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Government

Local Legislators To Hold Public Forum Ahead Of 2017 Session

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Stephen Koranda
/
KPR/File photo

Legislators from south-central Kansas will hold a public forum Wednesday, less than a week before lawmakers convene for the 2017 session.

The forum was originally slated to invite audience members to write their questions on cards to be read to the delegation. Chairman Michael O'Donnell--an outgoing state senator and incoming Sedgwick County commissioner--says he believes that format would have allowed legislators to directly answer more questions.

"In previous forums, it was just the time that people came and spoke, and the legislators were never really able to answer specific policy questions," he says.

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Credit South Central Kansas Legislative Delegation Facebook
Michael O'Donnell's post announcing the change in format to Wednesday's public forum.

But after receiving some negative feedback online, O'Donnell brought back the old format. Up to 75 members of the public will be allowed to speak for up to 1 minute. Anyone who wants to address lawmakers will need to sign up before the event.

O'Donnell says he expects taxes, the state budget, and education funding will be main themes at the forum.

"The 2017 session will be one of the most consequential in Kansas history," he says, "with a new school finance formula, a new tax plan, budget shortfall looking at a two-year budget shortfall of close to $1 billion."

The forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sedgwick County Courthouse in downtown Wichita; doors open at 6 p.m.

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Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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