Full House for UCS' Annual Kansas Public Policy Forum
This week's Kansas Public Policy Forum, presented by UCS, Community Health Council of Wyandotte County (CHC), Tenants to Homeowners, Inc. of Lawrence and United Way of Greater Kansas City, convened a dozen state legislators from Johnson and Wyandotte counties as well as local elected officials, county and city staff, health and human service agencies, health foundation grant makers, community advocates, educators, and residents.
Healthy Communities was the focus of this year's forum. UCS Executive Director Julie Brewer, CHC Executive Director Jerry Jones, and Tenants to Homeowners Executive Director Rebecca Buford began the forum with a discussion and data regarding the impact housing, transportation and employment access have on residents' health and overall economic growth and sustainability. The presentation highlighted how wages have not kept pace with cost of living increases over the last five years in Johnson, Wyandotte and Douglas counties and the proportion of household income used to cover housing and transportation costs. The presentation also highlighted housing and employment preemption laws passed by the state of Kansas since 2013 that impact a local government's ability to determine policies and practices that support good jobs, wage growth, and creating housing solutions that support varying wage income levels in communities. Click here to view the presentation slides.
The forum included a panel of experienced legislators including Senator Pat Pettey, Senator Dinah Sykes, Representative Linda Gallagher and Representative Eileen Horn. The legislative panel discussion included an overview of the recent work of the Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force and priority recommendations that will be presented this legislative session of the Child Welfare System Task Force. Panelists detailed areas of their work and focus this past legislative session and what priority items they are hoping to see addressed moving forward.