Legislative session productive
Watching the news might lead you to believe that legislative work involves a lot of sitting around and partisan bickering and little in the way of productive policy that impacts everyday Kansans. With political agendas set from the very first week, we poise ourselves to be labeled as winners and losers, for we have very clearly staked our claims over the issues we value and hope to see movement on.
This year Republicans unrolled an impressive agenda that was met with some nay-saying and dubious observation.
Despite what pundits might reveal, hard work and careful planning has produced a healthy crop of positive legislation for the folks back home. Although I'm only going to highlight a few of the legislative initiatives that I am most pleased with, I thought you might like to get a behind-the-scenes peek at what session really looks like -- by the numbers the media sometimes leaves out.
Over the course of the past 82 legislative days, 125 House members and 40 members of the Senate have written hundreds of bills and amendments. Here is a look at House work completed this session, "by the numbers."
- 158 House bills were passed and sent to the Senate
- 14 bills died in the House
- 16 House resolutions were adopted
- 9 House concurrent resolutions were adopted and sent to the Senate
- 89 Senate bills were passed by the House
- 1 Senate bill was killed in the House
To summarize, the House of Representatives considered 287 pieces of legislation on the floor of the House over the course of the last 13 weeks in addition to considering other initiatives in committee meetings. As you might imagine, some of these proposals are far more controversial than others but each requires specific attention to detail, explanation and careful consideration before being voted into law. Because our days are limited and the proposals are vast, not everything makes it to the table. Some pieces go down for technicalities not realized in time. Others receive approval because of a strong majority. It is a tedious process, but we work each day to ensure that we yield a worthwhile product.
Among those 287 pieces of legislation considered by the House, there are many I am particularly proud to have supported. House Republicans lead the way this session, seeing nearly all of the objectives outlined in January receive passage in the House and Senate. Although each member is uniquely individual in their representation of their districts' best interests, all Kansans benefit from the passage of the following Republican agenda items:
- Pre-funding of K-12 school finance plan for 2008 and 2009 -- SB 30
- Strengthening of our crime and public safety laws through the passage of Alexa's Law
- Encouragement of our state's entrepreneurial spirit through tax incentives such as the franchise tax repeal
- Restoring the credibility of our state's electoral process through campaign & election reform
- Beginning the reformation of our state's health care system with proposals from the Health Task Force
- Committing the State to restructuring its employee pay matrix with the help of the Select Committee on the State Employee Pay Plan
- Holding the line on State Spending of Unexpected Revenues -- keeping budget growth at about 5 percent - almost half of the percentage increase seen last year.
So despite the news segments that point to bitter debate, winners and losers, and tales of a do-nothing-legislature, I assure you the House has been hard at work.
I believe that although we didn't accomplish everything I would have liked, we did accomplish much -- and the groundwork has been laid to come back at veto session and conclude the positive progress we've made. There is always more to be done, things that need fixing and room for improvement.
Thank you for allowing me to serve on your behalf to fix things up in Kansas, to magnify what is already working well and to keep an eye and what we can do better.