This was a very busy week as most of the committees completed their work before first adjournment currently scheduled for April 6th. We will be on the Floor all week considering bills and Conference Committees are beginning to meet to reconcile differences between the House and Senate version of bills. The legislature still has several big issues to address, including school finance and a budget bill.
It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I value and appreciate your input on issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 452-S, 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. You can also e-mail me.
Education Study Results Show Money Matters
Expert witness Dr. Lori Taylor, hired by the Kansas Legislature in the Gannon case to conduct a school finance study, presented her findings on Monday this week. In a joint meeting with the House K-12 Education Budget Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance, Dr. Taylor concluded several key points.
- Kansas schools have been severely underfunded for several years.
- There is indeed a correlation between funding amounts and student performance.
- Kansas schools use their dollars more efficiently than most states.
- It will take a significant amount money to rectify past underfunding, increase student performance, and to satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court.
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October of last year that the amount of dollars appropriated to school funding in the legislature’s 2017 school finance bill was neither adequate or equitable. The Court set a deadline of April 30, 2018, for a new bill from the legislature, to be ruled upon June 30, 2018.
Another Medicaid Expansion Attempt Blocked in the House
On Wednesday, Kansas House Democrats again made an attempt at Medicaid expansion, which would provide 150,000 Kansans who are currently uninsured with medical coverage.
The expansion amendment was found non-germane, which means that the amendment could not be attached to the bill and there was no debate or vote over expansion. Kansas House Democrats will continue to push for Medicaid expansion for some of our most vulnerable Kansans.
Equality Day at the Capitol
Tuesday was Equality Day at the Capitol, recognizing the LGBTQ community in Kansas.
Alongside the American and Kansas flags on the second floor rotunda flew a rainbow flag and a blue and pink striped flag – the latter standing for transgender pride. Equality Day reminds Kansans that all communities deserve recognition, acceptance, and civil rights. In a state like ours, this day is of particular importance, as the LGBTQ community must fight for these things every single day.
This Week on the House Floor
This week, the House worked the following bills on the floor:
HB 2625: Amends the section of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Act related to the central registry of Kansas police officers and law enforcement officers
HB 2103: Requires the State Employees Health Care Commission (which administers the State health care benefits program for state employees and other qualified entities) to provide coverage for amino acid-based elemental formula, regardless of delivery method, for the diagnosis or treatment of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, eosinophilic disorders, or short bowel syndrome if this formula is prescribed by a prescriber.
SB 375: Adds specified exemptions to limits on vehicle weights and lengths.
SB 398: change the requirements for an individual to qualify for a senior status cosmetologist license by lowering the age and reducing the number of years required to practice.
SB 185: revise the powers of Johnson and Labette counties pertaining to certain redevelopment districts and authorities.
SB 324: add two sections to the Vehicle Dealers and Manufacturers Licensing Act on improvements to dealer facilities, dealer performance criteria, and recall repairs.
SB 351: Creates the Kansas Pharmacy Patients Fair Practices Act.
HB 2526: Revises the Rules and Regulations Filing Act pertaining to economic impact statements, new authority granted to the Director of the Budget (Director) to review and approve proposed rules and regulations.
HB 2598: Amends the section of the Kansas Open Records Act related to the unlawful use of names derived from public records.
SB 294: Removes a requirement in the Vehicle Dealers and Manufacturers Licensing Act that the holder of a vehicle salesperson license be tested by written examination at license renewal.
Sub HB 2427: Creates and amends law related to qualifications for employment at adult care homes, hospitals, and home health agencies, and would define terms related to the provisions of the bill.
HB 2778: Amends law related to contracts between the State and persons or companies who are actively engaged in a boycott of Israel.
SB 331: Adds to the list of designated state parks the Flint Hills Trail State Park located in Miami, Franklin, Osage, Lyon, Morris, and Dickinson counties, and Little Jerusalem Badlands State