Legislative Wrap Up
This last session was the most interesting session in my political career. Not just because it was my last in the Kansas House of Representatives, but because of the weight of the issue undertaken. Here are some of the highlights.
Jessica's Law- Creates up to 25-year prison sentence for first-time sex offenders. The bill, named after 9-year-old girl who was murdered by a convicted sex offender, is one of the most important pieces of legislation I have ever voted for. As a father of two young boys, and because of their friends in our community, I am glad we could do something to keep them safe. We sent a message to sex offenders, "You are not welcome in Kansas!"
Concealed Carry- While some consider this unsafe, this legislation made our gun laws safer. Previously, it was legal to carry a gun, anywhere, as long as it was in the open, and you did not point it at anyone. You did not need a license or any training. With this new legislation, people today would have to go through rigorous training, be licensed, and then keep the weapon concealed. We were one of only three states that did not have this type legislation.
School Finance- This was especially frustrating. Trying to compromise between political parties and rural versus urban legislators, is difficult enough. Now, trying to guess what 7 attorneys behind closed doors want you to do, makes it impossible. The result is a school plan that leaves Johnson County funding a plan that they get little out of. Johnson County schools should be fine this year, but as new federal mandates on education continue to put pressure on our schools, the future has some serious questions coming our way.
Worker's Compensation- This is an issue Sen. Karen Brownlee labored on in the Senate, and I carried out of the House. The bill, which has as much confusion in the public relations war as our worker's compensation laws do in the statute books. The 1993 reforms were intended to have employers pay only for the impairment they were liable for. Administrative Law Justices interpreted the law differently. The legislature has been trying to fix that for 13 years. The bill would allow workers injured on the job receive all medical benefits and paid-time-off as they always have. The change would make employers responsible for only permanent impairment they caused and not any impairment caused outside the work place. This fair legislation was vetoed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius, some one who voted for it back in 1993.
These are just a few highlights of the 2006 legislative session. I have very much enjoyed my tenure in the legislature. While some had a passion for the position of serving in such a body, I found my passion in the policy. As I now switch gears to pour myself into a campaign for U.S. Congress, it is that passion that will give me the energy to do all I can to win this November. Congress needs people passionate about policy and not just pension. Voters in the 3rd Congressional District deserve a congressman who will fight against federal mandates on education, make the tax cuts permanent, and make sure we finish the job in Iraq. If you would like to join our team, please to this email, or visit our web page by clicking he banner above.
Representative Scott Schwab
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT