by Melissa Brunner
I'll be covering my 17th State of the State Address Tuesday night. Granted, two or three of those years, I was back at the studio rather than actually in the House chamber, but, suffice to say, I've heard a number of the speeches - and witnessed the reaction to them - in person.
A lot of people might think that's a lot of boring hours I'll never get back, but I disagree. I can still appreciate the pomp and ceremony which surrounds the event. It's also an opportunity to catch up with lawmakers on an evening when they're largely in a positive mood. It's interesting to read between the lines in the applause during the speech itself - Is only the Governor's own party applauding? Is everyone joining the ovation? Or is it a lukewarm applause, indicative of a rocky future for whatever elicited the response?
Afterward, you can predict a lot of "devil's in the details" type of responses. While the State of the State Address often serves to rally the troops, the big budget reveal Wednesday morning is where you get a better idea of how the Governor proposes getting from Point A to Point B - and how the journey might impact you. This year, that means keeping an eye out for proposals on what you'll pay in sales, income and property taxes, among other items.
No matter what Kansans hear in the State of the State Address, as always, it's what Kansans say in the days and weeks after that can have an impact. Remember, these are simply proposals. A long process is now set in motion during which YOU have the chance to make your voice heard. Contact your lawmakers or your industry group. Check up on calendars and bill proposals at www.kslegislature.org. Participate in the process. That is what will continue to keep the state of our state strong.