We just completed the last week of the 2018 Kansas Legislative Session. Sine Die, the last day of session, was May 4th. Below is a quick update from our final week at the Capitol.
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 during session or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. You can also e-mail me.
Education Bill Revisited
During the 2 week Legislative break, between the end of the regular 2018 session and veto session, it was discovered that Republican Rep. Clay Aurand’s amendment to HB 2445, the education finance bill signed by the governor, created an $85 M hole in the plan.
The amendment would have caused Kansas schools to lose roughly $85 M in the first year of the finance plan, also increasing the unconstitutional likelihood of the funding levels.
When we returned from break, the House took up SB 61, to “fix” HB 2445. House Democrats tried to add more funding to the bill, as it is likely to be found unconstitutional by the Kansas Supreme Court. These efforts were once again defeated by House Republicans. The bill to fix the “mistake” passed 92-27 in the House and the Governor has announced that he will sign the “School Finance Fix Bill: on Monday, May 7th in Olathe.
The Kansas Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the education finance plan on or before June 30, 2018.
The Kansas Legislature passed a budget for fiscal years (FY) 2018 and 2019, SB 109.
Among other provisions, the budget:
- Provides pay increase for State Employees, Judicial Branch Employees, Judges, and Corrections Uniformed Personnel
- Partially restores some cuts (made during the Brownback tax experiment) to higher education and Regents Universities
- Provides additional money to KPERs
- Adds funding for mental health
- Adds funding for the State Water Plan Fund.
Democratic Transparency Initiatives Advance
SB 336 accomplishes several things:
- Amends the statute in the Revised Kansas Code for Care of Children governing access to information concerning a child alleged or adjudicated to be in need of care and child fatalities. The Department of Children and Families must make public the records of child deaths under their care.
- Amends the statute governing disclosure of audio or video recordings made and retained by law enforcement using a body camera or a vehicle camera (law enforcement recordings). Body camera footage must be made accessible, within a reasonable amount of time, to both the public and to related family members of the person(s) recorded.
- Amends the law related to the disclosure of personal information on public records to require the redaction of all portions of an individual’s social security number on any document or record before it is made available for public inspection or copying.
- Extends and eliminates certain Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) exceptions.