Welcome to the 2020 session. This has been the fastest start to legislative work during my term in the Kansas Senate. In the past, it was weeks before we really got things going. Committees are kicking out bills and the list is getting long.

Senate rules are different from House rules — as they should be. The Majority Leader in the Senate decides what will get heard or acted on by the entire body. The Senate President decides which committee gets which bill and sometimes influences the speed that a bill is heard (or not heard). Usually the majority leader and the senate president work closely on every bill.

The bill that we will be discussing on Medicaid expansion is a bill that was negotiated with the governor and the majority leader, a republican. Many lobbying groups such as Americans for Prosperity (AFP) are very opposed to this expansion. I certainly understand it — the bill increases government. However, 36 states have already expanded. Kansans are paying for the expansion (Medicaid tax) but not receiving federal money for expansion. I believe this expansion will significantly help the medical providers in this district (five hospitals and several clinics). I assume we will get a good bill on the floor soon.

I have never used my allocation of state funds to send out newsletters or related mailings. I just don’t think it is proper to use state funds to send out my opinions. I will not respond to “canned” or bulk emails. This week I received a handwritten note from a teacher in Neodesha who asked me to work on protecting our students. It was hand-delivered by a group called Moms Demand Action (an anti-gun violence group). I will visit with anyone who wants to share ideas.

Recently, a person said I should do something for the average person in Kansas. It’s always my goal to help the majority of Kansans, whether they are “average” or not, but especially those I was elected to represent in the14th District. Eliminating the tax experiment in Kansas started a repair in the state’s budget that is good for all. I have never voted for a property tax increase. I met with the governor last year and found out what she would sign in terms of tax reductions. Then working with the revisors (people who write the bills), I introduced that bill. It was never assigned by the senate president to be heard by a committee last year. Rest assured I will keep trying to present or support solutions that I believe serve the interests of the 14th District as well as the entire state.

Feel free to contact me at (785-) 296-7678 or at bruce.givens@senate.ks.gov. It is a privilege to serve you.


Kansas Sen. Bruce Givens, R-El Dorado, represents District 14, which includes all of Chatauqua County and part of  Cowley County.

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