While there are a number of top-priority issues circling through the Statehouse (and some manufactured issues, for dramatic effect), other activities and committee actions are relatively quiet. Some highlights of the past week:

Brownback confirmed

On Jan. 24, Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination reached the floor of the U.S. Senate. After a motion to invoke cloture passed, the confirmation vote totaled 49 to 49. Vice President Mike Pence then presided over the chamber, and with his constitutional authority broke the tie, making the final vote 50 to 49, with two absences. Brownback’s official resignation is set to take place at 3 p.m. on Jan. 31, at which time Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will take the oath of office and ascend to the governorship. Prior to that, he plans to visit his hometown of Hays, and then return to Topeka for the official proceedings.

Kansas Teacher of the Year Honored

On Jan. 23, the House honored Kansas Teacher of the Year winner, Samantha Neill, and fellow Teacher of the Year finalists with House Resolution 6042, presented by Rep. Brenda Dietrich (a McPherson County native). Neill is a Language Arts teacher at Buhler High School. Neill was selected from a group of eight finalists, which was narrowed down from more than 100 nominations. Neill is now a candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Compromise

During the 2017 Session, House Judiciary Chairman Blaine Finch and Senate Judiciary Chairman Rick Wilborn requested that the Judicial Council study the topic of civil asset forfeiture. The Judicial Council set up an Advisory Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Patton, to study the subject and propose language for legislation. On Jan. 24, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB 2459. The bill is the result of that study committee, and reflects compromise language that proponents and opponents, of civil asset forfeiture reform, forged.

2018 Issues Survey

Many of you have responded to the 2018 Issues Survey I mentioned last week, and I truly appreciate that. I plan to leave the link up for a few more weeks to get a fairly reliable sampling. At that time, I’ll share the percentages of the feedback received. To participate, visit my website, www.les-mason.com. My goal is to examine the attitudes of McPherson County citizens on three issues that will come before the legislature this year.

To submit a response, you’ll be asked to sign in with a Google account. Please know that responses are totally anonymous, and no names or emails are being collected. The sign in only serves to limit responses to one per person. I encourage you to submit your responses and have your voices heard.

Les Mason is the Kansas House Representative for District 73, which covers much of McPherson County.