Senator Rick Billinger

Newsletter

January 15, 2018

 

Our first week back for the 2018 Legislative session kept me busy preparing several bills for introduction. One bill I continue working on is the home-owned amusement rides, agritourism activities and hope to have it ready to be read in this second week of session. As we continue to work this bill I will update you with changes to the legislation.

 

We are also working on legislation that will require municipalities that annex property outside city limits that are currently being served by rural electric cooperatives be compensated for their losses, electrical sales, and infrastructure. This bill was read in and introduced this past week. As of now a hearing has not yet been scheduled.

 

This year I am serving on the same committees as last year. Agriculture and Natural Resources,  Vice Chair for Financial Institutions-Insurance, Pensions and Benefits, Vice Chair for Ways and Means and Chair for the joint committee on Buildings and Construction.

 

This week the Senate President, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Ways and Means Chairman, and Senate Public Health and Welfare Chairman delivered a joint statement calling for the state to stop moving forward with their plan to make serious changes to the state’s Medicaid system called KanCare.

 

As many of you know Governor Brownback gave his final State of the State last Tuesday.  If you are interested in listening to his final State of the State the full text of the governor’s speech or watch the address. The governor spoke of his many dreams for Kansas and highlighted accomplishments within the state such as 17,000 fewer abortions in the past six-years and a decreasing childhood poverty rate. The one point that received the strongest response was his proposal for Kansas to spend an additional $600 million on school funding over the next five years.

 

Governor Brownback proposed adding a $16.5 million funding increase over two-years to strengthen child welfare services at DCF. DCF has been affected by a wide range of problems, including children that have been taken into state custody involuntarily, children having to sleep in social workers’ offices because of a shortage of emergency-placement homes, as well as children in foster care that have been reported missing. The $16.5 million enhancement would come from a mixture of funding, including the state general fund and TANF dollars. This is one of the largest single increase in child welfare funding in Kansas history.

 

Tuesday, January 16, Ag and Natural Resources will have a hearing on Industrial HEMP. The hearings will start at 8:30 a.m. and continue on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Previously hearings were heard in the commerce committee and a bill was passed out of committee but did not reach the floor of the full house.

 

It was nice to have many of the superintendents in my district stop by my office this last week while they were attending the KASB meeting in Topeka. Thank you for stopping by!

 

It is my honor and pleasure to serve the 40th Senate District and I welcome your telephone calls to (785)296-7399 or emails at rick.billinger@ks.senate.gov.