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Licenses, drug use, guns at issue

Senate Bill 68 passed the House -- that should mean that we can get our CDL license renewals at our local courthouse in the near future.

The House also passed a bill allowing drug screenings for the beneficiaries of welfare and unemployment benefits if there is a reasonable suspicion of drug usage. The goal is to help welfare and unemployment benefit recipients re-enter the workforce and find sustainable employment.

Benefits for children of recipients who test positive would continue to be paid through a third party payee who also would have to submit to a drug test.

The House passed a bill this past week updating concealed-carry laws to allow for transfers from other states that meet or exceed license requirements in Kansas.

An important issue that is a great example of how conference committees work. Last week, the Senate approved S Sub HB2052, a bill concerning guns in public buildings that would require school boards to either allow concealed carry in school, provide extensive security measures or get a four-year exemption by adopting an alternative security plan.

The House version of the legislation, HB 2055, exempts school districts from this requirement. Both bills allow school boards to permit employees with concealed carry licenses to bring weapons into schools regardless of whether the school is posted to prohibit guns.

The House either can agree to the Senate version or request a conference committee to discuss the differences and support its own position.

This week is going to be a very difficult week. I believe we will try to pass a budget and a tax plan before we get out of here Friday. Friday is the official "turn-around" day. We do not return until May 8.

I get to come back two days in April to work with the Appropriations Committee to finalize the budget bill. This has been a long session, and I have not had the opportunity to be home very often, and I am looking forward to northwest Kansas.

I will be out in the district several times in April, and you can always contact me at ward.cassidy@house.ks.gov.

Ward Cassidy, R-St. Francis, represents the 120th District in the Kansas House of Representatives. ward.cassidy@house.ks.gov