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Representatives ready for second year of service

1/12/2014

By RANDY GONZALES

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Looking back, Sua Boldra still remembers her feelings about serving as a freshman member last year in the Kansas Legislature.

"It's still an incredible honor," Boldra said of serving for the first time last year. "I just get giggly when I sit in my seat in that chamber, thinking that so few Kansans have ever done this."

Boldra and Travis Couture-Lovelady both acknowledge an upcoming ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court concerning school finance will play a key role in what happens in the upcoming session of the Kansas Legislature, which starts Monday.

"I think we're waiting for a ruling that's going to have some impact on what money is spent, where it goes," Boldra said. "I'm on the education committee, so that's going to be a big issue for all of us. It depends on what the court says."

In addition to the education committee, Boldra, a Hays Republican who represents the 111th District, serves on committees for agriculture and natural resources; energy and environment; and utilities and telecommunications.

Couture-Lovelady, a Palco Republican representing the 110th District, also was a freshman legislator last session.

"It was certainly a learning experience," Couture-Lovelady said. "I knew a lot of what I was getting into, but even then there were some things that were unexpected. This session, you know what you're getting into immediately."

Couture-Lovelady said legislators will have to explore their options if the court rules more money needs to go into education.

"The school finance ruling that's before the Supreme Court will have an impact in the session, which we're not sure yet what that will be," Couture-Lovelady said. "That will certainly change what we have to deal with, depending on that ruling.

"If they say we need to put more money into it, that's something we'll have to look at. I think if they come back with a specific number, that creates more problems."

Couture-Lovelady said it's necessary to look at more than just school funding.

"The key thing for us, I believe we still can promote economic growth, low taxes, low regulations, while still funding education," he said. "The key has got to be if we're funding education, and we're doing a great job with that, but we're not promoting growth and jobs in our state, we're just educating folks to go live somewhere else."

Couture-Lovelady will sit on four committees: rules, commerce, labor and economic development; taxation; and federal and state affairs, where he has been appointed vice-chair.

Boldra was surprised by how much a bill could change in conference after it got out of committee. As a member of a committee she no longer had a say in it, which she found frustrating. Still, she's ready to go back to Topeka Monday.

"I'm excited to go back; I'm excited to see what kind of things come up again; what things we don't finish that I wish we would have," she said. "We have much work left to do, but I'm also sure many of our constituents wish we wouldn't do so much."