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SPOTLIGHT
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Much remains to be done as legislative session winds down

Published on -5/6/2012, 2:05 PM

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The veto session, which we are currently in, is scheduled to go until May 11. Veto session is traditionally dedicated to addressing bills approved or vetoed by the governor and to finish the state budget. The redistricting of the Senate map has caused the process to slow down.

On Tuesday, the Senate finally approved a map that I can't vote for.

If the Senate map would be adopted, we would lose another Senate seat from western Kansas.

The same day we finished the omnibus bill in Appropriations. I cannot tell you how much I learned by being on this committee. It was exciting and frustrating to be on the committee that passes out a $14 billion all-fund budget. There were many items on this bill that I opposed, but the majority won out. There were several instances where my input helped western Kansas. I do feel that we are in much better fiscal shape than we were just two years ago, and I appreciate having a statutory required ending balance.

Most of my constituent contacts recently have dealt with the governor's tax proposals. I cannot support the current proposals because of the extreme gamble that we can grow the economy enough to make up for the income tax cut. We were shown projections it would take thousands of new jobs to make up for the shortfall and that in 2014 we could have a $14 million deficit. Most of my letters want lower sales tax, less property tax, and a break for small business. Like many bill proposals that we see, you have to look at the whole picture and not just one piece that looks good.

I received many emails about the Obama administration and its proposal regarding family farm child labor laws. Specifically, the rule would have changed the extent to which children could work on farms owned by family members -- including driving most power driven equipment. Although this was a federal issue, I forwarded these emails to Sen. Jerry Moran. Last week, the Obama administration withdrew the attempt. The ability for Kansas families to continue passing down long-standing traditions from generation to generation is part of our state's culture, and I am glad that our children will still have the opportunity to help on the farm.

A major issue this year is KanCare. The governor's office has been afraid of how the federal cuts to Medicaid would affect our state's budget and has attempted to set up a program that would provide services more effectively. I feel that we moved too quickly and that there are problems with the entire KanCare package. I voted in Appropriations to carve out the developmentally disabled section and postpone implementation until Jan. 1, 2014.

There are many important issues to still be decided. I will do my best to represent the interests of our district.

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

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