Eileen Horn, State Representative for the 10th District, highlighted action during the 2018 session of the Kansas legislature. Horn, a Democrat, was appointed to fill the House seat vacated by John Wilson in August 2017. She worked as the sustainability coordinator for the City of Lawrence and Douglas County until December 2017 when she resigned to focus on her legislative responsibilities.
Although State revenues have begun to surpass projections in recent quarters, Horn noted that state taxes are still lower than in 2012. She explained that after nine rounds of tax cuts, however, there were holes in the State budget that the legislature has had to address.
During its session last winter, the legislature found additional money for transportation projects, K-12 education, and child and family needs. The State is catching up on its contributions to KPERS. Higher education received 2% back from a prior cut. The State’s water plan is funded now. The judiciary and corrections each received money for staff. Telemedicine was approved.
Kansas has ongoing financial challenges, however, especially in K-12 eduction. In June, the State Supreme Court ruled that while the State’s new plan for funding education was now “equitable,” it was still not “adequate.”
Horn ways that the most rewarding part of her new work is to be able to help constituents with their problems. Her biggest frustration is that the schedule of the session and the low stipend mean that legislature is skewed to include those who are older and independently wealthy, that is, those who can afford the time and money to serve.