District 33 Senator Mary Jo Taylor has sent out surveys to her constituents asking for input and opinions on major issues facing the Kansas Legislature this year.
State Sen. Mary Jo Taylor of Stafford has tapped the pulse of 12,830 registered Republicans in the 33rd Congregational District she represents through a survey seeking to learn their priorities regarding Medicaid expansion, K-12 public education, transportation, state employee wages and medicinal marijuana.
Responders were given choices of “Strongly Support”, “Somewhat Support”, “Neutral”, “Somewhat Oppose” and “Strongly Oppose” for each topic and space for comments was also provided on the survey form. An option to complete the survey online was also provided.
“I’m very pleased that constituents are responding because it’s important for me to know their priorities,” said Taylor, who currently serves on three committees – Public Education, Public Health & Welfare and Agriculture and Natural Resources – that meet daily while the legislature is in session.
Taylor said that so far electronic responses are outnumbering mail responses by 495 electronic returns to 366 mail returns.
“That surprising to me,” Taylor said.
Taylor said she and her staff have tabulated the mail responses, but that the electronic responses have not yet been tallied.
“It’s also gratifying to me to know that voters who responded favor pay raises for state employees, many of whom have not received pay increases for eight to 10 years,” Taylor said.
For each of the five topics included in the survey, Taylor included a brief synopsis, followed by the survey question and the five categories of responses, ranging from strongly support to strongly oppose. The responses for strongly support and somewhat support were combined for the initial survey analysis, as were the responses for somewhat oppose and strongly oppose. The neutral responses were not tallied.
Survey comments and questions and tabulated responses of surveys received by mail include:
Medicaid Expansion Synopsis: Another rural Kansas hospital closed this summer with dozens more at risk. Thousands of my constituents cannot afford health insurance. The federal government significantly increased the requirements to qualify for Medicaid, but Kansas could expand those requirements to give health care access to working Kansans below the poverty line.
Medicaid Survey Question: Do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid access?
Medicaid Survey Responses: 61.7 percent of mailed responses showed strongly or somewhat support for this topic and 27.8 percent cent showed strongly oppose or somewhat oppose, with other responses marked neutral.
K-12 Public Education Synopsis: For the first time in more than a decade, Kansas students have a fully-funded K-12 public education system. I was proud to be a part of the solution to help our kids prepare for college and work.
Public Education Survey Question: Do you support or oppose changing the Kansas Constitution to remove the requirement to provide “suitable” education funding?
Public Education Survey Responses: 35.7 percent of mailed responses showed strong or somewhat support for this topic and 54 percent showed strongly oppose or somewhat oppose, with other responses marked neutral.
Transportation Synopsis: Last year, the legislature created a task force to begin restoring our neglected transportation infrastructure. The transportation budget is funded by federal investments, long-term bonding (similar to loans), and the gas tax. The current transportation budget was defunded to pay for the 2012 tax breaks, so a new plan will require new funding if these projects are to move forward.
Transportation Question: Do you support or oppose paying for transportation projects with the gas tax and additional bonding?
Transportation Survey Responses: 68.8 percent showed strongly support or somewhat support and 19.6 showed strongly oppose or somewhat oppose, with other responses marked neutral.
State Employee Wages Synopsis: Our communities include thousands of state employees, many of whom work in our correctional and mental health institutions. These facilities have been chronically understaffed, causing injuries and riots, which deter applicants, leading to further shortages.
State Employee Wages Question: Do you support or oppose state employee pay raises to recruit and retain qualified staff?
State Employee Wages Survey Responses: 73.3 percent showed strongly support or somewhat support and 15.4 percent showed strongly oppose or somewhat oppose, with other responses marked neutral.
Medicinal Marijuana Synopsis: The legislature approved a pilot project for research and development of industrial hemp. Although not a “magic pill” for our rural challenges, it could provide crop diversity. The legislature will consider legalizing medicinal marijuana this year for medicinal and/or recreational purposes.
Medicinal Marijuana Question: Do you support or oppose legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes?
Medicinal Marijuana Survey Responses: 51.6 percent showed strongly support or somewhat support and 36.7 percent showed strongly oppose or somewhat oppose, with other responses marked neutral.
Taylor said registered voters wishing to participate in the survey may do so online at http://bit.ly/mjt2018 through February. The survey is open to all registered voters in the 33rd Congressional District.