2017 Legislative Update 7

It was a busy week with a lot of work in committees to both hear and work bills. So far this session the House has passed about 100 bills and the Senate has passed about 50. You can follow the legislative session online at: Kansas Legislature Website

Enjoyed seeing so many visitors and constituent groups at the Capitol past - there was something happening every day!

This Week on the House Floor

This week, an elections bill passed through the House 120 votes – 0. The bill is in regards to the special election to be held on April 11th, 2017, to fill the Congressional seat in Kansas’ District 4 vacated by Mike Pompeo. Pompeo was appointed CIA Director by Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

A Congressional seat in Kansas has not been vacated since 1950. The rules and regulations of a special election that are not specified must be drawn. This particular bill, from the Senate (SB 43), deals with setting forth updated rules and processes to allow for the date of the canvass for the Congressional election and a local school board election to occur at the same time.  You can read the bill in its entirety here.

There was also a bill Introduced in the House in response to wildfires that have ripped through the state, providing a sales tax exemption for property and services to construct, reconstruct, repair or replace any home, rural electric cooperative-owned utility poles or fence used to enclose agricultural land. The Legislature has introduced and passed similar bills in the past, but this version notably includes replacement of homes which have been destroyed or damaged by fire.

Brownback Tax Plan Dead in Senate

On Tuesday, the Kansas Senate took up Governor Brownback’s tax plan for a vote. The tax plan included more unsustainable fixes to plug the budget deficit, like doubling the alcohol and tobacco taxes across the state.

The process was long and drawn out, as the Senate divided the bill into separate parts, voting each one down in turn.

International Women’s Day

Wednesday, March 8th, we celebrated International Women’s Day – a day to honor women across the world, recognizing their great contributions to our history, to our present, and to our futures. This day also spotlights the inequality that women face in many aspects of their lives, and emphasizes the need for solutions to those issues.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Governor Rumored to Be Heading to Rome

Kansas Public Radio was the first to report on Thursday that Governor Sam Brownback may be heading to Rome, Italy in an ambassadorship doled out to him by President Donald Trump.

The timeline is unclear, and the position is not yet confirmed by Brownback’s office or any other source, but the initial report states that Brownback will likely be appointed to the position of Ambassador to the United Nations for Food and Agriculture, a position stationed in Italy.

Senate Creates Education Budget Committee

Following the Kansas Supreme Court ruling in the Gannon case, which deemed the school finance system both inadequate and unconstitutional, Senate President Susan Wagle created a special committee to address the school funding issues that the Kansas Legislature must solve and prove adequate by June 30th, 2017.

The committee is composed of 9 Republicans and 2 Democrats. The Kansas House had already established such a committee at the beginning of the 2017 session.

It is a special honor to serve as your state representative.  I both value and need your input on the various issues facing state government.  Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions.  My office address is Room 452-S, Kansas Statehouse, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612.  You can reach me at (785) 296-7430 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me.  Additionally, you can e-mail me at pam.curtis@house.ks.gov.