Capitol abuzz with school finance plans

State Rep. Blaine Finch, 59th District, Franklin and Osage Counties

rep_finch_blaine_MGreetings from the Kansas Statehouse where it is sunny and 70 degrees today. As I write to you it is the first day of spring and we are a mere two weeks away from the first adjournment of the session. Discussions about school finance are underway and the buzz around the capitol is about the numerous plans for coming up with the $129 million needed to fund the state’s portion of education equalization.

We will likely see a combination of some one time money—funds that can only be had this year and not in future ones–coupled with some diversion of ongoing funding streams, such as the $16 million proposed to be spent on all day kindergarten as part of an opening proposal. With time drawing short the proposals and counters will be coming quite quickly and I will try to keep you posted as time permits.

In other news I was honored to carry SB 308 in the House today. That bill allows Kansans to add their mobile phone numbers to the “no call” list. The Kansas no-call list was started in 2002. In that year the best-selling mobile phone sold 15 million units and featured a screen that was 1.5 inches wide. The big development that year was the addition of a color screen. A lot has changed in 12 years. Apple sold 150 million iPhones last year alone and many Kansans now use their mobile phones as replacements for their land lines. Under our current law those mobile numbers can be added to the federal no call list but there is no state law mechanism to enforce the list. SB 308 will allow the Attorney General a state law basis to enforce no call protections for mobile phones.

The Attorney General worked with telecom companies such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon along with the AARP to come up with a bill that would provide good consumer protections and work within the current technological environment. With a vote on final action tomorrow the bill will be sent to the governor for his signature.

Also this week we were able to consider bills that would: expand insurance coverage for therapy for children with autism; address concerns raised about our veterans affairs commission by a post audit study in order provide better services to our brave men and women in uniform; and expand options for courts to sentence juvenile offenders to alternative programs designed for rehabilitation.

I was honored to have Ms. Samantha Lee from Ottawa High School serve as a page for me this week. And it was my pleasure to meet with Osage County Register of Deeds, Linda Massey at the Kansas Association of Counties meeting this week.

If there is ever anything I can do to be of service to you please do not hesitate to contact me. My phone number is 785-296-7655 and my email is [email protected]. It is my honor and privilege to serve you as your representative in Topeka.

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