All 125 lawmakers in Kansas House of Representatives has a greater incentive to move the state forward this year, that’s because every single of those seats is up for reelection in 2019. Republicans hold a commanding 85 to 40 advantage in House. One of those 40 Democrats is Monica Murnan who represents Pittsburg’s in District number 3. With the legislative session now in the rear view mirror I recently spoke with Representative Murnan about a variety of issues that Kansas is facing.
First, I asked about her impressions of the recent legislative session.
Rep. Murnan – I think this session overall was a good one. First of all the way ran on schedule. You know after last year’s debacle of going so many days over and in my opinion you know wasting valuable resources I feel like the fact is that then it’s good you know that some of the same concerns that I have with how we make decisions you know waiting to last minute again. Also just excluding a lot of people from conversations that still concerning to me. But overall I thought this session was a productive one. It’s just you know the way it works. I do feel that we were able to dig ourselves out a little bit more in my opinion Kansas dug into a very very significant hole through the Brownback tax experiment and just like with anything they take several years to get into it’s going to take several years to get out. Thank you. Like we made progress definitely specifically in the areas of education K-12 not quite sure if we’re going to meet muster with the Supreme Court. We did have serious conversations about education funding this year and I think that was a good first step. The other thing is I do feel good about in the budget is that we really looked at not only just appropriations or the you know the dollars and cents but policy issues that were very significant in this year’s legislative session. So I think that we have a group of people there who are well they’re very thoughtful regarding finances. They’re also very pragmatic. You know we heard loud and clear from our constituents that we need to reinvest in Kansas. And I think we made a first step in doing that.
Fred – I was speaking to one of your constituents this this morning. I let them know I said I’m speaking with Representative Murnan and if he had any questions for you. And he brought up the states funding priorities. Pittsburgh resident, his name is Tony Perez and he he brought up to me said you know Pitt’s day just let go 18 employees and it seems to him that’s the state all of a sudden had over $600,000 dollars for funding from the state back to Pittsburg State University. He doesn’t understand where the Highway 69 funding fits into that gap.
Rep. Murnan – So and you know, Tony is absolutely right. You know we have the big pieces of infrastructure in our state. So we have K-12 that we’re constitutionally responsible for we have our prison systems. We have our higher education systems. We have our highways. So there’s you know there’s a broad base of infrastructure. And you know over the last several years is it kind of just you know it will eroded in my opinion we have an erosion problem. You know I totally get what he’s saying because you would think that we set up in the legislature and prioritize. OK. We’re going to take our higher ed at this level we’re going to take on highways and we’re going to take on k-12. But the conversations don’t happen that way. I find that troubling. I find it frustrating but it’s just the way it works. And it it’s all these different factions who are fighting for a pool of money.
And some would say well that’s lack of leadership. And you know I’m I’m I have to agree with that. No there there’s leadership in the Senate. There is leadership in the house as evidenced by all the news reports they don’t agree they best among themselves take off on birdwalks. Some would say the governor needs to provide leadership on that. So what I have tried to do is in the budget process because Pitts makes important to me as an umpire and K12 our mental health systems our early childhood systems because I believe that is part of economic development. You know I believe when all that works right then economic development falls into place.