On Saturday March, 14, a meeting of the south central Kansas legislative delegation was held at the Marcus Center of Wichita State University. This meeting was a disappointment for several reasons.
First, at its maximum, nine legislators attended. This is a poor rate of attendance. At the meeting in January, about 22 legislators attended. About 40 to 50 citizens attended this meeting.
Second, after introductions, the meeting started with a highly inappropriate waste of citizens’ time. Rep. Steve Brunk, vice-chair of the south-central Kansas legislative delegation introduced a special presentation, which was a sales presentation for school software. This would have been an appropriate topic for a local board of education, or perhaps a committee at the statehouse, but was totally inappropriate for a legislative forum.
After a few minutes I turned to the person next to me and asked “why are we sitting through this?” A little while later, several in the audience expressed the same sentiment.
Chair Melody McCray-Miller explained that this was a presentation that was set up in advance by Rep. Brunk, and explained the need for this type of product, but this did not explain why the audience had to endure this waste of time.
The audience submitted questions to Chair McRay-Miller in writing. She read the questions, although many of the question-writers had to clarify their questions, so the exercise of taking questions in writing was a waste.
Here are some things the audience learned:
Rules of how Kansas many use federal stimulus money are not all available, and may not be until the end of this Month, or even into April.
A question about “proforma Fridays” put a number of legislators on the defensive, as they explained how they still worked on these days. Proforma sessions, according to the rules of the Kansas House, are for the “sole purposes of processing routine business of the House of Representatives.” Role is not taken, and votes are not conducted.
Racial profiling was a concern to a number of audience members. Somehow a mandatory seatbelt law, according to one speaker, contributes to racial profiling. Several speakers told how this is a community issue.
One questioner told of the need for records in child “need of care” courts to be open.
The bill that might allow residents of Sedgwick county to vote on slot machines is dead.
On Proposition K. Rep. McRay-Miller said that expensive properties increase in value faster than lower-value properties.
Regarding the Holcomb coal power plant. Rep. Myers expressed his amazement at the lack of information and the misinformation that is available. Sen. Kelsey said there’s not a lot of give-and-take on this issue, seeming to say that most members are pretty well established in their positions.
The meeting ended at 11:00.