It was the last Legislative Coffee of the year, and though the conversation roamed, it always cycled back to one topic — education.
The last Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce Legislative Coffee of 2018 was hosted Saturday morning at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. All three Franklin County lawmakers — Reps. Blane Finch, R-Ottawa, and Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, and Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker — were in attendance.
Moderated by Ryan Henningsen, local Edward Jones investment agent, the morning started off with legislators giving an update on the 2018 legislative session so far. The discussion was then opened to questions from the audience; of the approximately nine questions that were fielded by legislators from audience members, seven pertained to the state’s education system. The discussion comes on the heels of the state Legislature approving a $500 million increase in spending toward the state’s schools. This spending increase is widely viewed as the culmination of the long running Gannon v. Kansas case, in which Kansas Courts ruled the state’s school funding methods to be unconstitutional.
The Kansas Supreme Court gave the Legislature until April 30 to submit a plan to adquately fund schools.
Finch voted in favor of the bill, while Tyson and Jones voted against it. Gov. Jeff Colyer signed the bill today.
Legislators also fielded questions pertaining to pending voting laws, the potential assumption of responsibility for the Flint Hills Nature Trail by the state (it is currently managed by a volunteer conservancy), and the state’s healthcare system.