Amidst all the tragedy and devastation caused by the recent wildfires of this past week, there have been many inspiring stories that speak to the true nature of the people of this area. From some of the hardest hit communities came some amazing stories of faith, resiliency and caring. The efforts of all the area volunteer firemen along with the work of all the EMS personnel and other volunteers was extraordinary. Tragedy has a way of putting our priorities into proper perspective. My family was not directly impacted by these wildfires, but we have been reminded how precious this life is. Please pray for renewed life to rise from these ashes, and that family, friends, neighbors and entire communities will bind together in love and support for each other.
Fire aid bill to Governor
The House this morning, in a 119-0 vote, passed to the governor a bill that will allow a sales tax exemption for materials to rebuild fences destroyed by last week’s fires. The House accepted amendments added in the Senate to lengthen the time frame for sales tax exemptions for both this year’s and last year’s prairie fires and to limit the sales tax exemption to existing fences that were destroyed by fire not redesigned fencing or any new cross-fencing. This will aid in the assistance to the fire damage area.
K-12 Education Budget Committee Update
The K-12 Education Budget Committee had a busy week. The agenda was mostly open discussion on a Committee produced finance formula. The Committee members addressed various components that they believe should be part of the final formula. The Committee is crafting a bill with components of other bills, and will hold open hearings when the bill is compiled. Since the Gannon vs. Kansas Supreme Court decision we are under pressure to not only resolve the looming deficits, but also to draw up a new school finance formula and determine the price tag for K-12 over the coming years. The solutions are daunting but are going to be necessary.
Rumor has it, Governor Brownback has been selected by President Trump sending him to Rome as Ambassador to the U.N. for food and agriculture. If this is correct, it would be a great opportunity for him to continue his career of public service elsewhere. No real definitive comment from the Governor and no moving boxes have been observed at the capitol. Several cabinet members have been more visible and some legislators have speculated about their future if changes are made. This is another distraction from the real issue of resolving the budget.
State Prayer Breakfast
On Wednesday, March 15, the 56th Annual Kansas Prayer Breakfast was held. The Kansas Prayer Breakfast continues to serve as a time for leaders to come together and pray. This year Major General Julie A. Bentz was the guest speaker. She has served in both the Bush and Obama Administrations. This year’s breakfast was well attended with several from my district participating. Pastor Ken Harder from Meade was among the attendees. Later that day the House and Senate adopted resolutions to honor ministers, pastors, and rabbis in Kansas.
My page request for this session has been filled. It has been a great experience for every one thus far. Call early next session if you are interested, as the slots are limited.
"Some people grin and bear it, other people smile and change it"
Representing you is one of the great honors of my life. If you have issues that I can help with, please call me any time. My number in Topeka is 785-296-7392. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. It is very helpful to email me the issues so I get the facts straight and can forward it to the necessary people. If you are in Topeka please stop by and visit, my office is on the first floor west wing, Office #168-W.
Boyd Orr is the District 115 Representative in the Kansas House of Representatives.