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Pages pay visit; 4-H'ers make trip

A favorite duty of mine as a legislator is bringing young people to the Capitol and introducing them to the Kansas Legislature in an up-close and personal way. Shayla Scott, a senior at Republic County High School in Belleville, was my shadow for an entire day attending meetings, a lunch and had the opportunity to meet the governor. Zoey Rankin, Carly Sanders and Lauren Gragg, eighth-graders from Minneapolis and Miltonvale, served as pages in the Kansas Senate on Feb. 19. They also met Gov. Sam Brownback and had their picture taken in the Ceremonial Office before they toured the Capitol and climbed the 298 steps to the top of the dome.

New committee

I will be serving on a Senate select nine-member committee to study the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System chaired by Sen. Jeff King. President Susan Wagle appointed the members, and the committee will review the state's employee pension plan and recommend proposals to address funding concerns with the system.

Pastor of the day

Pastor Christina Fowler, Olive Branch Chapel of Russell, led the prayer in both chambers at the Capitol on Feb. 17. She was the guest of Rep. Troy Waymaster in the House of Representatives and mine in the Senate chamber. Her prayer can be found at www.kslegislature.org under the Journal tab by clicking Feb. 17 on the calendar.

4-H citizenship

4-H Youth from Senate District 36 and throughout the state were in Topeka for their Citizenship Forum learning about the legislative process in a hands-on fashion. The youth discussed four proposed legislative bills and then debated the bills at mock legislative sessions in both the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate chambers. It was a pleasure to join the 4-H'ers for dinner Sunday evening and to introduce and lead them in their debate on the Senate floor. They met with senators and representatives in their offices and presented information and shared their ideas of how they expect to contribute to Kansas. Their day ended by observing the Senate floor with a resolution honoring the Citizenship in Action delegation prepared by Sen. Tom Hawk and myself, a former 4-H'er.

Kansas business growth

This past year, 15,469 new businesses were formed in the state of Kansas. In May 2012, the Legislature approved a comprehensive tax reform package that, among other things, eliminated income taxes for more than 191,000 small business owners. Kansas is seeing the effect of those tax cuts with a record number of new businesses formed in 2013. This is solid data showing our state has become a magnet for job creators. Kansas is becoming one of the best states in which to work, live and raise a family. The full report is available on the Secretary of State's website, www.sos.ks.gov.

Sen. Elaine Bowers, R-Concordia, represents the 36th District.

Elaine.Bowers@senate.ks.gov