Kansas lawmakers stop in Pittsburg to discuss upcoming legislative session

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Some Kansas lawmakers made a stop in Pittsburg today for the chamber’s legislative send-off. They discussed a number of topics they’re focusing on for the upcoming legislative session.

Four legislators, four different goals. That was the theme Friday at the legislative send-off in Pittsburg. One of the goals involves the state’s grocery sales tax. It’s one of the top on the list for 2nd District Representative Ken Collins. Rep. Collins says “We have one of the higher sales tax rates in the country and our sales tax rate statewide is 6.5%, of course, counties and cities they add on sometimes, a percent or two there, so, we want to reduce the, or eliminate the state portion of that if at all possible.”

Representative Collins says it’s a key point for him as it directly impacts border areas in the state, especially southeast Kansas. “We have competition, people shopping in Missouri and people shopping in Oklahoma, and sometimes when a person is settling in this area that is part of what goes into their idea, what side of the border they should be on, and I just want to see Kansas get more of a fair deal there.”

Another issue on the table for economic growth, is the highway 69 corridor. Plans are already moving forward to expand it to four lanes all the way to Pittsburg, but, 3rd District Representative Chuck Smith says more needs to be done. Representative Smith says “If you look at the bypass right now in Pittsburg, there’s 7 stoplights from one end of town to the other end of town, and it’s not longer a bypass, it’s a busy road, so we need a corridor to get the truckers and so-forth around town.”

Other topics discussed today included funding for Pittsburg’s wastewater plant, as well as legislative redistricting.

Every 10 years, with the census, congressional districts are assessed and re-drawn as needed to accommodate population change. Representative Richard Proehl says accurate redistricting is essential this year as the state saw some big population moves in the rural and urban areas.

Representative Proehl says “We look at urban and rural areas and our urban areas are growing and our rural areas are shrinking, so, our districts out here in the rural areas will get larger as far as area wise.”

Proehl says it’s going to be key to work with the urban legislators on redistricting to ensure population counts are evenly distributed across the state.

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