PITTSBURG, Kans. — Lawmakers in the Sunflower State head back to Topeka on Monday for the start of the 2023 legislative season. A couple of them spoke to business leaders and educators Friday in Pittsburg.
For more than two decades the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce has hosted a legislative send off event giving business leaders the chance to find out what their lawmakers are pushing for. They also have the chance to tell them what they’d like to see come from the session.
Chamber President, Blake Benson, says there’s one issue he’d like to see lawmakers take care of once and for all — Medicare expansion. He says failure to do so to this point, is costing the region millions of dollars and can be a deterrent to economic development.
“Healthcare is a big growth sector for for our economy here in Pittsburg. I know that our healthcare providers, Via Christi Hospital, Community Health Center would benefit tremendously from expanded Medicaid Program, so we’d like the legislature to continue to see if there’s a solution we can find that would accomplish that,” he said.
Kansas remains the only Four State not to have expanded Medicare, and is the only one that hasn’t approved medical marijuana, which Ken Collins would like to see change.
“Medical Marijuana which when previously when it passed in the House, I did vote for it and depending upon what might come up later I would likely vote for it again because I think it’s something that can be beneficial to some people with certain medical issues,” said Collins, KS. House 2nd District (R).
Chuck Smith also has his priorities too.
“I think you’re gonna see a parent’s Bill of Rights as far as kids going to school, you know, I’d like to see a KPERS 3 looked at a little bit to see if we could improve that a little bit for beginning teachers, not teachers that are older but beginning teachers,” said Smith, KS. House 3rd District (R).
But this won’t be the only time this year business leaders and educators get face to face with their elected officials, there will be legislative briefings taking place each month until the end of session in may.