Legislative Update from Representative Shannon Francis

Visitors from Home

Shannon Francis's Visitors
This week it was great to visit with Carolyn, David and Travis Quillin.   We talked about the legislative agenda of our soil conservation districts as well as a more general discussion on the issues facing all of Kansas especially the economic opportunities available for our residents.

Dr. Trzaska, President of Seward County Community College/ATS, was in town for meetings.  There is a push in the legislature to change the funding formula for tiered technical education.  This change could result in less state funding for our college and others in Southwest Kansas.  Another concern we talked about was the implementation of service areas for the public four year institutions without any approval from our local college.

At Thursday’s Agriculture Committee I received a report from the Local Food and Farm Task Force.  The report talked about higher profit crops that could be grown in Southwest Kansas.  I was pleased that a member of the Task Force was David Coltrain.  David is the Sustainable Agriculture Program Specialist at SCCC.  Agriculture is the base of our economy.  Increasing sustainability, adding value, and increasing the profitability of our local Ag economy are vital to our community’s economic growth

Highway 54 Bid Letting

The first phase of the Highway 54 four lane expansion project in Seward County was bid out last week.  It is my understanding this phase is the portion of Highway 54 by the ethanol plant. The successful bid came in around $4 million less than program estimates.  On Highway 83 the intersection for US160/K144 intersection north of Sublette will also receive a major upgrade.

Topeka Concerns

This week I learned that the $400 million in KDOT bonds that were issued last year (to cover the $385 million in KDOT transfers to the general fund) were interest only until 2025.  Most bonds begin amortization of principal when they are issued, like a home mortgage.  I do not believe it is fiscally conservative for the state of Kansas to be issuing interest only bonds. Just as troubling is the fact that the bonds were issued in this way without legislative input.

On Wednesday the Governor signed a $20 million, 15-year lease-purchase deal for a new state power plant without legislative approval. In fairness, lease purchase agreements do not specifically require legislative approval but it was widely viewed in Topeka as an end-run around the Legislature.  Items of this nature are normally handled through the legislative appropriations process, especially when it involves putting state buildings up as collateral. The original estimate for the project had been $9 million with the final cost rising to $16.4 million. With the cost of financing added in, the total bill gets to $20 million. Legislators that serve on the State Building Committee had recently asked for a new feasibility study to determine whether it still made financial sense to proceed with the demolition of the Docking Building and to build a new power plant or if instead the existing power facility and a portion of the Docking Building should be preserved. Instead of issuing the requested feasability study so that legislators could evaluate the costs, the lease-purchase deal was executed.

Both of these issues have added to the distrust in Topeka. I will be working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to drill down for more answers and determine what measures need to be put in place to ensure proper oversight and fiscal responsibility.

Legislative Coffee

I will be having my next Legislative Coffee Saturday, January 30th  at 10 am at Spencer Browne’s Coffee House.  Please come by and let me know your thoughts.

Constituent Services

Please reach out to me regarding issues with our state government that I can help with.  I do ask that you send the request to me by email.  My email address is: This insures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with. 

I say that power must never be trusted without a check.”  (John Adams)

Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Please contact me anytime. My email is:  

Contact Shannon

At the Legislature

Room: 167-W
State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-7655

At Home:

1501 Tucker Court
Liberal, Kansas 67901
Phone: 620-624-9571

Useful Resources

State of Kansas Website

The Kansas Legislature

Legislative Bill Reports

Listen Live to Proceedings

Find a State Agency

Kansas unclaimed Property

Current Road Conditions

National Do Not Call List

Kansas Charity Check

Useful Phone Numbers

Medicaid Fraud
Welfare Fraud Hotline

Department On Aging

Child/Adult Abuse Hotline

Child & Family Services

Consumer Protection

Crime Tip Hotline

Crime Victim Assistance

Gov- Brownback

Highway Road Conditions
511 (in Kansas)

Housing Hotline

KanCare Assistance

Kansas Lottery

Legislative Hotline

Mental Health Services

School Safety Hotline

Social Security

Taxpayer Assistance

Tax Refund Status

Unclaimed Property

Unemployment Insurance

Vital Statistics

Voter Registration

Worker's Comp
Facebook Share
Mail to Friend Tweet

Paid for by Shannon Francis for State Representative, Lisa Hatcher Treasurer

Copyright © 2016 Shannon Francis for State Representative, All rights reserved.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp