Newsletter - February 16, 2019
I enjoyed visiting with Sarah Arriaga of Liberal and Zoey Wallis of Denver about the issues important to our college students today. Sarah studies at Washburn and is a member of the student government. Zoey attends Fort Hays.
Lori Hensley and Maribel Vega with LARCDV were in Topeka talking about sexual assault and domestic violence issues in our area. In my newsletter dated February 3rd
, I gave a recap of the efforts of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations to eliminate the backlog of sexual assault kit testing in our state.
At the Kansas Livestock Association I sat with Liberal residents Dalton Rutledge, representing Supreme Feeders, and Socorro Martinez, representing Merck Animal Health.
I had a nice visit with Liberal High graduate Dr. Travis Oller. Travis is the Executive Director of the Kansas Chiropractic Association, the oldest chiropractic association in the United States.
Governor Lists US-54 Expansion
Among New Highway Project
This week the Governor announced plans for the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to invest $160 million from her 2020 budget for transportation projects. Those projects include completion of the US-54 expansion project in Seward County, which has been let for construction in Fall 2019.
KDOT’s other plans include:
- Increase the highway preservation investment from $350 – $400 million
- US-169 in Anderson County (Modernization project; let for construction Fall 2019)
- US-281 in Russell County (Modernization project; let for construction Spring 2020)
- US-50 in Lyon County (Expansion Project; let for construction Spring 2020)
- Reinstate the Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program
- Implement a new cost-share program for state/local partnerships
- Enhance the safety program (passing lanes, turning lanes and intersection improvements)
- Increase City Connecting Link maintenance payments
- Increase funding for modal programs (e.g., transit, aviation, rail and bike/pedestrian)
Transportation and Safety Budget Committee
As Chairman of the Transportation and Safety Budget Committee it is my responsibility to report and defend the decisions of my committee when they are reported to the Appropriations Committee for acceptance. It’s the second step in a long process to make sure that spending is thoroughly reviewed. This week three program enhancements recommended by my committee were accepted by the House Appropriations Committee.
The first program enhancement was for the SB 123 Substance Abuse Treatment. This program helps people with addiction so they can keep their jobs and families and don’t eventually wind up in prison. Local grant recipients for this program are Cimarron Basin Community Corrections and City on a Hill, Inc. This program is only available for lower-level drug possession offenses. Those with drug sale/distribution convictions are not eligible.
- Offenders in the programs were 25-30% less likely to recidivate than non-SB 123 offenders
- SB 123 cases had a lower rate of re-conviction (7.7%) compared to non-SB 123 cases (10.6%)
- SB 123 participants who completed the program were 75% less likely to reoffend with a new conviction
- A recent review of data found that at least 57% of SB 123 offenders successfully completed probation
The second enhancement was funding for the KBI to address to the growing threat financial and cyber crimes pose to our economy, citizens, businesses and state. The KBI serves as the state’s principal investigative agency and provides assistance across the state for local police departments and sheriff’s offices that lack the capability and capacities to conduct investigations in these areas of rapidly changing technology. In 2015, IC3’s Internet Crime Report stated 1,799 Kansas victims reported a total loss of nearly $3.9 million due to online fraud and/or scams. Complaints received from across the country reported 833 suspects from Kansas. Across the nation hackers are holding businesses and governments hostage by locking them out of their own software systems.
The next enhancement, while not very flashy, was considered the most important by the members of my committee that have a background in law enforcement. It involves maintaining, improving, and protecting the complex information systems the KBI maintains and provides for the Kansas criminal justice system. These systems include the Kansas Incident Based Reporting System, the Kansas Offender Registry, the Criminal History Record Information System, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, the Missing Persons Clearinghouse, and the Combined DNA Indexing System.
"It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling" Mark Twain
Please note my office location has changed. I am now in office 274W, second floor west wing.
Please reach out to me any time I can assist you with a state agency concern. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. This ensures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Contact me anytime with your questions, ideas or concerns. You can reach me when I’m in Topeka by email Shannon.firstname.lastname@example.org
, by phone (785) 296-7466, or by mail at 300 SW 10th
Avenue, 274-W, Topeka, KS 66612.