Members of the local state legislative delegation will be discussing their work in Topeka and answering residents' questions at an open forum this Saturday.
Sen. Garrett Love and Reps. Bud Estes, John Ewy and Ron Ryckman, Sr., will be speaking about their goals in Topeka this session and responding to questions posed by the audience at the High Plains Journal at 1500 E. Wyatt Earp Blvd from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 1.
This forum will be the first of three scheduled by the Dodge City Chamber of Commerce for this session. A fourth wrap-up forum after the session is also possible, said Chamber President Dan Schenkein, though no plans had been set.
The forum gives legislators a chance to share their perspectives and talk about the issues they are facing in the capital, Schenkein said, and is part of a long tradition of the chamber hosting such events.
About half the time will be set aside for a moderated question and answer session.
West Kansas legislators scored an early victory after Gov. Sam Brownback proposed payments to oil and gas producing counties, which if passed, would effectively end the grievance that caused 52 counties to file a suit against the state.
That and other spending proposals, however, will likely rely on the largest issue facing the Legislature this session: school funding. Legislators are waiting for a ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that may create a floor for per-student funding. A previous ruling by a lower court was a judicial overreach, Brownback and Republicans legislators have said, effectively denying the elected officials' ability to make decisions about the state budget.
Another item that may hinge on the court's decision is a proposal by the governor to invest $1.4 million into the Kansas Soldiers Home at Fort Dodge, updating and improving aging and high-maintenance infrastructure.
The Chamber of Commerce and its partner, the High Plains Journal, will host additional forums on Mar. 1 and Apr. 12 at the same location.
Refreshments will be available and the event is open to the public.
For more information contact Dan Schenkein at the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce at 620-227-3119.
Since the publication of this article in the print edition, Rep. John Ewy has confirmed he will be attending. The web version has been updated to reflect this.