With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Senate moved quickly to wrap up its core business in order to adjourn ahead of schedule and prevent increased exposure of our employees and others who work in and around the Statehouse.
The Legislature is scheduled to return April 27. We will continue to evaluate the situation as that date gets closer. We included some flexibility in the adjournment resolution so that the Legislative Leadership Council will be authorized to call the Legislature back sooner if needed or push back the return date. The LCC is comprised of members of Republican and Democratic leadership from both chambers.
While the Legislature is adjourned, you may reach me on my cell at 620-343-0155 or email me any time I can answer questions or be of assistance with a state agency issue. Thank you again for the privilege of serving you.
Senate approves budget with
After a full day of debate on the Senate floor, the Senate approved a budget for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 and for Fiscal Year 2021. The budget includes a $50 million response fund for preventing and fighting COVID-19, as well as a $15 million fund for emergency preparedness so that our state is positioned to weather any health care or economic impacts from this pandemic. I voted yes.
Transportation plan aimed at stimulating Kansas economy
The Legislature passed The Eisenhower Legacy Plan, a 10-year comprehensive infrastructure plan designed to preserve our transportation system and help stimulate our state economy.
The plan is named in honor of Kansas native son President Dwight Eisenhower, who is considered the father of our country’s interstate highway system. The plan includes a requirement that all incomplete projects from the state’s prior transportation plan, T-Works, be completed before any new construction is started. The plan also includes funding for broadband infrastructure grants and improvements to the state’s short-line railroad system. I voted yes.
Legislature passes bills to create adaptability in response to COVID-19
Governor Kelly signed three bills into law last week that the Legislature forwarded to her in response to the changing public health situation.
• Senate Bill 142 protects funding for our K-12 schools so they will continue to receive full funding even if they are unable to meet the required number of attendance days for students. I voted yes.
• House Substitute for Senate Bill 102 authorizes the court system to extend or suspend court dates for pending cases as needed in order to protect judicial personnel and citizens from unnecessary exposure. I voted yes.
• Senate Bill 27 would temporarily extend eligibility for unemployment benefits from 16 weeks to 26 weeks. It would additionally remove the one-week waiting period. The extension is designed to sunset on April 1, 2021, in order to provide relief in the wake of the Spirit AeroSystems and Textron Aviation layoffs as well as any temporary layoffs or reduced work weeks in the wake of COVID-19. I voted yes.
New one-stop site for Kansans to find COVID-19 resources
My colleagues in the House have developed Kansas Together, a website and Facebook community that you might wish to take a look at. Kansas Together provides links to fact-based resources to help answer questions that may arise for our families and business owners as we weather a COVID-19 outbreak.
If I may help connect you with any resources or answer questions during this difficult time, please don’t hesitate to contact me on my cell at 620-343-0155 or by email at Jeff.Longbine@senate.ks.gov. We’re all in this together, and together, I know that we will come out stronger and better.