A legislative update session featuring Salina’s four area representatives got off to an unusual start Saturday morning.
The event began with a confrontation between Senator Randall Hardy and Rob Fillion, who is a field director for the Americans For Prosperity organization. When the session began Hardy announced that Fillion was in the audience, and said the panel would only be answering questions from residents who live in the districts of the four representatives. A short, loud confrontation then ensued, with Fillion, who is formerly from Ellsworth County but recently relocated to Wichita, contending that decisions made by Hardy impact all Kansans.
After the unusual start, things returned to normal. Some in the audience of about 30 people jotted down questions for Hardy and State Representatives Steven Johnson, Diana Dierks and J.R. Claeys to respond to during the 90-minute meeting.
Topics ranged from education, gun laws, taxes, retaining business and jobs, expanding Medicaid, and even a convention of states.
Legislation which passed on Thursday lowering taxes across Kansas was a point of discussion.
Hardy said he voted against the legislation, saying it was too complex and politically motivated. He fears it will reduce revenue for essential state services.
Johnson and Dierks agreed that it is too complex, especially in changes on tax itemization. Dierks indicated she voted in favor of the legislation, knowing it would pass anyway.
Claeys said he supports the legislation, especially a portion of it which lowers grocery taxes. He added that if the governor vetoes the legislation he would support an effort to override the veto.
Legislators will be back in Salina for the third and final update on April 20th.