusing this issue on KU Medical Center couldn’t get out of committee. I will have more to say on this soon, but suffice to say I want to believe common sense will prevail before sine die adjournment in late May.