From the Statehouse to your home
January 28, 2023
Dear friends …
Though most of the media cravings during Week 3 of the 2023 Legislature were understandably focused on the governor’s State of the State address on Tuesday night, the always wildly successful Liberal pancake feed the next morning was clearly the focus of most of our hunger cravings! Legislatively, we approved S. Con. Res. 1602 verbally, expressing disagreement with any attempt to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species – and all the bureaucratic regulation that will entail. Not necessarily in response, but who knows? – the US Fish and Wildlife Service almost immediately afterward announced a delayed implementation of its “plan” until March 27, 2023, meaning we can all relax and feel better about our protected habitat before it the feds take over. Naturally, then the age-old question arises: who will protect them from the “protectors?”
Meanwhile, SB 3, which establishes the dinosaur Silvisaurus condrayi as the official state fossil, has the distinction of being the only size currently under consideration for general orders for the floor, so look out soon! Trivia from my committees this week include the fact that while Kansas ranks #1 in the nation in corn production, the dollar value of the corn harvested is actually 70% greater ($2.2 billion :: $ 3.7 billion). At the same time, we were told that growing fruit and vegetables would be far more profitable than wheat if only we could get the labor, prompting me to recall that I was once told that prior to Prohibition Kansas was the leading producer of grapes and wine in America. . None of these statistics seemed to matter, however, when he was informed that our state suffered more than $350 million in unemployment benefit fraud last year. Ah, aren’t government-run programs great?
Something truly exceptional is the recognition bestowed on two of our 38th District teachers last week with their announcement by the state Department of Education as recipients of the 2023 Kansas Horizon Award. There were only 32 of these honorees in all the state, so it is with great pride that I include their mention in this newsletter. Congratulations to Kaisha Batman, Dodge City High School, and Monica Blanco, Dodge City Middle School, for outstanding achievements – and dedication to positively impacting our youth – that led to their selection. Many of you already read about their ceremonies in last week’s Dodge City Globe (January 17), but this Friday they received yet another tribute from the Kansas Senate. Congratulations to you both – and may they inspire others to follow in their footsteps as exemplary educators.
The entire subject of our children’s education was front and center in both the Governor’s State of the State address and our Senate President’s response. When he stated his opposition to any attempt to pit parents against teachers, however, I thought to myself, “I’m not sure we’re doing the ‘flipping.’ opposition to school choice and his veto of both the Bill of Parental Rights and a ban on biological men from competing in women’s sports. I’d be interested in how you feel about things like expanding tax credits for private school scholarship donations and the participation of homeschoolers in public school sports, so please call my office at 785-296-7359 or Email me Ron. [email protected] to let me know.
The same goes for a separate proposal to ban foreign ownership of private property in Kansas, ostensibly to prevent China from “buying” our state as Brazil has and ultimately controlling the food supply. Curiously, that “lateral” problem arose when we learned from the wildlife and parks secretary that less than three percent of our land is publicly owned, which puts us near last (48 out of 50) in opportunities of hunting. Do any of you remember the days when it was enough to knock on a farm door and ask permission to catch a fish or shoot a pheasant? Truth be told, no “permit” was needed to stop by my Capitol office while visiting Topeka. As always, I thank you for the high honor and privilege of serving as your “voice” there – and join you in wishing Kansas a happy 162nd birthday![Ron Ryckman, Sr. is the Kansas 38th District State Senator representing all or parts of Clark, Ford, Gray, Haskell, Hodgeman, Meade, and Seward Counties. His weekly “Recap” will be carried while the Legislature is in Session from January through April.]