Legislative Update- December 18, 2018
Dear friend,

After three months of traveling across the state, the transportation task force finished their work a few weeks ago. Our charge was to access all our modes of transportation and make a report to the 2019 Legislature.
 
What did we learn? The needs are great and different all across the state. West of highway 81, shoulders, turn lanes and surface improvements are needed due to the increased truck traffic. In our urban areas, congestion due to population growth and economic growth. Most projects fall into three categories, preservation, modernization and expansion.
 
Preservation primarily consists of sealing the surface of existing roads. Generally, 1- 3 inches in thickness. Due to the budget constraints from the recession and tax changes, preservation was limited. Preservation is important because it preserves our subsurface which saves us from replacing roads in the long run.
 
Modernization deals with adding shoulders and taking out tight curves and dips and valleys of a road. Many times, doing modernization projects you also address preservation. Shoulders are needed due to wider loads such as transportation of wind generators and other industrial products that have taken place in western and other rural parts of Kansas.
 
Expansion addresses the tremendous growth we are seeing in our heavily populated areas of our state, Johnson and Sedgwick counties. In 2029 Sedgwick County is expected to be 530,323 and Johnson county 734,065 according to WSU, Center for Economic Development and Business  Research. The intermodal in Edgerton and the Legends in Wyandotte County are examples of infrastructure needed that brought in jobs and business development to our state.
 
In Sedgwick County, many of us that use the north junction (235 and I-35) to go east and west in Sedgwick county and link us to highway 50 in Newton and 254 to El Dorado. The congestion is beginning earlier and lasting longer in addition to safety challenges of trying to get on and off the ramps.
 
After identifying what was needed in the next 10 year program, the task force had to come up with something that was affordable and within our budget. The number one recommendation was to quit stealing from the sales tax that was dedicated for transportation. The second, finish T-Works. We can achieve many of the proposals with the dedicated sales tax. The question becomes, how long do we want to wait to do the economic development projects that the Sedgwick and Johnson County regions need?
 
In order to address many of the economic needs, there were recommendations made to provide local units of government some tools to be a bigger player. One recommendation would be to give local units of government some demand transfers that they have not been receiving. If the state started to make these transfers, they would be restricted to transportation needs.
 
Other ways to provide local government a greater participation level would be some kind of a relief valve on the property tax lid. Local units of government would only be able to use it for economic development projects and the bill language would need to be very specific. The gas tax could be looked at since it has not changed along with fees for electric motor vehicles, EMV. EMV's do help decrease emissions into the environment but they are still weight and wear on our roads. There have been more and more announcements that car companies plan to increase the amount of hybrid and EMV's in the near future. As this happens, we will see a decrease in motor fuel tax receipts and a rise in EMV fee receipts.  Tolling on major arterials and fees for extraordinarily heavy and wide loads were other ideas discussed.
 
Rail was given some attention, particularly the Heartland Flyer, passenger rail from Newton to Oklahoma City and the importance of short line freight in our rural areas. Improving modes such as public transit, aviation, bicycle and pedestrian accessibility was also part of the report.
 
Finally, the report suggested an oversight committee to review where we are at five years into the program to see if any adjustments need to be made. Keep in mind, these are only recommendations by what the task force heard and saw. They will be reviewed by the appropriate committees during the 2019 legislative session and later made into bill form to ensure we continue to have safe highways and other infrastructure.
2019 Legislative Session
January 14, 2019

The 2019 Legislative Session gets underway on January 14, 2019.  The new Governor and statewide elected officials will be sworn-in along with all 125 members of the Kansas House and three new members of the Kansas Senate.  

Once the ceremonial festivities are complete, we will get to work.  The governor typically gives the annual State of the State address the first week of the session and outlines their budget.  I look forward to seeing the budget presented. 

My committee schedule is below and again this year the legislature will be live streaming committees and action on the House and Senate floors.  I hope you'll take the opportunity to listen or watch what's going on. 

If you have someone between the ages of 11-17 and they would like to be a Legislative Page at the Capitol, please email Carolyn.McGinn@senate.ks.gov or call 786-296-7377 after the first of the year.  I look forward to serving you this session and receiving your input, but especially seeing you when you visit Topeka.
Carolyn's Schedule

Ways & Means- Chair
Room 548-S
10:30 a.m. Daily

Agriculture and Natural  Resources
Room 159-S
8:30 a.m. Daily

Rules & Regulations
On call of the Chair

                                      State Building Committee
                                       On call of the Chair

The legislature now live streams all of it's committees.  Click here to find a committee to listen to.  Also, new this year, the Kansas Legislature has a YouTube page.  The House and Senate proceedings are now available on the YouTube page for the public to watch.  This will be a great tool to keep up with debates as things heat up in Topeka. 
Recent Happenings
Wreaths Across America

I was blessed to be part of the event at Vally Center Cemetery.  Thank you to all who served our country and those who came out to honor them.  

To learn more about Wreaths Across America, visit  https://wreathsacrossamerica.org/




Sedgwick County Association of Cities at McGinn Farm

Always good to stay grounded with those closest to the people, local governmental representatives have a monthly meeting at our farm in our recently renovated barn.  




Update from the Farm
Merry Christmas from the Farm

The farm has been very busy this fall.  After grape harvest, we've been putting the finishing touches our our barn renovation, welcomed a new ram to the farm and have been harvesting the latest crop of lettuce from the high-tunnel.




 
Wishing you a blessed New Year!
Contact Carolyn

Capitol Address
300 SW 10th, Rm  545-S
Topeka, KS 66612

Capitol Phone Number
785-296-7377

Home Address
PO Box A
Sedgwick, KS 67135

Home Phone
316-772-0147

 
Working for Kansas. Working for Us.

www.WorkingForKansas.com
Paid for by McGinn for Kansas Senate, Leslie J. Ward, Treasurer