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Dear Friend: 

I’m grateful for a slow start to the session as it seems like I never stopped working after the last one. The Child Welfare System Task Force and related meetings kept me very busy during the off-session, but the opportunity to help make critical changes to the safety net for our state’s foster children has been fulfilling – and there’s still a lot of work to be done. 
 
Around the District
  • Money magazine named Lenexa as the best place to live in Kansas. As a Lenexa resident for 36 years, I have to agree!
  • The Shawnee Mission Post is now covering all of the county inside 435, and they’ve offered those legislators an opportunity to provide a column once per month during the legislative session. My first edition was last week. 
At the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner. The new chairman and his wife, Dennis and Julie Monahan, are constituents and friends from Shawanoe, Trailridge and SMNW days. 

About Linda

8-term Republican Precinct Committeewoman
5th Generation Kansan
30+ year Lenexa resident
913-631-3512
Email Linda
Visit LindaGallagher.org

On January 23, Sam Dworkin, a constituent and friend, came to the Capitol for ACLU Advocacy Day to discuss voting issues. 
Constituents, Greg Weatherd (left) and Jeff McKerrow (right), stopped by my office at the Capitol where they were attending Economic Lifelines Transportation Advocacy Day. Both are engineers working on transportation projects. 
During Local Government Day, I met with the Shawnee Delegation. That evening, I joined the Lenexa delegation for dinner. It was great to celebrate the hard work that our local governments do at the Capitol. 
In the News
On January 25th, Governor Sam Brownback submitted his resignation and on January 31st, Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer was sworn in to be the Governor of Kansas. Governor Sam Brownback's resignation was brought on by his appointment by President Trump to be the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom in Washington D.C.

As the Children & Seniors Committee and the Child Welfare System Task Force begin to report our findings and conduct further hearings, the Kansas press corps is doing a great job of reporting on the tragedies our children have been experiencing due to a decade of negligence in the Department of Children & Families.
 
I continue to be concerned about our mental health infrastructure; the recent death of a Blue Valley student and the deaths last week of two students at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School are stark reminders that these services are being pushed down to schools, which are not equipped with enough counselors to handle the demand.
 
Here are a few articles where I was quoted:
Constituent Resources
Real ID
Anyone boarding an airplane or entering a federal facility, such as a military base, using a state-issued ID or driver’s license after Oct. 1, 2020, will be required to have a credential that is Real ID compliant. Fees have not changed due to this requirement. Find your local driver’s license office and bring:
  • Valid passport or birth certificate
  • Proof of social security such as a social security card, current W-2 or 1099, or current pay stub with full SSN
  • Proof of Kansas residency, which can be a recent utility bill, your vehicle registration, or your current driver’s license. 
All documents should be unlaminated originals. For more details and a checklist that will help make sure you bring everything you need when you go to the driver’s license station, visit ksrevenue.org/realid.

Legislative Hotline
The State Library maintains a toll-free legislative hotline so our constituents may ask questions about legislation, legislative procedure, and more by calling 1-800-432-3924. Calls are answered by experienced reference librarians. Callers may also leave brief messages to be delivered to legislators.
 
Page Dates
I have been assigned the dates of Feb. 28 and March 8 to have legislative pages for this session. Boys and girls of junior high or high school age (at least 12 years of age or older) may be eligible to serve as a page in the Kansas Legislature. For more details, or to register a student to be a page on one of these dates, reply to this email or call my office: 785-296-7482.


Floor Action
This week’s legislative calendar
The first two weeks were “gavel in, gavel out” kind of days on the House floor as we wait for bills to come through the committee process. The most eventful activities in the House Chamber have been the State of the State and State of the Judiciary addresses by Gov. Sam Brownback and Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, respectively. 

Yesterday, the House debated two gun bills. The discussion focused on concealed carry on college campuses, whether to require a day of training and to possess a permit when carrying said firearm, and for what ages do we apply these requirements to. 

In Governor Brownback’s final State of the State, he spent quite a bit of time thanking those in service to our state, his wife, and other dignitaries. The most surprising element was his support for complying with the Kansas Supreme Court’s order to adequately fund schools, and he proposed a $600 million funding increase as part of his budget amendment for the year.

While both gallant events, the State of the Judiciary was a stark reminder of the state of our state’s budget. Chief Justice Nuss reminded us of the chronic underfunding of the judiciary as a whole in Kansas, that we remain in the bottom five worst paid judicial employees in the country. And that’s AFTER last year’s 2.5% increase for judicial employees. Even that modest increase was welcomed in the department where most employees hadn’t seen raises in more than a decade. If riots in our corrections system and dying or missing children in our foster care system are a symptom, many of the causes can be traced to an underfunded judiciary.
 

Committee Work
Children & Seniors
Committee Chairman Steve Alford, R-Ulysses, resigned his vice-chairmanship, as well as his chairmanship of the state’s Child Welfare System Taskforce after making racially insensitive comments recently about marijuana use among African-Americans. He later apologized. Rep. Erin Davis, R-Olathe, was appointed by House Speaker Ron Ryckman to replace Alford as vice-chair of the committee and taskforce.
 
Since the committee had last met, the previous Secretary for the Department of Children & Families, Phyllis Gilmore, announced her resignation as of December 1. Acting Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel provided to the committee an update on changes being made in the department and a brief summary of its requests for additional funding to fix many of the problems incurred over the past decade. We also welcomed testimony on the state of Kansas children from Kansas Action for Children and the Kansas Children’s Service League.

Senior issues will be on the forefront this session, and we hosted representatives from a wide variety of organizations who advocate on behalf of our seniors:
  • LeadingAge Kansas
  • Pine Village of Moundridge
  • Johnson County Community College Nursing Program
  • Kansas Health Care Association/Kansas Center for Assisted LivingKansas Advocates for Better Care
  • AARP Kansas
Government Security & Technology
Due to the confidential nature of much of our work, the committee met in closed session to receive briefings on cybersecurity attacks, the March 2017 Kansas Department of Commerce hack, and security audits for the Larned State Hospital and Fort Hays State University.
 
Social Services Budget

State hospitals were the major focus one day recently as we heard about Osawatomie State Hospital’s recertification efforts, as well as the plan of correction for the Larned State Hospital. Members also discussed an overview of the report from the Legislative Mental Health Task Force. As my colleague Rep. Joy Koesten is fond of saying – “There is no health without mental health.” As we learned of three more teen deaths in Johnson County, this is an increasingly pressing issue. The committee also heard an update on disability employment programs.

Transportation
The meteoric rise of self-driving or autonomous, vehicles has been an interest – and a concern – across transportation sectors. The committee spent two meetings learning about this topic from various presenters. We also heard overviews from the Department of Transportation  and the Kansas Turnpike Authority. 
Please do not hesitate to contact me about legislative issues. I would love to help your HOA, Sunday School, civic group, or even your Bunco group understand how state government impacts them, so don't hesitate to ask! I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,

Linda Gallagher
State Representative, District 23
Serving Lenexa, Shawnee, and Overland Park
Copyright © 2018 Paid for by Gallagher for Kansas, Joyce Thompson, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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