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Contact Susan

 
In Topeka:
State Capitol, Room 149-S
785-296-7644
susan@concannonforkansas.com

At home in Beloit:
921 N. Mill Street
Beloit, KS 67420
785-738-8087
susan@concannonforkansas.com


About the 107th

Committee Appointments

Dear Friend:

Happy New Year! I am filled with optimism, hope and excitement for 2020! I’m grateful for you, for the opportunity to represent you, and to work with our amazing communities, schools, and law enforcement. 
 
I came back to Topeka this week and wanted to provide an overview of the major events of the last few months, what I’ve been up to, and what to expect in the coming months. If you find yourself in Topeka, please call or email so we can plan to meet up. My office is 149-South, but between committees and meetings, I’m rarely there. If I know you’re coming, it’s a lot easier to make sure I see you!

State of the State Address
Last night, Governor Laura Kelly delivered her State of the State speech to Representatives and Senators in the House chambers. It is always a dramatic event. She discussed her priorities for the next year and gave an overview of her budget proposal, which I will detail next week.

Grandma Brag Alert!
Since we last spoke, our family added another grandson! Brooks Loveless is our daughter Jess's first baby - Congratulations Jess & Nathan! Pictured here with cousins Carter, Burke, and Beau Harris.
Poll
Throughout the legislative session, I will be conducting informal polls on the hot topics of the session via this email list. Please share with your neighbors who live in the district (see the map) so they may participate. The more people who respond means the results are more representative of the whole.
 
Medicaid Expansion
As part of the Governor’s Medicaid Advisory Council, I’ve been to Topeka a number of times during the interim for meetings to continue working on a way forward. Governor Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) and Senator Jim Denning (R-Overland Park) have been on opposite sides of this issue for years. However, both recognized the need for expansion and started working toward a solution last May. 
 
This week, Governor Kelly and Senator Denning announced their compromise legislation to make Kansas the 37th state to expand access to Medicaid to the 150,000 Kansans making less than $35,000 for a family of four. The bill will be ready for consideration in the Senate first, where it has 22 cosponsors (21 votes are required to pass a bill in the Senate).  The following are key provisions of the plan:
  1. Monthly Premium: $25/per person, maximum $100/month for a family.
  2. Work Referral Program: Pairs enrollees with existing services for workforce training, resume and interview skills training, and job connections.
  3. Reinsurance Program: An actuarial study will be conducted to discover the feasibility of purchasing reinsurance on recipients who fall 100 to 138% of the federal poverty level. If we learn we will see savings for Kansas, we can move forward providing stability to the system.
  4. Mental Health: Medicaid to cover mental health services at mental health facilities with more than 16 beds.
  5. Inmate Health: Medicaid to cover medical procedures for inmates requiring an overnight stay.
  6. Deadbeat Drop: Should the federal government renege on its commitment to pay 90% of the costs of expansion, the state ends the program.
We have a long way to go before this becomes a reality, but I am grateful for the bipartisan effort to create a complete plan that could work for Kansas.
 
What to Watch for in 2020
Budget
Professional estimators expect the state to end this fiscal year with $900 million more in the bank than what was budgeted. This does not mean we have a bunch of extra money. What it means is we can continue to restore the basic functions of government like reforming our decimated foster care system, reduce waiting lists for elderly and disabled care, and recruit additional staff to improve the speed of tax returns. I don’t expect additional taxes, but likely a further reduction in the sales tax on food is likely to come up.
 
Schools
While the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the current formula provides funding which satisfies the requirements of the Kansas Constitution, we must continue to fund that formula to keep on the right side of the constitution. To continue that funding, an important provision must be renewed. High density at-risk weighting is a holdover policy from the previous formula incorporated into this one, and is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2020. This weighting provides extra funding for districts with a high density (35%+) of at-risk students, which is measured by the number of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. 
 
Constitutional Amendment
A recent ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court in Hodes & Nauser v Schmidt determined a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion. This proposed Constitutional Amendment allows elected officials to regulate and have oversight over abortions. A vote for the amendment would place the issue on the ballot (likely the primary) for the people of Kansas to decide. I am on the leadership team in support of this initiative, working with Kansans for Life, Kansas Catholic Conference, Kansas Policy Alliance of Kansas, and Concerned Women for America of Kansas. 
 
Judicial Funding
Every department will be looking at how to get a piece of the “surplus” in estimated revenues. However, even with raises the past two years, Kansas judicial employees are still in the lowest 5% in the nation in employee pay. This causes workload issues as well as “speedy trial” concerns. Six judges have filed a lawsuit against the state demanding more pay for judicial employees.
 
Higher Education Funding
Bearing the brunt of the budget cuts in the last decade, state universities have transitioned the bulk of funding over to tuition increases. With additional funding the last two years, the institutions are closer to the budgets they had in 2012, but still fall eight years behind while other states are competitively recruiting Kansas students.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve and represent you in Topeka.

Sincerely,

Rep. Susan Concannon
R-Beloit
Copyright © 2020 Paid for by Concannon for Kansas, Tamarah Pruitt, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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