Archive for Thursday, January 10, 2013

Local groups bring concerns to legislators

January 10, 2013


Representatives of local organizations on Thursday brought their requests, concerns and ideas to Douglas County legislators in preparation for the 2013 legislative session that starts Monday.

Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care, detailed recommendations aimed at helping improve care for the elderly.

She urged legislators to push for passage of legislation that would require nursing facilities to notify residents or their families when a registered criminal offender is living in the facility.

"That is a serious issue," McFatrich said.

In addition, she urged maintenance of funding for long-term care service and increasing the minimum requirement of nursing staff hours at nursing facilities.

She also expressed concern about last year's reorganization of social welfare agencies in which the former Kansas Department on Aging took on numerous other functions.The new Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is "no longer focused solely on aging issues," she said.

Representatives of the Kansas University Classified and Support Staff Council asked that the Legislature approve a 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment for employees.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, said, "We will deliver the message and argue the point." Ballard said state employees are long overdue for a payraise.

Sharon Spratt, chief executive officer of Cottonwood Inc., which provides services for people with developmental disabilities, said budget cuts are hurting. "The funding cuts in recent years are now hitting us doubly hard," she said.

Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society, said the state should tap $250,000 of its lottery revenue to adequately staff the state's historic sites.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, suggested that the historical society contact the Kansas Lottery about the possibility of forming games around historic themes with a portion of the proceeds going to the historic sites.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said because of drastic changes in the makeup of the Legislature, there are a lot of questions about what will pass and fail during the upcoming legislative session.

"There are more unknowns than I have probably experienced going into any session," Davis said.


JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago

Good luck with the present political landscape.

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