2016 Legislative Update - Issue 3

There was a lot of activity at the Topeka Capitol this week as individuals, groups and local elected officials attended events and visited with Legislators about matters before the Kansas Legislature.  This week we also celebrated “Kansas Day”!  Kansas entered the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861 making 2016 Kansas 155th birthday! 

It is an honor to represent our community in the Kansas House of Representatives.  I very much appreciate your input on matters before the Kansas Legislature so please do not hesitate to contact me.  If I can be of service to you or anyone you know please call my office at 785-296-7371 or email me at pam.curtis@house.ks.gov

State Budget

Kansas faces a projected budget shortfall of $14 million for the current fiscal year and a projected shortfall of $170 million for the next fiscal year.  Some work has been done on the budget but the Republican leadership seems to be waiting on the January revenue numbers to come in before the budget is really worked on.  Republican leaders are hoping the January revenue numbers will give them good news and help them solve the budget problems they have created.  Considering the state has missed revenue expectations many times the last several months it is doubtful they will be getting the news they want. 

School Consolidation

Representative Bradford of Leavenworth introduced a bill that calls for school district “realignment.”  When you look at the details of the bill it is clear that realignment is really consolidation.  Under the bill, most districts would consolidate into a single district per county with only the most populous counties having more than a single school district. It is estimated that the number of school districts statewide would be cut in half under this bill.  Many school districts across the state already merge services or consolidate when possible. Our children’s schools need to remain local, our teachers need to remain local and public education needs to be local. 

Medical Amnesty Bill

By a vote of 11 to 9, The House Judiciary Committee passed favorably SB 133 out of committee. This is the Medical Amnesty bill also known as the 911 Lifeline or 911 Good Samaritan Law which grants intoxicated minors a limited legal immunity when they seek help for themselves or another individual who is in need of medical attention.  Similar legislation has been passed in 31 states and Washington D.C.

Events at the Capitol:

Open Government Event
On Wednesday, a group called Open Kansas staged an event at the Capitol with the goal of raising awareness and advocacy of government transparency.

Rally to repeal the Death Penalty

On Thursday, a rally was held by a coalition backing a bill with bipartisan support in the House, that would repeal the state's death penalty law and create a new category of crime, aggravated murder, that could result in a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Representative Steven Becker well stated  “How can we impose the absolute certainty of death when we don’t require the absolute certainty of guilt?” 

Small Business Reference Center

Download startup kits (with pre-made Excel files), watch Harvard Business School lecture videos, and read up on business basics (including human resources). The article search also lets you limit to "forms" - so if you are a landlord, for example, and need a sample lease agreement, it is easy to pull up online at http://kslib.info/SmBiz