At least one of the Salina area representatives thinks the Kansas Legislature will be called back to Topeka for a special session. That was one topic among several discussed at a legislative update session in Salina on Saturday morning.
Salina area state representatives were back in town to provide a final update on the 2018 Legislative Session, which all hope has been completed. A gathering of about 30 people jotted down questions for State Senator Randall Hardy and State Representatives J.R. Claeys, Diana Dierks, and Steven Johnson to respond to during the 90-minute meeting.
Topics ranged from concerns about budget issues, state employee pay, education issues, and gun issues.
Much of the conversation centered on education issues, and new school funding legislation passed by lawmakers. The new law was designed to increase public school funding by $534 million over five years. But $80 million of that funding will not be there because of what officials say was an error.
Senator Hardy said the he is confident the legislature will fix the error.
Representative J.R. Claeys said he doesn’t think the legislation will satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court. The court previously ruled that education funding in Kansas was not adequate. It gave the legislature until April 30th to come up with new funding that is “adequate”.
Claeys said that based on past rulings, among other things, he does not think the court will be satisfied that the money is being phased in over five years. He believes there will be a special session.
The legislators agreed they would be in favor of “common sense” gun legislation. Things including universal background checks, required training for those under the age of 21, and gun restrictions on people dealing with certain criminal charges and for those who have mental issues were all cited. Representative Johnson added “I’m in favor of any common sense legislation, no matter the issue.”
The Saturday morning gathering was the third and final legislative update planned in Salina.