Lawmakers tackle issues at second Legislative Dialogue

From left to right: Rep. Mark Schreiber, Rep. Eric Smith and Sen. Jeff Longbine. Photo by Brandon Peoples/KVOE News.

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The second Legislative Dialogue hosted by the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce Government Matters Committee and League of Women Voters took place Saturday at Emporia Presbyterian Manor.

Senator Jeff Longbine (R-Emporia), 60th District Representative Mark Schreiber (R-Emporia) and 76th District Representative Eric Smith (R-Burlington) took time to answer questions from the public.

Talking points centered around education primarily with lawmakers set to receive a major external, nonpartisan report Thursday. Sen. Longbine says he's hopeful it will provide more clarity.

Representative Schreiber says separately, lawmakers are debating bringing back due process into teacher contracts.

Schreiber also touched on a bill that came out of the House Transportation Committee that would create a new joint transportation task force. Schreiber says the task force would have 30 members collecting data and holding public meetings over a one year period.

Representative Smith praised Gov. Jeff Colyer's signing of House Bill 2439 known as Caitlin's law. The bill, named after 24-year-old Caitlin Vogel who was killed by a repeat offender drunk driver in Johnson County in 2016, creates stronger penalties for repeat DUI offenders. Smith, who is also a member of the Coffey County Sheriff's Office says he believes strongly in the impact of the new law.

Another topic discussed briefly was gun legislation and how the Kansas Legislature plans to address gun laws. Sen. Longbine says they are approaching the issue cautiously.

51st District Representative Ron Highland of Wamego also was invited to attend Saturday's dialogue but was unable to be part of the forum.

The next scheduled Legislative Dialogue will take place at the end of the session on a date to be determined.

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