THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
Friday was turn around day and in preparation we suspended committee hearings and spent the week on the floor, debating and voting on 85 bills!! Counting amendments long hours were spent so that we could send the House bills to the Senate for consideration while the Senate will send its bills to us. Omitting failed bills I list what we passed for your consideration, telling you how I voted and what is coming up. In order to allow for printing of journals, calendars and all bills to be considered by the other chamber both adjourned until Wednesday February 29. As always you can get details on any bill by going to the state website: www.Kansas.gov. Here is the list:
THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
WEEK 6: THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
Busy, busy, busy. Turn around time is next Friday, Feb. 24 which means that the House must vote on all bills it wants to consider by then and send them to the Senate for action. The Senate is under the same time constraints therefore we acted on many bills last week and expect to expedite many more this coming one. Some of the more controversial and contentious legislation will come “above the line” which means heated debate and multiple amendments offered by protagonists. If you’re interested in following the status on certain bills go to www.Kansas.gov website. Contact me if you have questions or want to voice an opinion on any bill.
WEEK 5: THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
In 3 weeks we’ll have reached the halfway point of the 2012 session, or turnaround time, when each chamber only considers what the other passed. Inevitably, the Senate will make changes in House bills and vice versa. When this happens a conference committee from each will be appointed to find compromise language to iron out the differences. I’ve been on many of these committees and the dialogue is sometimes very spirited. On rare occasions we have to agree to disagree and the bill dies.
THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
As we entered our second month in session things are speeding up. Two deadlines are approaching: Feb 10 is the last day for introduction of bills (except for exempt committees) and turn around time is on Feb 24. After that day all bills must be passed out of one chamber in order to be considered for the remainder of the session. Bills not passed out are effectively dead until next year. In anticipation committees are busy working bills to get them to the floor.
WEEK 3 – THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS.
Week 3 of the 2012 session saw a noticeable increase in the pace of legislative business. Bills wind their way through committees and we already had a couple of final action votes on the floor attending to technical changes. More votes will be cast next week as the first session deadlines are fast approaching. February 10 is the last day to introduce new bills.
THANKS FOR ASKING – I’M ALL RIGHT
I’ve been busy preparing for the new session, which will begin on January 10, 2012, only two and a half months from now. I have had numerous meetings with child advocates, family members affected by state policy, members of school boards, SRS management, the Speakers and the Governor’s office, and other interested parties. The result, so far, is that 7 bills have been pre-filed and I intend to work them in committee. These bills deal with autistic children, their education and insurance, uniform seclusion and restraint policies for special education students, grandparent’s rights and preference in child placement and adoption, and for funding for the reduction of the DD and ED wait lists. If you are interested in these issues and want to testify, contact my office by Jan. 11. The first committee meeting is 9 am Jan. 12, 2012.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
I’m still getting questions on my health and how I’m doing after my stroke. I’m fairly well recovered, still a bit wobbly and with some difficulties standing and walking but I’m grateful to have recovered as much as I did, I can live with the residual disability. I recently had a consultation with a neurosurgeon and I am relieved that I will not need surgery; my chances for further improvement are still possible.
RECESS AT LAST
After a hellacious week struggling with the mega budget, the legislature recessed on April 2nd until April 27th, when we return for
the wrap up session. A substantial challenge will face us in trying to pass a budget acceptable to both chambers and the governor. During the three weeks we are home, House/Senate conference committees will meet daily to prepare a bill we can agree on, not an easy task.
BUSY, BUSY, BUSY
As the session winds down activities in the House and Senate pick up and both Chambers spent all day on the floor last week to vote on
legislation passed by the other. As usual many amendments to bills coming over from the Senate were offered and added in the House and vice-versa, which means the bill with the changes must go to the original maker and if not reconciled through the conference committee system to achieve a final version acceptable to both, it dies.
BACK TO WORK
After an absence of 18 days, I limped into the House Chamber without assistance on Tuesday, March 8 to a wonderfully warm welcome from my colleagues and staff. I spent the day visiting with leadership and catching up with paperwork saved for me by my loyal and efficient secretary June Christensen. It is hard to describe my emotions entering our magnificent Capitol again as I was more exited than when I first set foot in the building seven years ago and I’m honored to serve you. It’s great to be back.