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Week 9 Newsletter

There has been no lack of work this week at the Capitol. Many committees have been working overtime hearing budgets and addressing proposed legislation. Committees are discussing the Farm Bureau Health Plan, K-12 Budget, adding THC to CBD oil for those with certain disabilities as well as the condemnation of the State of New York for creating the loosest abortion laws in the country.

In Appropriations committee, we discussed the Kansas Dept. of Disability and Aging. One of there many responsibilities is for the Home & Community based services for those with Physical and Mental Disabilities. Generally, these organizations are operated on a county by county basis with local board oversight. They are provided funding primarily through KDADS budget.

It is so frustrating to me that for years, this wait list has continued to increase. There are nearly 4,000 individuals statewide that have been waiting (in come cases) up to 8 years for service. No matter how much money we throw at the problem, this waiting list doesn't decrease. The budget increase from 2018 - 2019 was over $180 million. Incredible amount of increase. When they came back for more in 2019 for their 2020 budget, we put the breaks on it.

As a committee, we felt that there must be better oversight and progress with your tax dollars. We temporarily removed the funding in their budget to "encourage" those in charge to provide information and direction of exactly how the money will be used. We want to make sure progress is made. People have waited far too long we MUST figure out a way to take care of those that have been waiting!

In Judiciary, we had a hearing on HB 2244. This bill would allow CBD oil to have up to 5% THC added. THC is one of many cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. Specifically, THC is the cannabinoid that gets a person “high”. This bill was introduced by a number of families with children with severe disabilities who want this option to treat their children.

The proponents of the bill firmly believe the addition of THC has beneficial properties in dealing with seizures amongst other medical issues. Many had strong testimonies of friends and families from other states who have seen beneficial results. There was a retired Representative from Georgia who flew in testify on behalf of this bill indicating they passed similar legislation and it has been well received.

The opponents of this bill indicate this is simply a step towards further legalization of cannabis. A local Doctor testified of the possible mental side effects along with sharing with us that there is no medical studies suggesting THC has any medicinal benefits. Law Enforcement expressed concerns from their perspective of how they are not in support of this bill.

I am not sure if this bill will get worked and voted on, but if so, you can rest assured all Kansans must be considered and the future of our great state must come into play.

Finally, I wanted to touch on SCR 1606. This was the Senate Concurrent Resolution condemning the actions of the New York legislature for passing the Reproductive Health Act. This act allows abortions up to the moment before birth in some cases, allows abortions to be provided by other medical officials other than Physicians, repeals protections for unborn children and repealed all protections from the criminal acts of violence against a woman’s unborn child; leaving citizens no legal recourse for the killing of any child in the womb (even in the case of domestic violence against a woman who’s unborn child is killed as a result).

Some would ask “Why is the Kansas Legislature spending time on something done in New York?” I can tell you that it’s because the majority of Kansans care about children, both born and unborn. We believe family is fundamental and are willing to take stand even in the face of opposition. It is a strongly held conviction of mine that those who hold leadership positions have a duty to stand for what is right, true and honorable and to use that platform to protect the most vulnerable in society, especially the unborn, the children and the families of our state and nation.

There is still much work to be done in the state house. We begin debating the Governor's budget in earnest next week. The only thing the Legislature has to pass each year is a balanced budget. All of the State agency budgets have been worked individually and next week, we start having public hearings on the budget. The Governor's recommended budget spends a total of $18.5 Billion from all funding sources and $7.6 Billion from the State General Fund. There will be copious amounts of comments on where this money should be spent.

Please let me know if you have any concerns or topics of interest. I would be happy to visit with you. It is truly an honor to be your Representative and I am humbled by your prayers and support.

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Committee to Elect Stephen Owens,
Gloria Arrellano, Treasurer
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