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Doc Eplee’s House Calls

March Madness isn’t just about basketball! We experience a bit of it in Topeka as well, working toward the April Break deadline. On March 16, I was asked to preside over debate in the Kansas House of Representatives. It was an honor to serve as Chairman of the Committee of the Whole and I thank Speaker Ryckman for asking me to do so.

While we continue to work through legislation, several large issues remain: the budget, school funding, and tax reform. I look forward to the discussion on these issues and would appreciate your feedback and input on them.

Please check out the Legislature’s YouTube page, where you can watch full debates on the issues important to our community. Thank you, again, for the opportunity to serve you and your family. If I can ever be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

State Capitol
300 SW 10th St., 352-S
Topeka, KS 66612
Office: 785-296-8621
Cell: 913-367-5910
john.eplee@house.ks.gov
kansansforeplee.com

Local Legislative Update

On Thursday, March 25, I presented a legislative update to a meeting of Atchison city and county officials. It was well attended. Pictured here with Atchison County Commissioner Jack Bower (center), and City Commissioner J David Ferris on my left.

Kansas Emergency Management Act

On March 18, the Legislature presented the Governor a bipartisan bill to address many of the issues with the Kansas Emergency Management Act that arose throughout the pandemic. The Governor has since signed it into law, as it extends the disaster declaration through May to assist with drawing down federal funds. The hallmark of the legislation is preserving local control for our school boards, our cities and our counties now and in the future. I am pleased we have addressed this and can turn our focus to other priorities the remainder of the session. I voted Yea on the CCR on SB 40.

“Keep Nine” Resolution

There has been a lot of speculation that changes could be made to adjust the number of justices on the United States Supreme Court. The Judiciary plays a critical role in our government and changing it to match the political winds of the day is irresponsible. The Kansas House of Representatives adopted the “Keep Nine” resolution urging Congress to adopt the Keep Nine Amendment to the Constitution. HCR 5013 was adopted 84-38 and now goes to the Senate for consideration. I voted Yea.

Firearm Safety Education

Firearms safety is critical for every citizen. Under Sub HB 2089, students will now have the opportunity to learn firearms safety based on curriculum established by the State Board of Education. This bill still allows for local control by school boards with the oversight of the State Board. I voted Yea.

Back to School Act

I think we can all agree it is time to get our kids back to school. In-person education has proven to be the most effective for the majority of students and we need to ensure in-person education is an option for all Kansas kids. H Sub SB 63 requires all school districts in Kansas to provide a full-time, in person attendance option for all K-12 students by March 31, 2021. Unlike SB 235, which I did not support, this bill only applies to this school year and takes into account the timing of Spring Break, in which the majority of school districts will be back to in-person education. I voted Yea on H Sub SB 63.

Executive Reorganization Order 47

Governor Kelly has once again submitted an Executive Reorganization Order (ERO) to the Legislature to combine the Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS). Each of these agencies is large and complex. Combining them and growing the size of government just doesn’t make sense. There is currently nothing that precludes them from working together to find efficiencies. The House of Representatives adopted HR 6009 disapproving of the ERO. I voted Yea on the resolution to disapprove.

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