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Week One Legislative Newsletter

From the Dome to Home
January 16, 2015
Troy L. Waymaster, State Representative, 109th Kansas House

The Governor’s State of the State Address
On Thursday evening, January 15, 2015, Governor Sam Brownback addressed the Senate and the House for his annual State of the State Address which outlined his proposals to address the needs of the state. The main issueduring the past election and last couple of months have been the projected shortfalls that the state is currently facing for fiscal years 2015 and 2016.

Governor Brownback began his fifth State of the State Address by stating the purpose of government is to serve the people.He then outlined his vision for the state of Kansas stating that he is proposing a two-year balanced budget. He also said he is going to continue the march to zero percent income taxes.

Governor Brownbackalso outlined some proposed changesto the Kansas State Constitution. One of those, proposed back in his State of State Address in 2013, is a change to the selection process for the Kansas Supreme Court where the governor nominatesand confirmationis conducted by the Senate. The Governor also mentioned that we need to change the current method of local elections by moving those from April to November.

Another proposal mentioned by the Governor was altering the current school finance formula to a new formula. This would be achieved by supplying funds to our schools in the form of block grants for two years, during whicha new school finance formulawouldbe developed. He also reiterated that the power of appropriating funds is the sole responsibility of the Legislatureand not any other branch of government.

Price of Oil and Severance Taxes
The lower oil prices are not only affecting those within the oil business around the 109th district, they are also having a direct impact on the amount of revenue that the state of Kansas receives for thseverance tax, which is a tax that is incurred on natural resources. During a briefing of our Appropriations committee on Tuesday, Legislative Research indicated that the amount of money received for severance taxes will decrease significantly due to the current oil prices. In November, when Legislative Research performed their last analysis on the tax receipts for the state, oil prices were still hovering around $80 a barrel.During our committee, Research did explain that the state would need to account for less revenue since the current oil price is considerably lower. If this low price continues, our area and the finances of the state will be greatly affected.

Kansas Water Vision
In the fall of 2013, Governor Sam Brownback began the Kansas Water Vision in order to develop a plan for the viability of the water needs for the state of Kansas. For the Kansas Water Vision, he composed a team of representatives from the Kansas Water Office and the Kansas Department of Agriculture. This team has conducted more than 350 meetings and has metwith more than 13,000 Kansans since December of 2013 to draft a long-term vision.
Since water is such a vital commodity for our state, the Kansas Water Vision is moving forward in 2015. Below are some of the next steps in their timeline:

Winter 2015-Orientation will be provided in February to each of the Regional Goal Setting Leadership teams,and they will outline their process, their expectations,and share information about the water resource conditions in their regions. During this time, a minimum of one public outreach event will be conducted in each planning area.

Spring 2015-The Regional Goal Setting Leadership Team members will review the feedback that they received during the public events and develop first draft goals for their regions. They will then present the draft of those proposed regional goals to the Kansas Water Office.
Summer 2015-All the regional draft goals and advice from the Kansas Water Office will be posted online forpublic comment in June and July. The Kansas Water Office willreview that feedback in August.

Fall 2015/Winter 2016-The finalized regional goals will be incorporated into the Kansas Water Vision and presented to Governor Brownback and the Kansas Legislature.

Legislative Committee Assignments

In December 2014, the Speaker of the House, Ray Merrick, selected committees for the members of the House of Representatives. The committees that I have been appointedto serve on during the next two legislative sessions are: House Appropriations Committee, General Government Budget Committee,and Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. I was chosen by the speaker to serve aschairman of the General Government Budget Committee. This particular committee reviews twentyseven budgets, then those budgets are presented to the

House Appropriations Committee.
Even though it was the first week of the Legislative Session, I was pleased to have many visitors in my office this week. Some of those that visited my officewere Dr. Carl Heilmanfrom Barton County Community College, Jeannine Byers-Long from Russell,and David Auble from Paradise.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office at (785) 296-7672, visit www.troywaymaster.com or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov

It is an honor to serve the 109thKansas House District and the state of Kansas. Do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions. I appreciate hearing from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas.


Paid for by Troy Waymaster for 109th Kansas House, James Malone, Treasurer
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