March 13, 2020
There was no work on the senate floor during week 9 of the 2020 session, even though senators were present. It was disappointing. The messaging was that it was intentional. If that was the case, it would have been helpful to convey that message before the week’s end. Next week could be very busy on the floor, while committees are trying to finish the work before them.
Legislation 101 Senate Bill (SB) 294, the bill we are following in these updates, that brings transparency to your property tax increases, has been scheduled for a hearing March 16 in the House Tax Committee. There is another attempt by taxpayer-funded lobbyists to weaken or kill the bill. I would ask that they listen to Kansans. People across the state are frustrated and some are very angry with property tax increases. SB 294 is an important step to stop hidden and automatic property tax increases. Hidden because who will take responsibility for the property tax increase? And automatic because no action is required to raise your property taxes. SB 294 would have the governing body notify voters of a proposed increase and the meeting time and location when they will be voting on the increase.
CODIV-19 coronavirus has resulted in an environment of uncertainty. If you were planning a trip to the Capitol, please call my office 785.296.6838 before leaving home. The Capitol is closed for events and groups. Individuals testifying before a committee, staff, and legislators will attempt to conduct business as usual. The Governor declared a state-of-emergency Level 2 on March 12. As of Friday, March 13th, 8 cases of the virus had been reported in Kansas; one case in three counties: Franklin, Wyandotte, and Butler; five cases in Johnson County.
Kansas Health and Environment (KDHE) has established a website (www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus), phoneline (1.866.534.3463), and email address (COVID-19@KS.gov) with general information on the coronavirus. The information is being updated Monday – Friday by 5 pm each day. KDHE is recommending if you feel ill, please stay home and call your healthcare provider.
With all the daunting news, I’d like to share with you portions of Pastor Washington’s prayers, who is chaplain for the Kansas Senate, “Lord, help us to get our priorities in line with Yours… They say the virus is likely to have a 1 to 2% fatality rate but what do you say? Some say the seriousness is drastically underrated, while others are saying it’s severely over-rated. But still, what do you say? Some say we should stay home and avoid the public. Others are saying, ‘Just don’t shake hands while we do business as usual.’ But most importantly, what do you say? One set of experts is telling us one thing, while another set is saying something different — when to wear masks, and what kind, or when not to wear them. Lord, you have the words of life. In Genesis 1, all you did was speak, and the entire world was formed. So, Lord, all you have to do now is speak.”
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.