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Legislative Update - Feb. 13, 2023

More than 400 pieces of legislation were introduced and last week we voted on 8 bills that made it out of committees to the House floor.

Here's how I voted on last week's House bills: 

HB 2070:Allowing certain nondrug offenders to participate in a certified drug abuse treatment program. Voted YES.

HB 2069:Providing that the service of the postrelease supervision period shall not toll except as otherwise provided by law. Voted YES.

HB 2042:Authorizing towing by self-storage unit operators of motor vehicles, watercraft or trailers for nonpayment of rent or abandonment and providing for notice to occupants, aright of redemption prior to towing and liability protection for operators. Voted YES.

HB 2033:Changing the criteria used to refer and admit juveniles to a juvenile crisis intervention center. Voted YES.

HB 2010:Updating a statutory cross reference to provide proper jury instruction in cases when a defendant lacks the required mental state to commit a crime. Voted YES.

HB 2065:Allowing a court to change a spouse's name to a name that is different than a maiden or former name during a divorce proceeding. Voted YES.

HB 2014:Designating a portion of United States highway 69 in Crawford county as the Robert Lessen memorial highway. Voted YES.

HB 2024:Expanding legal surrender of an infant to include infant refuge bassinets. Voted YES.

SCR 1602:Disapproving the designation of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species in Kansas by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Voted YES. 

Other news from last week in my committees:

• HB 2330 - increasing the amount of state money to local health departments

• A number of bills concerning KPERS funding, including cost of living adjustments and investment practices

Education bills debated

During our extensive discussions in the House Education Committee last week on HB 2236 (regarding parents' rights in education), I stated that student academic outcomes are falling short, and have been for some time in Kansas. The results are an embarrassment for Kansans who work hard to educate children and we who support them as legislators and taxpayers.

Despite teachers' best intentions, less than a third of Kansas public school students are proficient in core subjects, and fewer still are well prepared to enter college (many require remedial coursework in freshman year). Teachers are frustrated -- we hear their testimony loud and clear. They're being held hostage by district administrators who won't increase their compensation or direct ample resources to the classroom to improve student performance. Teachers are rightly upset that their school and district administrators aren't helping to improve classroom learning. 

Parents are often stuck, too, without a way to change the deficiencies in classroom learning or to remove their children from unsuccessful learning environments or schools where the values being taught are inconsistent with those of their families. That's why these bills are so needed -- to give parents and families the right to object to educational material or activities or withdraw their children from that class or activity without adversely impacting their academic record. Read my full response in favor of HB 2236 and other education bills.

Student proficiency declines again...

...while spending on K-12 education spending climbs to more than $17,000 per pupil in Kansas. See the information below on how student outcomes are dropping. Read the facts here.


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