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State lawmakers from south central Kansas met in Wichita Thursday afternoon to hear about the needs and concerns of local governments and school districts for the upcoming legislative session. Wichita mayor Carl Brewer and Sedgwick County commission chairman Tim Norton were among the local leaders who made presentations to the lawmakers at the Wichita State University Metropolitan Complex.
State senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau of Wichita is the new chair of the south central Kansas delegation this year, and she expects the upcoming session to be one of the most difficult she has experienced, because of an expected budget deficit of around $267 million Faust-Goudeau says she's hoping that compromises can be made to do what's best for the people of Kansas. The vice-chair of the south central delegation this year will be state representative Jim Howell of Derby.
State senator Carolyn McGinn says in the long run, Kansas will need a budget that is consistent and steady with a strong revenue stream. She lawmakers will have to look at taxes and figure out how to provide for essential needs like social services and education.
State representative Jim Ward of Wichita says one issue that will come up early in the session involves changes in the way Kansas Supreme Court and appeals court judges are selected. Ward says the current system is working and the issue is "pure politics, bad politics."