Local leaders discuss top issues with lawmakers before session begins

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Lawmakers return to Topeka in less than six weeks.

On Monday, legislators from the Shawnee County delegation heard from local leaders. Those included school officials, the district attorney, a judge, city leaders, and heads of organizations.

They had the chance to speak to their lawmakers to make them aware of issues most important to them.

“We have a large number of local entities that have legislative concerns, and so we try to coordinate that with a day of hearings,” said Topeka Senator Vic Miller.

Speakers brought up issues like property and internet sales tax, but also topics like regulating where political signs can be placed, to fixing roads.

The City of Topeka’s top priority is for a new transportation plan to address the Quincy-Polk Viaduct on Interstate 70 in Downtown Topeka.

“Being able to improve the condition on the bridges, to improve some of the safety, and to improve some of the aesthetics, I think will be a valuable asset to Topeka and the rest of the state,” said Doug Gerber, the deputy city manager.

Healthcare organizations made their voices heard on the need for Medicaid expansion.

Other officials discussed a bill that would make soliciting prostitutes a felony on the first offense. It’s a plan being promoted by Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay and supported by others.

“We know that while we can offer services to victims, it’s important to see some legislation change,” said Kathleen Marker, CEO of YWCA Northeast Kansas, who supports the proposal.

Lawmakers return to the statehouse for the 2020 session on January 13.

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