As we expected Gov. Brownback and his allies have convinced House leadership from taking up our 2 man bill. The carriers pulled out all the stops including flying CEO of BNSF Matt Rose up to have a conversation with the governor. For now our bill will not move and is dead.
What this means. We will begin to lay groundwork in the house, because of the great committee hearings and your letters and calls, this has become an issue that many legislators are committed to. While we were working the Senate many House members shown interest in introducing the same type of legislation next session. If we can introduce companion bills in the House and Senate next session our odds go up getting it to the Governor’s desk.
What can we do to sway the governor? I will continue to build coalitions all across Kansas the rest of the year. It is my goal to have every city that has a rail terminal sign letters of intent to support SB164. I will continue to lobby municipalities, counties and emergency response agencies to join our cause. Along with community outreach and public service announcements we will begin a legislative conference of two man supporters amongst current and potential legislators.
Legislation of this type typically takes years to get signed into law. We have some revisions that have to be made in our current bill that will increase support, such as citing the enforcement agency (this could be a gateway to a separate rail division in KDOT, but that's another conversation).
Although we did not get our 2man bill to the governor’s desk we do have good news, because staunch conservative interest were tied up fighting us on two man legislation and other labor issues. We have not seen attacks on private sector unions. For once we were on the offensive. However, strong republican leadership continues its fight against public sector unions (teachers’ police firefighters….) there has been a compromise on some bills though
We’re just at the halfway point in the legislature and a lot can change but that’s where we’re at. Of note I was on a conference call earlier and it sounds like California, North Dakota, Utah and Washington all have a good shot at two man legislation. Thanks to all those SLDs’s and their members as well. Our DC office says the immense pressure we (the states) have put on two man legislation has been very helpful towards our priority goal of having a NATIONAL two man bill.
On a national note as soon as tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 749, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015. Please contact your representative in Congress to ask that they support this bill. This bipartisan bill authorizes approximately $1.7 billion annually to fund Amtrak and includes reforms to improve transparency and accountability. Please ask your U.S. Representative to vote “yes” on H.R. 749. To look up contact information for your Representative, click here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Tomorrow is municipal primary voting. GO VOTE!
Thank You Brothers, our work does not stop let’s keep fighting!
United Transportation Union - SMART
Kansas Legislative Director
523 SW VanBuren Suite 100
Topeka, Kansas 66603
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