Local legislators meet with citizens
State Senator Elaine Bowers and State Representative Susan Concannon returned home from a week of legislative work in Topeka to listen to the concerns of their constituents recently at the Zion Lutheran Church, with Mitchell County Farm Bureau as hostesses. These two veteran legislators met with a crowd of about 25 at the meeting room of the church to inform them of their actions in Topeka and to answer questions. Concannon represents the voters of the 107th District in the Kansas State Legislature and Bowers represents voters in the Senate District number 36.
Senator Bowers and Representative Concannon outlined a typical day for them when the legislature is in session. They both were quick to point out that a “typical” day does not exist.
They often begin their day with a breakfast meeting and then it is off to committee meetings which take a great deal of their time. Lunches are usually working lunches. At this time of the year the House is not in session so their afternoons are devoted to committee or subcommittee meetings. Committees are composed of 30 or so members and subcommittees usually have six or eight members. Their evenings are dedicated to researching and study of pending bills. Concannon pointed out that a bill was simply someone’s idea about acting on an issue. She said, “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a good idea.” Each year lots of bills regarding taxation are introduced. Most die rapidly.
One topic that is getting lots of attention in Topeka is the attempt to force a statewide referendum on whether or not a woman’s right to an abortion is protected by the State Constitution. Last spring the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s right to an abortion is, in fact, guaranteed by the Kansas State Constitution. Abortion rights advocates are attempting the Senate and the House to put the issue to a statewide vote.
The Senate approved the vote and the issue fell four votes short of passing in the House. Surely this is not the last to be heard of the issue.
John Cashatt inquired about funding for foster care. It has been his observation that many kids who enter foster care need much more counseling and support than what they are currently getting. The end result is that they continue to be troubled and in many cases their issues become greater requiring more need later on.
Both legislators encourage people to contact them is they need assistance with a problem large or small. As members of the State Legislature they can provide special assistance to the folks back home.