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Opinion
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 09:03

By State Senator Garrett Love

The legislature has been on its break the last few weeks and just returned for Veto session this Wednesday. I have enjoyed being able to touch base with constituents at townhalls across SW Kansas. We have now had around 25 townhalls since the 2013 legislative session began. Being able to hear feedback on the important issues we are facing is very important to me. 
One of the major events during this break is new consensus revenue estimates are put together to update the estimate from December. The positive news from that was the estimates for the coming fiscal year only changed by a relatively small amount from previous estimates, which will be helpful as we are putting together the final budget.
Earlier this session, the Senate passed HB 2105 which would revise current Unemployment Insurance laws. Unemployment Insurance provides a safety net for employees who are laid-off. Currently, the Unemployment Insurance fund is depleted due to an increased unemployment rate, nationally. Most notably, HB 2105 amends current law by reducing the weeks an individual can claim benefits and increases the amount businesses who use the fund the most pay for Unemployment Insurance. 
A study from the NBER shows by lowering the duration an individual can receive benefits you create an incentive to find full-time employment quicker. The bill also provides incentives to businesses that currently retain a positive balance. 
An amendment adopted during floor debate would also disqualify suspended employees from receiving benefits.
In an earlier newsletter, I talked about a bill we were working in the Judiciary Committee that would strengthen the state's human trafficking laws with the specific focus on protecting children from commercial sexual exploitation. This is an issue I am very passionate about. 
The bill establishes a Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Fund to help provide assistance to victims of human trafficking and other sex related crimes. The fund will be set up with fines and penalties on those that are the offenders and traffickers. The bill also establishes special child in need of care procedures for children who have been subjected to human trafficking and expedites expungement procedures for those convicted of selling sexual relations, if coercion is involved. 
A new crime of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of a child is established, under the provisions of the bill, to increase the penalties of patronizing a prostitute and promoting prostitution of a person under the age of 18. 
Over the last few weeks, both bodies gave approval to this bill and it was signed by the governor. Among the greatest priorities of those of us in the Legislature is to protect the dignity of human life. I am thrilled this targeted, reasonable legislation to help fight human trafficking passed & will now be becoming law.
Other bills that have been signed by governor so far this session:
• Requirement of drug testing for welfare recipients upon reasonable suspicion.
• Removed the statute of limitations on rape to help in the prosecution of rapists with improved technology.
• A bill that allows an individual to use their cell phone to display their insurance to an officer when you have been pulled over.
• Multiple bills protecting our 2nd Amendment Rights.
• Strengthening protections for farmland and agricultural activities from certain nuisance actions.
• A bill outlawing abortions strictly because an unborn baby is a boy or a girl and eliminating taxpayer funding of abortions through credits or deductions.
• Created a KanCare oversight committee which was named in honor of Rep. Bob Bethell, who worked very hard on this issue and passed away in a tragic accident driving home from the Capitol last year.
I hope you continue to track the Legislature's work in Topeka over the final weeks of the 2013 session. Committee schedules, bills, and other helpful information can be easily accessed through the legislature's website at www.kslegislature.org. 
I believe it is an important part of the process to keep my constituents updated and more importantly to “listen” to my constituents. I encourage you to let me know your thoughts on the issues discussed by the legislature and others which might be affecting you. Please feel free to contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Thank you for the honor of serving you.

 
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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press.

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