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Dear Friend:

Work on the Senate floor has been slow because bills have to go through the committee hearing process first. This means committee work has been busy with agency updates and industry briefings, and hearings on bills have begun. As you will see below, I’ve been assigned to a handful of new budget subcommittees. Those committees meet outside the traditional hearing schedule, which means 7 am meetings and 8 pm meetings, etc.
 
If I can find time in the schedule to take the stairs, a destination tracker would be very busy chasing me around the Capitol from meeting to meeting: 5th floor to the 1st floor, back to the 5th, back to the first or another floor if there’s a lunch meeting, then back to 5, Senate session on 3 and my office on 1! I expected to be busy but the pace and non-stop schedule has been the most surprising.
 
It was nice to see Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins in the Capitol this week, just a day after she announced she would not be running for office in 2018. She has a lot of spunk and is fun to talk to. It’s too bad Kansas is losing her in DC, but we will be glad to have her skills here at home. 


Around the District
It was a pleasure to welcome constituents this week! Sheila Dodson, DVM; Nat Goscha of Leawood won the Happy Birthday Kansas! 2016 Student Photography Competition; Arthur Smith, Mercy & Truth Medical Missions; and John Foster & Zach Lawry, KU and KSU students advocating to keep guns out of buildings on university campuses.

Senate District 11 Resources:

Map
Demographic Profile
Kansas Legislature
Kansas Cash (find your unclaimed property)
Register to Vote
Vote by Mail






Thanks to all who attended our most recent townhall meeting! We will continue to hold public meetings to ensure you are informed of what we are doing in Topeka.

State Library
On January 29, 1861, Kansas became the 34th state.  Explore this period of our history with the Kansas History database, which covers the Territorial period through the Civil War.  You’ll find 197 digitized letters, maps, personal accounts, reports and photos.  Use Browse to scroll through the topics, Search, or click on one of five broad categories for an overview of the early Kansas years.  Educators: each of the five categories includes an essay with corresponding primary source documents.

http://kslib.info/kshistory
 
If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas. Most people will be automatically recognized as inside Kansas and will not need this step.  Questions:
kslc@ks.gov or 785-296-3296.


Under the Dome

The Senate held a well-attended hearing on the “campus carry” legislation to extend the ban on guns inside campus buildings, or allowing the ban to expire. SB 53 would eliminate the ban and more than 100 advocates and lookers-on attended or participated in the hearing. I have doubts the bill will make it out of Senate committee, but the House will hold a hearing on a similar bill on Wednesday. My communications are coming in about 75% in favor of maintaining the ban and 25% want to eliminate the ban, and those communications are all from form emails. 

On the Senate Floor
Activity on the Senate floor has been slow as we wait for committees to do their magic and hear and pass bills through the process. We did confirm a new State Banking Commissioner last week, which was an important role to fill during financially complex times.
 
The Senate welcomed the
Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees as well as the official Teacher of the Year for the state, Jason Sickel. Mr. Sickel teaches vocal music at Blue Valley North High School in my Senate district. The team will travel the state over the next year, sharing their expertise with fellow Kansas teachers. I encourage you to watch this video featuring Jason: https://youtu.be/IshFxuVpV0g


CommitteesUtilities
The committee heard an overview of the natural gas industry in Kansas from producers, regulators, and industry experts. 

Ethics, Elections & Local Government
Currently, advance voting ballots must be received at the county election office no later than the hour that polls close on election day. SB 8 extends this deadline to ballots received by the 4th day after the election and postmarked on or before election. While the concept seems straightforward, this is a complicated bill and I was appointed to the subcommittee to perfect the language. We are on the right track but the bill needs tweaks.
 

SB 43 is a correction to a bill we quickly passed to comply with federal law for filling congressional vacancies. HB 2017 allows independent candidates to be nominated by petition of at least 3000 voters of the congressional district. SB 43 changes the wording to qualified electors, rather than voters.
 
How cities define “blight” has been a point of contention as cities attempt to protect quality of life.
SB 31 adds to the definition of “abandoned property” residential real estate unoccupied by the legal possessor for the past 15 months and which has blighting influence on surrounding property.


Transportation
Sometimes we have the opportunity to remove some red tape in government. SB 36 allows some terms in the statute to be defined by Kansas Corporation Commission rules and regs instead of statute. This will allow some of these rules to be more flexible to change without constant legislation.
 
It was such a pleasure to see Edgerton Mayor Don Roberts presenting on the Logistics Park Kansas City (LPKC), also known as the Edgerton Intermodal. I got to know Don during the campaign and his pride and excitement about his community is contagious. The intermodal is an impressive facility and the park boasts a 2-day reach to 80% of the US. More announcements are coming soon about large companies moving distribution facilities there.


Ways & Means
We’ve spent the bulk of our time delegating subcommittees to break down the multitude of budgets which need to be drafted both for the remainder of the fiscal year (June 30) and for the next two years, fiscal years 2018 and 2019. As a result, I have five more committees to work on the budgets for the Kansas Corporation Commission, Department of Education, Fee boards, Judicial Branch/Council/Indigent Services, and the Legislative Branch.

It is an honor to serve you in Topeka. Please do not hesitate to contact me about these or other legislative issues. 

Very truly yours,

John Skubal
Senator, 11th District
913-469-6641 (H)

Copyright © 2017, All rights reserved.


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