Here’s an overview of recent activities in the Kansas House of Representatives:

Kansas House strengthens anti-trafficking protections

The House considered HR 6045, a resolution opposing human trafficking and urging the dismantling of human trafficking networks. Representative Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, along with 92 co-sponsors from both parties, brought the measure forward. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, taking the form of forced labor, sex trafficking and depriving victims of their freedom, human rights, and dignity. The resolution urged that the “government must bring the full weight of its legal and judicial systems against individuals or organizations that seek to enslave a human being.” The resolution was adopted unanimously.

Last May, the Legislature passed SB 40, which created tougher human trafficking laws in effort to thwart such operations in Kansas. Specifically, knowingly or intentionally using any communication facility for the purpose of human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of a child, or promoting the sale of sexual relations would result in a severity level 7 personal felony. In addition, the bill created harsher sentences for engaging in internet trading of child pornography and harboring or transporting persons via trafficking. Lastly, the amended law now requires truck drivers to take a mandatory human trafficking awareness course to easily identify signs of possible human trafficking. Each legislator present voted for this bill, and was signed into law on May 24.

Colyer sworn-in as 47th governor

On Jan. 31, Jeff Colyer was officially sworn-in as the 47th Governor of the State of Kansas, on the first floor of the Statehouse. Dr. Paul Camarata served as the Master of Ceremonies, and introduced Governor Sam Brownback, the Colyer family, legislative leadership, and other distinguished guests. The oath of office was administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, then followed by remarks from Governor Colyer. The Governor stressed the theme of a “new day” in Kansas and a “new tone,” as he vowed to listen to those on both sides of the aisle. He invoked the name of President Eisenhower, mentioned the Kansas spirit, and his own personal experiences with helping others. Subsequently, members of the Native American tribes of Kansas presented the Governor with a ceremonial gift and expressed their optimism. In related news, former Governor Sam Brownback was sworn-in on Thursday, as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, which precipitated Colyer’s ascent to the governorship.

2018 Issues Survey

I’m continuing to accept responses, on the 2018 Issues Survey, I mentioned the last two weeks. I plan to leave the link up for a few more weeks as I would like to receive enough responses to produce what I consider to be a fairly reliable sampling.

To participate, visit my website, www.les-mason.com. There are three issues, with multiple-choice answers, on that survey. 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.