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Legislative Update from Brenda Dietrich
 

 

Happy New Year!


Friends:
The next Legislative Session begins in just a few days on Monday, January 10, 2022.  This will be my 6th year in the Legislature ….4 in the Kansas House of Representatives….and 2 in the Kansas Senate.   It has been my honor to be your voice in the Capitol and I will continue to do so with transparency and total commitment this next year.  My goal will continue to be focused on supporting good public policy that keeps our state on the right track.  It matters who we elect to public office and I hope that I have shown you I am willing to work hard to accomplish our common goals.

Committees



 
I serve on the following Senate Committees and there will be one change for this next session.
8:30 a.m:     Transportation Committee
9:30 a.m:     Financial Institutions Committee
                    Insurance Committee
10:30 a.m:   Commerce Committee – New assignment.
1:30 p.m:     Education Committee
 

Interim Committees/Special and Joint Committees

 
The Legislature gaveled out officially on Sine Die, May 26, 2021, and since then I have been involved in many Legislative Interim Committees, community events and other activities that have kept me busy!

Joint Committee on Special Claims Against the State – Chair
This committee met 4 times:  July 22, 2021…September 23, 2021….November 18, 2021….and December 16, 2021.   We heard 79 claims of which the majority were claims from incarcerated individuals against the Department of Corrections.  The purpose of the Joint Committee is to consider claims against state agencies that can only be paid through an act of appropriation and are almost always a “property” loss.  This Joint Committee is generally considered a venue of last resort.  We have 7 members…3 from the Senate and 4 from the House.

Joint Committee on Pensions, Investments, and Benefits – Member
I have been a member of this Joint Committee for 5 years.  We meet one time off-session.  This year we met on December 8th, 2021 and received testimony from Alan Conroy and his staff regarding KPERS Actuarial Valuation, Pension Obligation Bonds and Proceeds, the KPERS 3 Dividend Formula, the KPERS Administration Modernization Project, and we made recommendations for the Committee Report for Legislative Committees to consider next session.  Fun fact:  KPERS has about 154,000 active members ranging in age from 17-92.  Some good news is that all employer groups are contributing the full actuarially required rate for the second year in a row.  The KPERS Trust Fund is in very good shape.
 
Special Committee on Liquor Law Modernization – Member
This committee met 4 times:  August 31, 2021….October 7, 2021……October 8, 2021 …..and November 10, 2021.  The purpose of the committee was to review current liquor laws in Kansas and to determine if there are statutes and/or regulations that require up-dating.  Recommendations were made by the committee that will be presented to the appropriate committees in the House and the Senate next session.
 
Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia – Vice Chair
This committee had its first meeting on July 13, 2018 with the purpose of addressing solutions for students who are struggling readers and who may have difficulties caused by dyslexia or characteristics of dyslexia.  The Task Force met virtually on December 15th to accept reports regarding initiatives that have been undertaken by KBOR and member universities to improve teacher training programs, and from KSDE to detail the progress made regarding professional development opportunities, Dyslexia Handbook creation, screening processes, etc.  Many agencies and individuals have been instrumental in keeping these initiatives moving forward.
 
Shawnee County Delegation Day at the Capitol – Member
Each year the Shawnee County Delegation takes testimony from elected officials, groups, or individuals in Shawnee County that want to speak to the Delegation about specific concerns or legislative platforms.  This year we met on Friday, Dec. 10 2021 and took testimony from 24 individuals representing various groups.  We usually spend a full day collecting valuable information and often hear from our local school districts, many non-profit organizations, the Greater Topeka Partnership, city and county government officials, and other folks who just want to visit with us and share their concerns.

Legislative Appointments and Conferences


I attended the Council of State Governments Midwestern Legislative Conference in Rapid City, South Dakota in July.  This conference is specifically organized and designed by and for the Midwest’s state legislators. There were 37 Kansas legislators who were scheduled to attend. We had many policy sessions and distinguished speakers, including the Governor of South Dakota, the Honorable Kristi Noem. I have been appointed to the Education Committee for the past 3 years and served on the Regulations and Resolutions Committee this year. Next year, the Conference will be held in Wichita!

I was selected to be an Early Childhood Fellow by the National Council of State Legislatures.  I attended several hours of training (virtually) to learn more about how states successfully invest in early learning and child care and to review strategies to expand access to early learning programs and best practices in providing high quality learning experiences for our youngest Kansans.

Out and about in the Community in the off-session

  • Attended the Topeka Small Business Awards Event at Maner Conf. Center.
  • Toured the new huge WalMart Distribution Center in the district as it was under construction (May)
  • Met with the Wabaunsee County Dir. of Economic Development and local officials in Harveyville
  • Flipped Pancakes at the Combat Air Museum (Forbes Field) for their annual fundraiser
  • Attended the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Dinner honoring Dan Chavez, Chavez Inc.; Butch Eaton and Jim Klausman, Midwest Health; Mike Kiley, Security Benefit; and Christel Marquardt, posthumous.
  • Attended the Washburn University Law School Groundbreaking
  • Participated in Operation Food Secure Celebration at the Great Overland Station
  • Served on the Kansas Teacher of the Year Selection Committee and attended the banquet for KTOY in Wichita
  • Visited all Superintendents this fall in the school districts I represent in Shawnee County and Wabaunsee County
  • Parades!  Walked in the Collins Park Parade on the 4th of July and the Auburn Community Parade on October 2nd.
  • Welcomed back the Mission Valley USD 330 staff on August 11th.
  • Hosted the Command and General Staff College International Students at the Capitol on August 12th.
  • Presented, virtually, for the US GLC program’s Heartland Summit
  • Attended the KansasCan KSDE Tour at Washburn Rural Middle School
  • Presented, virtually, for the Topeka Area Retired School Personnel
  • Attended the ribbon cutting for the Polk Quincy Viaduct construction project
  • Attended the KS Electric Cooperatives presentation regarding services across our state
  • Met with a local group of high school foreign exchange students at the Capitol
  • Presented a Senate Tribute to former Commissioner Ted Ensley on Ted Ensley Day (Oct. 17th)
  • Served on the Legislative Panel at KU for the KS Economic Policy Council
  • Attended an information meeting about the plans to renovate the Jayhawk Theater downtown….cannot wait for that to happen!
  • Attended the “State of the Community” event at Townsite Ballroom and Pints and Politics at Envista’s offices on the same day
  • Attended the BSA “20 Under 40” Banquet at Forbes honoring our young Topeka professionals
  • Presented a Senate Tribute to KSHSAA Asst. Director, Cheryl Gleason, on her retirement after 32 years with the organization
  • With several other SNCO Legislators, attended a Washburn Univ. football game – we won!
  • Attended the Boy Scouts Distinguished Citizen Dinner to honor Governor Kelly
  • Participated in a Town Hall in Alma with other legislators in December
  • Honored to attend the Senator Robert Dole Memorial Service at the Capitol on Dec. 11, 2021.

THANK YOU!


As many of you know, my husband passed away unexpectedly on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25th.  It was a very difficult and sad time during the holidays, but I received so many comforting expressions of sympathy in the form of cards, emails, text messages, phone calls, flowers, and donations to his Memorial that I will be forever grateful for your kindness.
 

Contact Me


If you have any questions about the activities in my committees or want to share your views on any of the issues before the legislature, please feel free to email me or call my office.  My Assistant is Linda Woodworth and she will be happy to help you if I am in Committee.
 
Brenda Dietrich
Room 223-E, State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th St.
Topeka, KS 6612
785-296-7648
 
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