COVID-19 has led to some difficult times for the legislature but there have been positive accomplishments this year.
State Senator Tom Hawk, Manhattan, feels some incredible things were accomplished, particularly on the economic front. "We brought in more businesses than we ever have before. I think they're somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 billion dollars that occurred this past year, we've resurrected the Main Street program."
Hawk noted that he thought the Commerce Department was being brought back and getting involved in trying to recruit businesses to Kansas, and have a presence both nationally and internationally. He also pointed out that the Legislature has cooperated by providing tools.
On another topic Hawk referred to electric vehicles and observed that GM plans to have the electric option on all of the vehicles in the next ten years. "We need to make sure that people don't route around Kansas so that they can get their vehicles charged."
State Representative Lonnie Clark, Junction City, said the primary measure coming out of the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee dealt with military spouses employment. "Reducing the amount of time it takes for reciprocity to come out of one state into another state. It allowed people that have a professional license in the states can come to Kansas, and if it's less than 30 days they can be licensed in Kansas."
State Representative Dave Baker, Council Grove, reported that there is an aggressive effort to go after trails in Kansas. "In this area with all of the scenery and with Milford Lake we have some wonderful, wonderful assets here, and those trails are used by a lot of different people from different walks of life."
Baker stated the Flint Hills Nature Trail follows an abandoned rail line from Osawatomie to Herington. "It's not finished all the way but on a stretch from Council Grove running east several miles the amount of people walking and riding their horses on the trail is amazing.
Baker said he expects to see more trails in Geary County with one aggressive initiative taking a trail from Wamego through Manhattan over Fort Riley to Milford Lake. Baker is urging KDOT to bring the trail down to Junction City and then to Herington to tie it into the Flint Hills Nature Trail. He said so far KDOT has been receptive. The State Represented noted that's a stretch, but there will be an effort to push hard to make it happen.
Hawk, Clark and Baker spoke during a Chamber of Commerce Legislative Coffee on Saturday at the Junction City Municipal Building.