Longbine concerned about education funding package, pleased with autism therapy bill

The break is just about over for state lawmakers, who have been on official policymaking hiatus for about three weeks after the regular session ended earlier this month.


KVOE has had status reports with local lawmakers over the past week on the Morning Show, and the final status report came Tuesday from Sen. Jeff Longbine. He tells KVOE News lawmakers haven't fully sifted through the education funding package they signed to close out the regular session.

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Longbine voted against the bill, largely because of concerns he has about the equity of the funding and because of how lawmakers added certain policy changes involving tax breaks for families not sending their kids to public schools, teacher tenure and due process. Longbine says he is glad area schools do receive more and Emporia State University benefits with a salary cap adjustment, $1 million for an honors college and the ability to keep the proceeds from selling its married student housing.

Longbine says lawmakers concentrated on education funding after the Supreme Court ordered changes, but there was other action as well. Lawmakers tried to clean up some changes in gun laws after passing changes last year, notably trying to make open carry laws more uniform across the state. Open carry has been allowed for years, but some cities were using their home rule powers to opt out.

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Meanwhile, Longbine was especially pleased with a new autism therapy initiative.

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The main work ahead is in resolving the budget, and there could be some discussion on education funding and the judicial budget. Like Reps. Don Hill and Peggy Mast, who appeared on KVOE's Morning Show last week, Longbine believes the veto session could be short -- but he cautions lawmakers may try stalling tactics for pet projects.

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