Copy
Learn more at JohnSkubal.com!
View this email in your browser

Dear Friend:

To say the past two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion might be the understatement of the year. I feel very humble, honored and excited about being sworn into the Kansas Senate to serve you; however, after meeting with the governor and hearing the State of the State address (SOTS), I also feel very shocked at the disconnect with reality.


New and Improved Scoop!

You will notice a change in the tone of the Scoop as we move from the campaign to the official work in the Kansas Senate. I will do my best to provide information in an easy-to-read format, explain any jargon I use, and help you understand a bill or procedure’s purpose related to your everyday life – all while not becoming an annoyance in your inbox!

 

I will cover what I’m doing to represent you at home in Leawood and Overland Park, legislative issues making headlines, the bills under consideration by the full Senate, and those bills debated in my committees. Please reply to any newsletter with questions, comments, or ideas to improve our state.

 

Housekeeping

Office Space

I invite you to visit me in Topeka, office 124-East, call 785-296-7301, or email skubal@kveng.com. Meet my office assistant XX (PIC with her).

I was grateful to enjoy the election results party with my family. 

Senate District 11 Resources:

Legislative Pages

Do you know a student 12 or older? If so, please encourage them to be a legislative page for a day during the session! Students run errands throughout the building and watch how the sausage is made first-hand. I need pages for the following dates: January 30th and February 9th, 14th, 15th and 21st.

 

Under the Dome

Meeting with the Governor and SOTS

Governor Brownback invited Senator Dinah Sykes and me to an introductory meeting with Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, a Leawood constituent. It was intended to be a get-to-know-you “gab-and-grab” time, but Dinah and I made our priorities very clear with regard to education and transportation. I was very specific about the need for expansion of Highway 69 through south Overland Park to relieve significant pinch points for thousands of constituents. The reason why people move to our area is for good schools and very reasonable commutes (not to mention the best jobs right here in Johnson County).

 

The State of the State address later in the day was a wake-up call. Senators sit with the House on the House floor, and I was pleased to be invited by Rep. Stephanie Clayton to join her for the event. Reality shone through the pomp and circumstance of the evening. The sun is still shining, our roads have never been better( tell that to I-435 drivers), our schools shouldn’t be worried, and we have plenty of money for new programs. The highlight of the speech was recognition of the Blue Valley’s district’s #2 ranking in the world in math and science scores.

 

On the Senate Floor

With PEOTUS Trump's nomination of Wichita Congressman Mike Pompeo to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a vacancy will exist in Congressional District 4.  It turns out the congressional vacancy procedures statute hadn't been touched in decades and was sorely out of date. The House introduced the bill (HB 2017) to reduce the signatures needed for an independent to run (from 17,000 to 3,000) and to lengthen the time before the replacement election in order for candidates to campaign. It passed the House and Senate with flying colors and awaits the governor’s autograph.

 

Committees

Utilities

The committee has been hosting overviews of the various industries for which we consider legislation. Experts in the wind energy, telecommunications, rural telecom, electric utilities, and natural gas fields each presented their industry’s current role and requests for consideration during the session.

 

The committee then turned to agency overviews from the Clean Energy Business Council, the Kansas Corporation Commission, and the KS Department of Health & Environment.

 

Ethics, Elections & Local Government

As a 3-term Overland Park City Councilman, I was thrilled to be placed on this committee to help protect local control for our cities and counties (and hopefully reverse some of the damage done in recent years). Our committee wins the prize for the first bill to the governor’s desk. The committee’s work began in earnest with the bill (HB 2017) discussed above to amend the congressional vacancy procedures. Technically, the House crafted the bill and passed it to us, but we were quick to approve it and send to the full Senate.

 

We also heard from the guru of campaign finance rules, Carol Williams, Director of the KS Governmental Ethics Commission. The buck stops with Carol and I’m grateful for her expertise in keeping our campaigns on the straight-and-narrow.

 

Transportation

We hosted the Kansas Motor Carriers Association for a “Trucking 101” presentation to learn about the multitude of laws governing drivers, owners, and trucking companies. The committee also reviewed the Division of Vehicles work over the last year. We will hear our first bill later this week, on restricted driving privileges (SB 5).

 

Ways & Means

We are diving right in with a crash course in every facet of state government financials:

  • Overview of how the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) derives its estimates – on which our budget is based.

  • The Director of the Budget also presented the governor’s budget proposal.

  • Alan Conroy, longtime head of the non-partisan Kansas Legislative Research Department, and now director of the KS Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) covered the pension plan’s more than $7 billion unfunded liability (amount we owe to future retirees that we don’t have budgeted to pay for.)

  • We reviewed the state’s long-term debt load with the General Counsel of the Kansas Development Finance Authority.

  • Conversations have begun on the state’s rescission bill for fiscal year 2017 (the bill to reconcile the current year budget and the $350 million we don’t have to pay for what’s currently budgeted through June 30).



Very truly yours,
John
Republican Nominee for Kansas Senate, 11th District
913-469-6641 (H)

Copyright © 2017, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list