Friday, November 21, 2014

JONES: Back at the legislative playground

By KEVIN JONES, The Playground | 1/17/2014

One of my goals during this 2014 legislative session is to communicate more often with you. While in the U.S. Army Ranger school, I began to appreciate a very basic yet vital principle in good and effective leadership: dissemination of information. If just one of our unit’s soldiers did not know the route, distance, or what to expect along the way, that little piece of information could very well cost us the whole mission.

First week

One of my goals during this 2014 legislative session is to communicate more often with you. While in the U.S. Army Ranger school, I began to appreciate a very basic yet vital principle in good and effective leadership: dissemination of information. If just one of our unit’s soldiers did not know the route, distance, or what to expect along the way, that little piece of information could very well cost us the whole mission.

First week

The first week of the 2014 Kansas legislative session has come to an end, and what a week it has been! There always is a lot of excitement surrounding the myriad of introductions, receptions, speeches and changes that take place here in our Kansas Capitol. One of those changes is that most of the construction is done and equipment removed, and our Kansas Capitol Building is awesome. The decisions for the $90 million-turned-$330 million renovation were made before my time, but it really is functional, historic and beautiful. It is well worth the visit, and I would welcome your company.

State of the State

The center point of this week was Gov. Sam Brownback’s State of the State address. In it, he spoke of a few topics that are good for us all to be aware of.

First, believe it or not, Kansas is hurting for water. The governor noted the steps the Legislature has taken to extend the life of the Ogallala Aquifer, but our crops and families are dependent upon this. Water is one of the essentials for all life and should not be taken lightly.

Second, he spoke highly of the State Board of Education’s proposal to increase the student count for kindergarten-age students during the next five years. The idea is for the state to ultimately fund all-day kindergarten as the economy grows. I like the vision; I’m just not certain on the dollar side or on the outcomes.

Finally, our governor was very clear when he quoted the oath all public office holders take, noting, “All political power is inherent in the people.” Considering the pending Gannon case on adequately funding education, he continued, “ ... the Constitution empowers the Legislature — the people’s representatives — to fund our schools. This is the people’s business, done by the people’s house though the wonderfully untidy — but open for all to see — business of appropriations. Let us resolve that our schools remain open and are not closed by the courts or anyone else.”

Well said. A decision by the court soon will certainly make for a more ‘high-octane’ session and election year.

Page opportunity

I am looking for pages! If you are in middle or high school (age 12 through high school sophomore) and would be interested in being a page for the day, call me at (785) 296-6287 or send an email to kevin.jones@house.ks.gov

Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, represents Franklin County and the 5th District in the Kansas House. Email him at kevin.jones@house.ks.gov or call (785) 296-6287.

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