Legislators Provide State Legislative Updates
Leawood, KS
02/13/2020 03:15 PM

I attended the legislative breakfast sponsored by the Johnson County Public Policy Council, of which The Leawood Chamber is a member, on Saturday, February 8 at the Doubletree Hotel. Members of the Johnson County delegation on the panel included: Sen. Dinah Sykes, Rep. Chris Croft, Rep. Susan Ruiz, Rep. Sean Tarwater and Rep. Brandon Woodard.


One of Representative Tarwater's big projects he's working on will create opportunities for students to obtain training in the skilled trades. Welders, HVAC and medical technician jobs are plentiful, but there just aren't enough trained workers to fill the positions. The legislation being explored would provide a pathway for students who may want to come into workplaces to explore alternative careers paths not addressed in the traditional higher education track. 


They are also looking at ways to incent students who receive financial assistance for certifications in these high demand trades, to have these loans forgiven if they spend a certain period of time working for Kansas businesses after graduation.


Rep. Woodard works on the Higher Education Committee. They are working on ways to stabilize the increases in tuition rates at Kansas educational institutions and for ways to help keep our Kansas graduates in Kansas when they choose their post-graduation careers. Again, the focus being on creating good jobs here to keep our graduates in the state of Kansas.


Other topics included the new transportation plan introduced by the Governor that will help with some of our State's deferred transportation projects get back on track, and also allow for new projects that are needed in many areas, including replacement of aging bridges.


On the income tax relief front, decoupling (a Leawood Chamber legislative priority) and increases in the standard deduction are being discussed. A segment of taxpayers in our area were adversely impacted as a consequence of the federal tax law changes from 2017, resulting in the lack of ability to deduct property taxes, charitable contributions, and business expenses that were in excess of the standard deduction in Kansas. The proposed legislation in the 2019 session to correct this was vetoed by the Governor, but this session there is a plan to break out the individual elements with the hope of getting some relief passed this session.


A big topic of discussion among the panelists was the need to continually work toward improved civility with legislative discussions. All present appeared to be committed to improved communication and dialogue. Senator Tarwater has been working to have more joint Senate / House committee conversations on topics so that when legislation comes forward there is more agreement on the basics.


The next installment of the Legislative Update Series is a luncheon scheduled for noon on April 7, 2020. To register visit:

To register visit:

Kevin Jeffries, Pres & CEO
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