LEGISLATURE: Schreiber sees coronavirus impact on state budget, emergency management, Department of Labor issues Featured

60th District Representative Mark Schreiber 60th District Representative Mark Schreiber Official photo

State lawmakers officially begin the 2021 legislative session next week.

KVOE News began its annual previews with area lawmakers during Tuesday's Morning Show as 60th District Representative Mark Schreiber of Emporia joined the 8:05 am newscast. Schreiber says the budget will be the main concern. Dire projections for the budget based on possible COVID-19 impact didn't come to pass last year, so lawmakers are hoping the good trend will continue this year.

Coronavirus is coloring other matters as well, including the overall pandemic response. Overall, Schreiber gives the state relatively high marks for how it has handled the virus, but he's concerned about ongoing woes in the Kansas Department of Labor.

Schreiber also says the state's emergency management statues need to be updated to reflect pandemic response.

Operations inside the House will be different because of COVID. Besides the mask guideline, temperature checks and hand sanitizing stations, there will also be new technology for online streaming in all committee rooms, Committees will also be paperless with online access to documents. There will also be electronic voting.

Off the coronavirus thread, one of Governor Kelly's main priorities is Medicaid expansion. Schreiber has supported the expansion effort since he was elected and says he will do so again, but he says passage is unlikely with both the House and Senate moving to the right after the general elections last year.

Schreiber also says lawmakers need to "protect and enhance" higher education funding in a similar way to how they finalized public education in 2019.

Schreiber will serve as vice chair for the Energy, Utilities and Telecommunication Committee. He will also be on the Education and Judiciary committees this year.

Legislative previews continue on KVOE's Morning Show this week. 76th District Representative Eric of Smith of Burlington is on KVOE's Newsmaker 3 segment at 8:35 am Wednesday, followed by 51st District Representative Ron Highland of Wamego at 8:10 am Thursday and 17th District Senator Jeff Longbine of Emporia at 8:10 am Friday. All interviews will be in the KVOE.com Audio Vault after their completion.

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