The Legislative Update, sponsored by the Sumner County Farm Bureau Association, was held last Saturday on a cool, very rainy morning at 10:00 a.m. at the Wellington Church of Christ.  Even with the weather, there was a good crowd on hand to hear what their elected representatives had to say.  
Representative Anita Judd-Jenkins spoke first about the “wonderful opportunities for teachers that we have in place here in Kansas.”  She mentioned the “next generation coming up.”  Those with cultural differences, she said, will take a while to catch up.
Revenues are looking much better, she mentioned.  “If the estimates are right, we have opportunities to grow.”  
The east side of Wellington is growing, she said.  She mentioned the new housing and the new Cowley College campus as examples of this rapid growth.  “It is a plus for Wellington,” she added.  “If we can continue with the support from the state, then the rural communities will thrive.”
Representative Kyle Hoffman took his turn at the podium.  Hoffman serves on the K-12 Committee and described his efforts to come up with an education bill that would satisfy the legal requirements of the Kansas Supreme Court.  He said he “wanted to have a compromise with the House and Senate and not have the package to go over 500 million and break the bank.”  He went on to say that they “will continue to take from the highway fund to make things work.” He added “that the State did not pay 194 million to KPERS because it was the only way we balanced the budget.”
In 2021, Hoffman predicts the State will hit a financial brick wall again.  
“We are also still struggling agriculturally,” he said.  
In regard the recent tax increase, he refers to it as a “pseudo tax increase.  Just because the State is bringing in more money doesn’t mean you are.”
He spoke about his reversal on hemp, saying “Five years ago, I would never have been for hemp.  Over the last five years, a lot of research has been shared on this topic.  It might be a valid crop we can do in this area.  A group in Anthony is interested.  Hemp is legal as long as it is a research project.  It would be set up through the Department of Agriculture.”
On the subject of poultry, Hoffman said he was “disappointed that so many people from Tonganoxie were so vocal about it being brought in anywhere else in the state.” He said that Concordia and counties in Southeastern Kansas were still interested in bringing in poultry production.
Hoffman is “also supportive of a constitutional amendment that would specify the legislature alone would be responsible for adequacy to education.”
State Senator Larry Alley was next, speaking “about how we don’t process our crops here, we just ship them out.  Being able to do that here would bring about a real economic boon.”
In regards to education, Alley spoke of how “the senate worked to correct those types of things, and provided more money to areas such as mentoring.”  Still, he “is not sure 500 million will satisfy the courts.”
When it comes to the court challenges, he says “this has to stop.  We need to stop trying to come up with a Democratic or Republican solution—but, a Kansas solution.”
In closing, Alley attacked the unfairness of salaries and wages of the courts, saying the judges make far more money than the people who work for them.”
Finally, Governor Colyer arrived and spoke for over half an hour before the crowd.  He referred to the first 75-80 days of his tenure as governor as a “wonderful and exciting time.  There has been a change in tone.”
He mentioned his growing up in Hays, of how his family has been in Kansas for five generations.  He said he has three grown daughters all in college at the same time.  He and his wife, Ruth, are recent empty nesters, and he “does not like it very much.”
He talked “of Kansas being the true heart of America.  There is the notion of service here:  helping a person, volunteering, making an extra set of cookies.”
In regards to how he wanted the government to work, he said “we need to be work horses, and not show horses.  I have made the government more transparent so people can see what is going on.”
He went on to add that “each cabinet agency has performance metrics to go by now.”
He also made light of the fact he was the longest-serving lieutenant governor in Kansas, which he said “spoke a lot about the mortality rate of the 49 before me.”
Of course, Governor Colyer is also still a surgeon.  He spoke of how he had residency training in general surgery at the Washington Hospital Center, in plastic surgery, and in craniofacial/pediatric plastic surgery at the International Craniofacial Institute.  
“i’m on call tomorrow (last Sunday).  I will have one or two surgeries.  I see people at their best, as well as at their worst.  It is nice to get out there and be a part of the real world.”
Starting out, Colyer was an intern for Senator Dole.  Colyer was also a White House Fellow under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, working in international affairs.  Colyer spoke in glowing terms of former President Reagan, saying he learned about “values and principles” from his time with the former president.  “Things don’t happen overnight.  We won’t win every battle.  When the glass is 75% full, you work with it.  Reagan was able to bring about consensus.”
Colyer has spent a lot of time overseas with his surgeon skills coming into play for various groups he has volunteered for over the years.  When he mentioned to a Sudanese citizen that he was from Kansas, Colyer said the man referred to Kansas as “the real America.”
The State of Kansas, Colyer said, “is a sixteen billion dollar operation with over 10,000 employees.  We need to keep our taxes low and get money into the classrooms, getting outcomes.”
Speaking of Wellington, Colyer commented that “this area has had a rough set of years.  Our state unemployment rate is at 3.4%, we have reduced our welfare list by half. We have over 50,000 open jobs state-wide.  We want this to be where kids see their future.”
Returning to the subject of the Supreme Court, Colyer said that they will rule on the school finance bill this summer.  
In closing, the governor emphasized “that revenue estimates will be balanced.  The Trump economy is starting to work.  We need to put money back into people’s pockets.”