Lobbyist Report: November 2017

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee met and voted on Governor Brownback’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom the first week of October. It was a close vote, 11 to 10 in favor, so it will go to the full Senate for confirmation. It is anticipated that he will be approved by the Senate. Lt. Governor Colyer will assume the reins of the governorship once that happens. We really don’t know where Colyer leans on policy, so that is somewhat of an unknown at this stage of the game. Governor Brownback signed Motorcycle Awareness Proclamations each of several past years, so we’ll have to see if Colyer is willing to do so as well.
Many ABATE of Kansas members attended the Mid-South M.I.L.E. event in Hot Springs, Arkansas in October. Kansas won the award for the most attendees of the 6 six states that are part of the collaboration. Jeanie and I attended workshops on leadership, AMA updates, MRF updates, rider safety, and of course of course the state SMRO updates and the banquet. Mike Sayre from the AMA was there and did workshops on AMA strategies as well as issues involved with automotive technology. The state updates were quite informative. Many states have reported incidences of motorcycle profiling, although interestingly some incidents are not reported to the SMRO’s or contested with law enforcement. Right of way violation bills are in the works for several states, including Kansas. .It was good to see old friends and unite to focus on motorcycle rights and safety. Next year’s event will be in Oklahoma City. I encourage our members to attend if possible, as it is a learning experience and a way to connect with bikers in other states. As always, I encourage you to join the MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation) and the American Motorcyclists Association (AMA), to stay abreast of happens on the national front. The Bikers on the Beltway event will be in Washington in May next year, and in September the Meeting of the Minds will be in Denver in September. More details forthcoming, but if you can break away from work to meet with you federal representatives, or attend the annual MRF conference, it would be a very educational experience, as well as a chance to meet with legislators.
While elections for state offices are a year away, races are already heating up. It seems like it changes daily, but there are around 8 Republicans registered to run for governor, and another 5 or so for the Democrats. Interestingly, there are three teenagers that have announced their candidacy, two Republicans and one a Democrat. None will be old enough to vote in the primary elections next year, and only one of them will be of voting age by the general election. Perhaps our youth are getting fed up with the current political situation, which might be a very good thing.
As reported last month, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the level of funding for K-12 approved by the legislature was neither adequate nor equitable. A subcommittee has been formed to start working on legislation to address these issues, which have to be addressed by the end of April when initial briefs to the Court will be required.
I have registered with the Secretary of State as the ABATE of Kansas Lobbyist for 2018, paid the fees, and have my 2018 badge, so am ready to serve our organization as we go into the next legislative session.
As always, please contact me with your legislative concerns and also your legislative contacts. It is always nice to be introduced to a legislator by someone who has a relationship with that person. And while it is a bit more difficult to contact your representatives during the off session times, I can provide you with their personal phone and email address if you need. My contact information is in the newsletter.

Steve Christenberry
ABATE of Kansas