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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • 2013 Legislative wrap-up

  • The 2013 Legislative Session is getting ready to wrap-up by sometime next week, hopefully. The Globe spoke to Senator Garrett Love about his impressions on the session.Legislators are still working to come to an agreement on the State budget before the session can end."The good news though," Love said, "is that we got...
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  • The 2013 Legislative Session is getting ready to wrap-up by sometime next week, hopefully. The Globe spoke to Senator Garrett Love about his impressions on the session.
    Legislators are still working to come to an agreement on the State budget before the session can end.
    "The good news though," Love said, "is that we got some new estimates in April for tax revenue that are much higher than the ones we were using in December. So now we will be creating the budget from the higher numbers."
    During this session, Love had the opportunity to serve in two leadership roles. He was the Senate Majority Whip and the Chair for the Senate Agriculture Committee.
    "Having the opportunities to take on both of these leadership roles was an honor for me," Love said. "Especially the Agriculture Committee, coming from a rural area of Kansas, the issues we addressed were very important to me."
    One bill this session that Love is especially pleased with passing deals with human trafficking laws.
    The new legislation requires offenders to pay more fees and fines, which then go into a "victims fund" to help pay for therapy and other necessary services to help victims move on and heal.
    "I think it's astounding that we have more slaves in the world today than we've ever had in history," Love said. "So I'm very pleased that this bill has passed. This is a very important issue to me and I'm glad I had the opportunity to work on it."
    Love also said that he's very happy with the passing of new laws requiring drug testing for welfare recipients with reasonable concern.
    According to Love, if the government has reason to believe people receiving welfare are using the money to buy drugs, they can be tested. And if the tests come back positive, they will no longer receive welfare.
    "This is similar to laws several other states have in place," Love said. "Except this bill also makes job training and treatment available for the addicts so they can get their lives back on track."
    The bill passed earlier this year with tremendous support from both the Senate and House, and was signed in by Governor Brownback.
    One thing Love was disappointed didn't progress as much as he hoped was a bill about Rural Opportunity Zones.
    A similar bill passed a few years ago gives benefits to those who move to rural areas of Kansas.
    "Coming from rural Kansas, I've seen many friends move away for college and never come back," Love said. "We're losing valuable resources when this happens, and that what these Rural Opportunity Zones prevent."
    Currently, 40 communities take advantage of these benefits and offer to pay student loans off if a young graduate lives in the area, or offer residents 0 percent income tax for the first five years they live there.
    Page 2 of 2 - Love hopes to expand the program to other rural areas of Kansas as well.
    "We've passed the bill in the Senate, but unfortunately I don't think there will be time to get it passed in the house before the session is over," Love said. "That means we'll have to wait at least another year before it's in effect."
    Overall, Love said he is pleased with how the session went and appreciates the opportunity he was given to serve on the Senate in his leadership roles.
    "I want to encourage anyone who has questions or concerns for me to contact me," Love said. "I appreciate your feedback."
    To contact Love, e-mail him at garrett.love@senate.ks.gov.
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