Category Archives: Opinion

Legislative Update

By State Senator Caryn Tyson

February 24, 2017

2017 Session – Week 7

The message some are sending out is “we want a massive tax increase now!” when they demanded support of Substitute for House Bill (Sub HB) 2178. The bill would have been the largest tax increase ever, even more than the sales tax increase in 2015 (which I did not support). This huge, half-billion per year tax increase would have been retroactive, starting 1/1/2017. You might not think that is a big deal, as we are only in the second month of the year; however, it could take two to four months to implement. You would have to decide whether to increase your withholding to handle the increase for the entire year, or owe a lump sum at the end of the year. This tax increase passed both chambers but was vetoed by the governor. His veto was upheld in the Senate.

Sub HB 2178 was bad policy. I voted against this massive tax increase and to sustain the veto. Some legislators didn’t know the amount of tax increase or that the bill was retroactive; they just knew that it was a tax increase and it would “stop Brownback’s 2012 tax policy.” As legislators, our job is to govern. Understanding the policy that we are voting on is critical. It appears that too many people are putting political sound-bites before sound policy.

The last week before the halfway point of session, both chambers raced to pass legislation to the other chamber. This is not a good way to conduct business. To make it worse, Tuesday the Majority Leader told senators they would have six more bills to debate on a day they had already been working 17 bills. This would give us less than two hours to prepare for debate and request any amendments. I strongly requested that leadership reconsider this reckless schedule so that we could be more diligent in working the bills. The expedited process is not a good way to conduct the State’s business.

One such example is Senate Bill (SB) 154. The bill seemed fine but after reading it, I found that the only way to file a complaint with the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability (KDADS) would be via KDADS ‘hotline.’ You could not write a letter, email, or submit a complaint in any other manner. Why should there be a law requiring you complain via a phone call to a hotline? There were 38 Yes votes and 2 No votes. I voted No.

Another bill that needed work but also passed the chamber is SB 144. It would prohibit the use of hand-held wireless devices in construction and school zones. Distracted driving is already against the law. If we try to list every type of distraction, we are bound to miss something. I voted No. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 21 Yes and 17 No.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.


Office Telephone: 785.296.6838

Telephone: 913.898.2366


Patty LaRoche: Beauty Salons to Boats

God delights in beauty salons. And if that isn’t true, I think it should be. After all, few places offer better therapy. Hairdressers will tell you that salons create connections. And that’s what God loves to do: Connect.

Here in Mazatlan, Mexico, I was recently in Tippy Toes, a salon owned by Debbie Rodriguez and known for its Margarita Wednesdays. You read right. Men and women book weeks in advance to be part of the mid-week fiesta for their pedicures, manicures, and haircuts. And, of course, free margaritas.

Debbie spent several years in Afghanistan establishing a beauty school for the oppressed women of that country. (I highly recommend her book Kabul Beauty School which tells her incredible story of courage and determination.) A few chapters allude to her fight against sex trafficking. I was intrigued. On my second trip to her salon, I told Debbie about my son Adam’s involvement in that field. She was intrigued. Three weeks ago, two YWAM (Youth With A Mission) missionaries came into her shop and began sharing their vision for preventing Mazatlan’s youth from being recruited by the drug cartels. The two ladies are just starting to dab into the trafficking business.

Connection #1

Debbie contacted me, and yesterday Heather and Andrea came to my condominium, and for three hours I listened as they explained their involvement in discipleship—growing young adults into a deeper walk with the Lord so they can use their talents to advance His kingdom. YWAM’s outreach in Mazatlan is exploding. They build houses for the poor, meet with state officials to teach Biblical principles to fight corruption, work to change laws that affect the youth involved in crime, offer medical assistance where there is none and share the gospel.

The ladies’ stories were uplifting, but the one that excited me most involved a couple who, sixteen years ago, was led by God to sell their house, buy a one-hundred- foot boat and raise their family on it. Their friends and relatives thought they were nuts, yet they never gave up their vision.

Last year they were in Hawaii and saw a docked YWAM medical ship. That was it! They immediately knew what God had planned—they were to donate their boat. Long story short—it was delivered to a nearby marina this past week. Dave and I were there when the missionary team welcomed it to Mazatlan. The plan is to gut it and reconstruct it to be a floating medical facility. Their prayer is for the right people to get involved.

Connection #2

Our friends George and Barbara have lived on their boat for five years, and yesterday they docked at the same marina. George is excellent at working on boats. I asked if he would be interested in helping to prepare the ship for ministry. He is.

Connection #3

God didn’t stop there. Yesterday I heard from Heather who had received an email from Debbie. Her newest salon customer is a retired attorney who worked in sex trafficking and wants to get involved. They hope to meet with Adam’s team to work together to make a difference. So, the next time you think your trip to the beauty salon is all about you, think again. If you see it as a place of connections that delights God, you will be blessed beyond a new hairstyle or a cute pedicure. Next week I will share how my connections were just the starting point for a much bigger plan.

Patty LaRoche: Time to Sleep

Liz Szabo of USA Today wrote an article saying that teens are deprived of needed sleep necessary to “to learn and stay healthy.” Her evidence came from the American Academy of Pediatrics that urged schools not to start before 8:30 a.m. because teens are biologically programmed to stay up later than adults. Apparently 83 percent of schools begin earlier than the recommended time, and since students need 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep nightly, there is a problem.

Patty LaRoche

Ms. Szabo cited more research. “Adolescents who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk for being overweight, depressed and using drugs, according to the CDC.”

The experts have spoken; kids need more sleep. However, instead of adjusting the national school start-time, perhaps we need to zero in on the parents. You know, the parents who aren’t parenting. The ones who fail to monitor their children’s bedtime activities (and time). For the life of me, I don’t know why it’s so difficult to set a night-night time of, oh, say 8:30 for the little ones and 10:30 for the teens…and mean it. With those hours, the kids would have plenty of time to come home from after-school activities, eat, do their homework, and catch some shut-eye.

I read Ms. Szabo’s article and thought, Wow, how times have changed! In my youth, boys and girls crawled out of bed at 5 a.m. to milk the cows and feed the chickens. My brothers woke up at 4 a.m. to roll the Kansas City Star and deliver it across town on their bikes. They also regularly filled in for the altar boys who failed to show up for 6 a.m. mass. (Because we lived right across the street from church, my brothers were perpetually on call.)

Those of my generation learned hard work, responsibility and stick-to-it-iveness. And let’s not ignore the fact that they also made good grades and something of their lives. I can’t recall any of my classmates burning the American flag, having their mugshots on display in the post office or cheating on tests…Well, maybe that one’s a stretch.

But seriously, what might it be like if parents removed the three electronic devices their children use as bedmates, not to mention the television mounted to their wall? What if, instead, bedtime included a devotional, a Bible or their multiplication tables? My three grandchildren in Henderson, Nevada, started school at 7:15. They made excellent grades, played sports, were involved in several activities and managed to get some impressive scholarships when they graduated. In their home, bed-time was bed-time. Not social media time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics—remember, quoted by Ms. Szabo—wrote this in a separate article: “…parents should monitor their (kids’) media diet for both duration and content. Excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity.” Hmmm…

Our children are a gift from God who has entrusted us to teach them about balance in their lives. By allowing them free reign with their techno-gadgets, we are doing the opposite. According to John 10:10, The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. What delight Satan must take in kids who idolize their social media toys instead of God. 2 Timothy 3:5 considers that a sign of the end times: People will be…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

I’m afraid that’s where we are, and unless the parents wake up, their kids won’t, either.