From the Senate 1/26/23


The 2023 legislative session began on Monday, January 9th with the swearing in of Senator Ron Ryckman, Sr., and new Senator Chase Blasi. Ron Ryckman Sr. replaced Senator Bud Estes two years ago and was reelected for two more years. Senator Chase Blasi is familiar with the Senate having served on staff for both President Wagle and currently President Masterson the past few sessions. Senator Blasi was elected to serve the remaining two years of Senator Suellentrop’s term.

Newly elected Kansas State Treasurer Steven Johnson is taking a hard look at whether ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) policy influences pension fund investment and who manages the investments. Johnson said one of his priorities is making sure that state pension funds are focused on the best return on investment and not ESG principles.

Normally in the first week of session the State of the State is held. Because Governor Kelly tested positive for Covid her address has been postponed until January 24th.

Even though the Governor did not have her State of the State, budget director Adam Proffitt laid out the Governors $24.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2024. Some of the proposals in the budget include accelerating the elimination of the food sales tax, adding $500 million to the rainy day fund, additional money for special education, 5% salary increase for state employees,

Chief Justice Marla Luckert, from Northwest Kansas, delivered the state of the Judiciary address in a joint session to the legislature. Ms. Luckert highlighted the specialty courts across the state, the need for attorneys in rural Kansas, and raising judicial pay.

America has always been the land of opportunity, a land where freedom is secure, and our hopes and dreams can be achieved with hard work and perseverance. In the last few years, this optimism has been replaced by a profound pessimism, as employers struggle to find workers, paychecks remain stagnant, and the cost of living is going through the roof. The good news is that we are Kansans, and we value hard work, faith, freedom, and family which will guide us through the current challenges and toward a better future. Republicans from the House and the Senate joined together in a press conference to announce a comprehensive legislature agenda entitled, “A Better Way: Our Commitment to Kansas.”

In the last three elections, the winner of the Kansas Governor’s race failed to crack 50% of the vote. Lawmakers are looking at the trend and wondering whether Kansas might need a runoff election if a candidate for statewide office fails to get a majority of the vote in the general election. A bill was introduced late Tuesday in the House Elections Committee that would establish runoff elections for statewide elected officials: governor, secretary of state, insurance commissioner, treasurer, and attorney general. The proposal would cover general elections and not apply to any other campaigns of the Legislature, state school board or local offices. The runoff would be held on the first Tuesday of December after the final canvass of votes.

My office has several dates available for 6th graders through high school to serve as a page. Working as a page in the Kansas Legislature is an excellent way to learn more about the legislative process. If your child is interested in being a page for my office the following dates are available:
February 6, 13, 20 or March 6th. Please contact Donna at 785 296-7399 to reserve a date.

I am honored and grateful to represent the 40th Senate District in Kansas. Please do not hesitate to contact me by email: or call me with your questions or concerns, my office number is 785 296-7399 or my cell is 785 899-4700. If you are in Topeka, stop by my office at 545-S.



Legislative Update

Statewide Officials Inaugurated and Legislative Session begins... Monday began the official start of the newly elected leaders in Kansas government as our Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and legislators in the House of... [More]


Legislative Update 6/30/22

‘Tis the season! No, it’s certainly not getting close to Christmas, but it IS an important time to be double-checking that “Naughty or Nice” list. That’s right… it’s campaign season in Kansas! Unfortunately, that means it is also the... [More]


From the Senate

It was a long day and night on the last day of March which was the end of the regular session before first adjournment on April Fool’s Day. The first product of the Tax Conference Committee was CCR 2239.  It passed the Senate unanimously. * a property tax freeze via... [More]


From the Senate 3/31/22

Major work last week included the Senate adopting a budget that includes $22.8 billion in total spending for FY 2023, with a little over $9.0 billion coming from the state general fund. It retires substantial amounts of debt including paying off the $253.9 million for the KPERS... [More]


Legislative Update - 3/17/22

Water Bill Springs a Leak If you’ve ever witnessed the first stage of flooding on a dry stream bed, you can visualize the erratic and random pattern as the water seeks the path of least resistance while it meanders through the rocks and sand. The large proposed water legislation... [More]


From the Senate 3/17/22

Last week we passed the budget out of Ways and Means. On Tuesday debate will be held on the Senate floor to pass said budget. Next week I will let you know the highlights of the budget passed out of the Senate.  The Senate confirmed Janet Stanek as Secretary of Kansas Department... [More]


From the Senate 3/3/22

The legislature has reached the “Turnaround” point of the session, which in legislative jargon essentially means halftime. Under legislative rules, most bills must be adopted by one chamber in order to be considered by the other chamber. The exception would be bills... [More]


From the Senate 2/17/22

Earlier this week, Governor Kelly vetoed the legislation containing the Ad Astra 2 Congressional Map. The Senate and the House overrode the veto.  The House and Senate both adopted the finalized version of the state’s new Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX)... [More]

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Michele Howell Makes First Appearance on Arson Charges

Michele Howell appeared in Wallace County District Court on Wednesday, April 7th in person via zoom meeting.  Her court appointed attorney Justin Barrett, Colby opted not to appear with his client for her first appearance. Wallace County Attorney Charles Moser appeared on... [More]

Margheim and Schippers Sentenced in Wallace County District Court

Jake Wilson Margheim appeared in Wallace County District Court on November 12th, 2020 for sentencing in case number 17 CR 33.  Margheim had been charged with 1 count of unlawful possession with intent to distribute marijuana, a level 4 drug felony, on January 28, 2017.  Margheim... [More]

Traffic Court July-December 2020

Elmer Nelson of Lamar, CO was fined $93 plus court costs on 9/3/2020 - cited driving 73 mph in a 55 mph zone on 1/18/1994 by WACOSO. Kathleen Brammer of Grain Valley, MO was fined $69 plus court costs on 9/10/20250 – cited driving 79 mph in a 65 mph zone on 10/05/2018 by... [More]

Small Claims Court Proceedings

Case number 2020-SC-2 D Walker Concrete, LLC vs Jory Parks. On June 15th, 2020 (plaintiff) D Walker Concrete LLC filed claim against (defendant) Jory Parks, DBA Heartcross Ranch Designs LLC in the amount of $1150.25 for concrete delivered, plus $15 for sheriff service and $67.50... [More]

District Court Sentencings

Rolando Gonzales appeared in Wallace County District Court on January 12, 2020 for sentencing in case number 2019-CR-10 with court appointed attorney Christopher Rohr of Colby, Kans. On February 13, 2019, Gonzales had been found guilty of count 1 Possession of a Controlled Substance,... [More]

Traffic Court March - June

Skyler Jacob Adams Urban, Goodland Kans, transporting an open container, purchase/possession/comume by minor. Deferred adjudication, 12 months. Court Costs $108. William M Dysart, Jr., Weatherford, Okla, driving 82 mph in a 65 mph zone, Fined $87, court cost $108.  Shane... [More]

Wallace County District Court Proceedings

Rene Trevino appeared in Wallace County District Court on October 2, 2019 for sentencing in case number 2019 CR 12.  Trevino had been charged with 1 Count Domestic Battery, a Class B, Person Misdemeanor on September 7, 2019.  He appeared in court with court-appointed... [More]

Traffic Court for January and February

Catherine Elizabeth Capra, Pleasant Hill, Mo, driving 78 mph in a 65 mph zone, deferred, court costs $108. Justin Blake Meyer, St. Francis, Kans, liquor purchased by minor, nolo contendre, fined $200, court costs $239. Transporting an open container, guilty plea, fined $200.... [More]

More Court



Snow Blankets Wallace County Last Week

A much needed 8”- 12” of snow fell over Wallace County last week. Snowfall began on Wednesday and continued off and on until around noon on Saturday.  Above: Looking down at a snow-covered South Park. Left: Erikson and Violet David conquer the mountain of snow... [More]


Kuhlman named to President’s list

Benedictine College has recognized those students who have distinguished themselves academically during the last semester. Aubrey Kuhlman of Sharon Spgs, KS, was recently named to the President’s List for the fall semester, which ended December 12, 2022. Any full-time student... [More]


Workshop Explores Family History Writing

The Prairie Museum of Art & History in Colby will host “A Creative Guide to Writing Your Family’s Stories,” a presentation and discussion by Kim Stanley on Sunday, February 5 at 1:30 PM.  Members of the community are invited to attend the free program.... [More]


“The Kansas Legislature” returns

Another LIVE production from Smoky Hills PBS, The Kansas Legislature, will kick off Friday, February 3 at 7 PM.  Streaming will also be available on our YouTube channel: The show airs during the legislative session, which gives the... [More]

Governor Kelly Advocates for "Axing Your Taxes" Plan

Governor Laura Kelly traveled to Wichita recently to call on local legislators to support her 'Axing Your Taxes' plan, which would save Kansans more than $500 million in tax cuts over the next three years. The three-pronged plan includes a push to immediately 'axe the tax' on... [More]


Wildcat Basketball Against Bulldogs

The Wildcats came up short against the Quinter Bulldogs with a final score of 41-51. The Lady Wildcats won their game against Quinter 50-29. Photo by Peggy Fischer. Left: Wildcat Tharyan Hawkins goes up and under for 2 against the Quinter Bulldogs at home last week. Right:... [More]


WCHS Winter Homecoming Royalty Crowned

Friday, January 13th, WCHS crowned Winter Homecoming King Cauy Dinkel and Queen Joss Benisch.  Front row:  Hayden Wagoner, Bane Fischer, Elli Edwards, Claire Walker-Helsel, Tiera Eby, back row: Seferino Juarez, Joss Benisch, Queen, Cauy Dinkel, King, and Gabe Johnson. ... [More]


Hennick Lumber Giveaway Winners

Congratulations Skyler Rains and Joni Turk, winners of Hennick Lumber’s recent $500 giveaway!

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Bugle Notes - 1/26/23

Cottonwood Connections is a new video series on Smoky Hills Public Television being produced through the Friends of the Cottonwood Ranch with film director Ed Lowry. An initial season included host/historian Don Rowlison who explored such subjects as Legacy of the Cottonwood... [More]


Bugle Notes - 12/1/22

You are invited to join us at the Fort Wallace Museum this coming Sunday, December 4 at 5 pm for our annual “Candlelight Christmas!” The 1888 Bethany Lutheran Church is the location for a traditional Swedish Lutheran Carol service, with special music. Afterward, attendees... [More]


Bugle Notes - 10/27/22

The Fort Wallace Museum is pleased to announce another venture, this time into the publication of a children’s book “A Dragon’s Tale” by Marla Matkin. This whimsical piece of historical fiction features a little boy named Elliot who loves to imagine himself... [More]


Bugle Notes...

The Fort Wallace Museum recently gained another marvelous piece of history by way of our good friend Lt. Col (ret) Dennis “DK” Clark of Lansing, KS. This esteemed military strategist and historian is the namesake of our historic lecture series as well as sponsor of... [More]


Bugle Notes - 9/29/22

During the recent History Exposition, our guest historian and bugle expert Jari Villanueva was intrigued by the musical instrument displayed in the Enlisted Barracks area. This strange brass instrument has been in the Fort Wallace Museum collection for many years and is inventoried... [More]


Bugle Notes - 9/17/22

The Fort Wallace Museum has just completed a big weekend of activities, which in spite of small challenges, was a success. Our 2022 History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days had the theme of “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail, “ and brought in local historians... [More]


Fort Wallace Museum to Host History Exposition

Don’t miss this weekend’s History Exposition and Outdoor Education Day “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail!” On Friday and Saturday, the grounds will be filled with demonstrations of telegraphy, oxen, printing press, bugle calls, Cheyenne Ledger... [More]


Bugle Notes - 9/1/22

Our big History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days are approaching on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10! This year’s theme is “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail,” with exhibits on telegraph, telephone, military communication, bugle calls, Plains... [More]

More Bugle Notes