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Dear Friend: 

Thank you for your questions, ideas, and sharing your concerns over the last year. During this holiday season, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you and to be part of returning Kansas back to sanity and solvency. We have always been a pragmatic, common-sense state, and with a few years trying other strategies, we are getting back to the basics that made our state great. Organizations such as Americans For Prosperity have been sending several misleading mailers to our community about the plan we passed in the legilsature to restore common sense to Kansas. Many of you have contacted me with comments like "If AFP is coming after you, you must be doing something right". It is reassuring to know that you all can see that the work my colleagues and I have been doing in Topeka is for the betterment of Kansas as a whole. I am grateful for your kind words of assurance, thanks and support.

I wish you a joyous holiday season and a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous New Year! 

Here is the 2018 House Legislative Calendar to give you an idea of our schedule for the spring. Please join me at the following legislative forums in preparation for the session which starts on January 8. 

Upcoming Events 
Mark your calendars! I have set two dates for legislative updates after session begins:
Contact Rep. Karleskint
At the Capitol:

300 SW 10th, Room 512-N
Topeka, KS 66612

About the 42nd
Leavenworth County
Douglas County

Legislative Resources
Kansas Legislature
Kansas Cash (find unclaimed property)
Register to Vote
Vote By Mail
February 17, 9:00 a.m.
VFW Hall
910 E. 1st St., Tonganoxie, KS 66086

March 3, 8:00 a.m.
Riverfront Community Center
123 E. Esplanade St., Leavenworth, KS 66048
Under the Dome
Transparency in Topeka
A recent Kansas City Star investigation revealed a disturbing level of secrecy within many levels of state government. This culture has been made worse under Gov. Sam Brownback’s leadership, and the damage is severe. There have been years of underfunded schools, state employee pensions, and infrastructure. The state’s foster care system has literally left kids missing, unaccounted for, and a few have even died. The Department of Commerce gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to consultants with little oversight or results.

Sadly, these are not the only examples. There must be a change in culture and priorities within Kansas if we are to restore our state and regain the people’s trust. We began that transformation in the last session by reversing Brownback’s failed tax policies. The recent news of increases in actual and projected state revenue for the rest of this fiscal year and the next are positive signs. However, we must continue the difficult work ahead of us by properly funding our great schools, as well as bringing more openness and transparency to Topeka.

On the positive side, we have increased transparency in the committee process by providing live-streaming video in most committee rooms. The House and Senate floor is streamed on audio only, but I support adding live video as well. Many of these changes need to be made in the Rules of the House and Senate, which are voted on during the first few days of a new term. I can’t change the rules on my own, but I can control my own conduct and make sure you are updated on how I vote and why. Moving forward, while committee rules do not require recorded votes in committee, I commit to request my vote be recorded on all committee votes. Moreover, the best transparency I can provide to you is that I keep you informed via email, social media, and host regular public forums. I answer your questions face-to-face and screen-to-screen.
For a record of my votes taken during the 2017 legislative session, click here.
Because the legislature now operates on biennial (two-year) budgets, we will not have much budget work this year other than to appropriate money for a school solution. However, the budget is always top of mind as we seek to recover from years of budgetary neglect. Action taken in the 2017 session have been the salve needed to begin to heal those wounds.
In November, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, which develops the estimates for how much revenue the state will take in – on which the legislature bases the budget – increased revenue estimates by $230 million than previously expected due to the passage of the tax bill in June. We have begun to pay our bills – the next step is to restore funding to critical programs and begin to pay down the record-setting debt incurred during the last eight years.
School Finance
The House and Senate formed a joint committee to meet between sessions. The Special Committee on a Comprehensive Response to the School Finance Decision met for a few days and heard testimony from education experts on various options to respond to the multiple components of the decision. They do not have a bill yet, but I know bits and pieces of one are floating around, so I will keep you updated as things begin to gel. This will have a deep impact on the budget discussed above!

I look forward to continuing our work together to bring accountability, transparency, and reality-based budgeting to the Kansas Legislature. Please do not hesitate to contact me about these or any other issues facing our state. I am grateful for the honor of representing your voice in Topeka. 

Thank you, 

Rep. Jim Karleskint
Serving rural Leavenworth & Douglas Counties
Copyright © 2017 Paid for by Karleskint for Kansas, Lois Meadows, Treasurer, All rights reserved.