Finch: Resolution on Olathe shooting shows there’s no place in Kansas for hate and violence
By State Rep. Blaine Finch, 59th District, Franklin and Osage Counties
Greetings to all of you on this beautiful St. Patrick’s Day. As I write to you we are winding down the week in Topeka but looking ahead to next week, the last week for committees to meet, hear and work bills.
Because of that looming deadline it has been a busy week in the Judiciary Committee as we hear Senate bills. This week we heard bills that would: help courts consider domestic violence in deciding where children will live after a divorce; help protect victims of sexual assault by making it easier for them to obtain protective orders; and strengthening penalties for those who commit residential burglaries.
On the floor this week we passed a resolution recognizing and supporting the victims of the Austin’s Bar shooting in Olathe. As our Speaker said these acts of hate and violence have no place in Kansas. We also heard from the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court who delivered the State of the Judiciary message in the House Chamber for the first time in five years. It was nice to have this event back in the building and to hear about the work that our court clerks, court service officers and judges do to help ensure all Kansans have access to justice.
And speaking of justice, this week House Sub for Senate Bill 42, the trailer bill to last year’s juvenile justice reforms passed the house 125-0. It was a strong recognition by the House that the process of reform has been a good one and great commitment to policies that will help kids turn their lives around, reduce spending on strategies that don’t work, and ultimately keep all Kansans safer.
One of the new hats I am wearing this session is serving as the Chairman of the House Rules and Journal Committee. So, this week I was honored to be asked to speak with the House Freshman Caucus on rules and their value to our chamber. They are an eager and capable group who want to do good things for the people they serve. Knowing the rules and how to use them will be a great help to them as they perform their service.
Finally, I had some wonderful guests up from the Elizabeth Layton Center in Franklin County. There were some case workers and some consumers of ELC’s services. It was educational to meet with those who use our mental health services, to hear about the challenges they face and the strain that our mental health system is under. Hearing these stories first hand is a powerful reminder of the need for these services and the good they can do for those who find themselves facing mental illness.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve you in Topeka. And to be in a position to hear the stories of people in our counties and do what I can to serve each of you. Please call or write if I can be of help to you or if you have an opinion on state matters. I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-296-7655.