The 2013 session of the Kansas Legislature is off and running! With 55 new House members and 16 new senators, there is a lot of new energy and enthusiasm for shaping public policy under the Statehouse dome.
The pace of the session this year will be a fast one, with legislative leaders encouraging their members to finish work in a record-short 80 days (most sessions easily pass 90 days). With that aggressive goal in mind, various legislative committees are already hearing bills and advancing policies onto the next stages of consideration.
For the University of Kansas and its agenda, this year is largely a year focused on budget issues. Our priorities are holding the line against further budget reductions, finding resources (if possible) for additional salary adjustments and supporting strategic investments at the KU Medical Center.
The state’s budget this year is an extraordinary lean one, so our task will not be easy. The Governor’s budget recommendations did include funding for further investments at the KU Medical Center and basically a flat budget for all other areas of higher education. While other state agencies and programs are seeing significant proposed reductions, we are grateful for a recommendation of level funding.
New this year is a two-year budget proposal from Governor Brownback. This approach will be quite helpful in giving the university and other state agencies added predictability and, hopefully, stability in the area of state funding.
The Governor’s budget for KU and other Regents institutions reflects the administration’s commitment to higher education and the important role it plays in strengthening the state’s economy. As Regent Fred Logan has often stated, Kansas can’t have a pro-growth agenda without strong support for higher education.
The next 80 (or so) days will be important ones in shaping budgets and policies for our state and the university. Thank you in advance for your support and engagement in this process at the Kansas Legislature.
Director of State Relations