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Lawmaker frustrated with non-talk on Medicaid, education

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- The Kansas Legislature is reaching its turnaround, the point when the House and Senate typically begin working bills passed by the other chamber.

However, some Kansans -- including at least one lawmaker -- do not believe legislators have accomplished enough. While, lawmakers have discussed some attention-grabbing issues this session, some feel there are more important issues they could be talking about.

"Any kind of economic advancement is more important than things that have already been dealt with in the past," said Aaron Wyckstendt of Park City when asked what he thought about the work of legislators so far. "Things that are economically viable are better than legislating any kind of morality, which is only going to get us into more trouble and do some more to divide."

Even some lawmakers believe the legislature has not accomplished enough.

Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, took to Twitter Wednesday to vent his frustration.

"Fifteen to 20 minutes debating the state fossil," Ward's post read. "No time for a debate on Medicaid expansion, but 20 minutes for the state fossil."

Ward believes the legislature should already be talking about Medicaid expansion as well as education funding and increased funding for corrections.

"We have a lot of smart people in Kansas and if we would start these issues earlier, we would have time to dialogue with these smart people and make informed decisions that might avoid problems down the road," he said.

A Wichita State University political scientist says Kansans should not be surprised by the issues that have come up in Topeka.

"Those legislators are doing what they said they would do when they ran for office, both in Republican primaries and the general election and they were overwhelmingly elected in the last two election cycles," said Neal Allen, political science professor.

Ward said there are still plenty of yet-to-be-talked-about issues that are important to voters.

"If we'd just take them up in a more timely fashion, I think people would feel a lot more comfortable about what we're doing up here,' he said.


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