After a legislative session that saw a flurry of questionable bills and various attempts to fundamentally alter many long-standing Kansas priorities, the Kansas legislature can’t do much more damage — at least for the time being. However, lawmakers will reconvene on May 8 for a wrap-up session, where some of the most critical work still will be ironed out — specifically a tax and budget plan.
The time between now and then is an opportunity Kansans shouldn’t let slip away.
As lawmakers return to their hometowns and settle temporarily into daily life, local constituents can — and should — bend elected officials’ ears about concerns regarding this session’s legislation, as well as offer instruction on how best to finish the state’s legislative work.
To let this opportunity pass by in silence is to cede it to lobbyists or special interest groups that will not wait to offer their own tainted advice and self-serving ideas for the future of our state.
In fact, this week the Topeka Capital Journal reported that some legislative members will likely spend part of their down time participating in the American Legislative Exchange Council Spring Task Force Summit in Oklahoma City. Speaker of the House Ray Merrick and Senate President Susan Wagle both serve on the board of ALEC, which has become notorious for creating “model” legislation that lawmakers can implement in their home states.
Those who attend the conference will come back with their heads full of ideas about what is right for Kansans — all of it put there by people who don’t live, work, pay taxes or raise families in Kansas. Such groups aren’t shy about telling lawmakers what they want or expect, and they will spend the legislative spring break helping lawmakers clearly see things their way.
Kansans likewise should let go of their reticence and use this time to tell lawmakers what is expected from them.
— The Hutchinson News