All four Salina area legislators returned home for the third of three planned question and answer sessions with the public on Saturday.
Over 30 people gathered, including Senator Randall Hardy and Representatives Steven Johnson, Diana Dierks, and J.R. Claeys for the townhall style question and answer session.
Each legislator offered an opening statement, and then they fielded questions from the audience. They answered nearly a dozen questions, most of them dealing with economic issues.
Johnson gave an update on the budget progress. He was not optimistic that there would be a timely solution, and was also not optimistic that a lot of people will be pleased once there is a solution.
While the three biggest issues right now are the state budget, taxes, and education finance, Claeys said that there really is a fourth issue. He said that growth should be added to the list. “We cannot tax our way out of this mess,” Claeys said. He cited STAR Bonds, a jobs bill, and an aviation education bill that are all currently pending as key to growth.
Monday will be the legislature’s 98th day. Traditionally, a session lasts 90 days, but legislators had budgeted for 100 says this year. It’s a near certainty they will go well past that.
Session lengths have varied widely over the past decade. A 73-day session last year followed a record 114-day session in 2015.
Only six sessions have lasted 100 days or longer, starting with 1990’s 100 days. Sessions were 103 days in 1991; 100 in 1992; 107 in 2002 and 100 in 2012 before 2015’s record.