Leonard in the News

  • Mastroni lone voice on panel for Medicaid expansion
    Medicaid expansion was among the topics of most concern in Ellis County, judging by the number of questions on that subject submitted at a legislative forum Saturday morning. Rep. Leonard Mastroni, R-La Crosse, was the lone voice among the state legislators who spoke in favor of expanding Medicaid. The Legislature adjourned Friday with the House bill still in the Senate’s Public Health and Welfare Committee. The House passed the bill in March, with Mastroni voting in favor ... Mastroni said he polled his constituents in the 117th District, and about 70 percent of the 500 responses were in favor of Medicaid expansion. Read more »
  • KPERS, higher ed funding top topics at legislative coffee
    The legislators were also asked about the Democratic governor’s proposal to reamortize, or refinance, KPERS to keep future state contributions to the pension fund manageable. Mastroni said he’s talked to a lot of other state representatives and there is “huge support” for KPERS. “I think there’s only about 10 years left to get this paid off,” said Mastroni, “and I’d really hate to see the reamortization kick in for 30 years, ’cause that’ll leave $7.4 billion for our grandchildren [to pay] and that’s just plain wrong.” Read more »
  • Medicaid expansion would aid Kansas poor needing mental health services
    In 2017, expanding Medicaid so more poor people would have insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act had the bipartisan support of Kansas legislators. But Gov. Brownback vetoed the move, and instead declined federal dollars to expand Medicaid eligibility. Rep. Leonard Mastroni, LaCrosse, is a Republican representing the 117th District. He was a long-time judge and handled cases out of the state’s largest psychiatric facility, Larned State Hospital. Funding is a profound concern, he indicated. “I’m very watchful for Larned and for our community mental health centers,” Mastroni said. “I believe in them.” Read more »
  • Lawmakers: Challenges remain in 2018
    As Finney County commissioners prepare to formulate their own legislative priorities, they had a chance Monday to hear form area lawmakers, who reflected on the 2017 session and looked ahead on what is yet to come in 2018. Mastroni noted that the shift in policy climate has been created by the influx of Republican moderates. A previous county commissioner in Rush County for six years, Mastroni now sits on the state’s transportation committee. He said Brownback sweeps funding for transportation each year, leaving legislators little to work with. Mastroni said the transportation committee intends to travel to Dodge City sometime in late September, and from there conduct a tour of roads and bridges in the region. He said he is worried that Kansas will defer costs usually covered by the state to the county level, “and a lot of that is going to be who is elected governor.” Read more »
  • Legislative Coffee provides new twist
    The Hays Area Chamber of Commerce wanted to try something new for its Legislative Coffee with area state legislators in attendance Saturday at the Ellis County Administrative Center. Usually, community members in attendance will write questions, and the legislators then will answer them. This year, the audience still was allowed to write questions that were answered, but there also was the opportunity for people to personally ask questions at a lectern in front of the legislators. On hand to answer questions were, Sen. Rick Billinger, R-Goodland; Rep. Eber Phelps, D-Hays; Rep. Leonard Mastroni, R-La Crosse; and Rep. Ken Rahjes, R-Agra. The representatives answered questions from taxes to KPERS issues, legalization of marijuana, extended Medicaid and concealed carry. The four representatives had their own personal opinions on most of the questions. Read more »
  • Kansas House explores bill placing higher fines for passing a stopped school bus
    Riley County School District transportation coordinator Frank Clark is frustrated by motorists who threaten lives by driving around school buses stopped to pick up or drop off students.  Rep. Leonard Mastroni, a LaCrosse Republican and judge for 28 years, said language in the bill could create unintended consequences. The individual driving a vehicle that improperly passed a bus wouldn’t necessarily be required to pay the fine — that would be the responsibility of owner of the car or truck involved in an infraction. In court, Mastroni said, a person who owned the vehicle but didn’t commit the act would certainly contest the ticket. “The burden of proof is on the state,” Mastroni said. “They need to properly identify the person.” Read more »
  • Mastroni running unopposed
    Republican Leonard Mastroni, of LaCrosse in Rush County, is running unopposed for the 117th House of Representatives District. John Ewy, who currently occupies the position, is not running for re-election. The 117th district covrs Ness, Rush, Pawnee, Finney, Hodgeman, (some of) Ford, Edwards and Kiowa counties. As representative, Mastroni said one of his main goals is to keep the state hospital in Larned open as well as finding money to support the schools and to comply with Kansas Supreme Court mandates. He also said he does not like the mandates the state has put on local governments, particularly one setting the tax lid and saying counties cannot raise taxes more than one-and-a-half percent unless there's a special election. "I think at the local level we're just as competent to make decisions and don't need to be mandated," he said. Read more »