It was another busy week at the Capitol as we completed week 4 of the 2018 Kansas Legislative Session. On Tuesday, Members of the Wyandotte County and Leavenworth County Delegation met with representatives of the Board of Public Utilities to share information and discuss matters before the Kansas Legislature.
The fast pace will continue this week with committee work in full swing and bill introduction deadlines approaching. There are also many informational briefings for Legislators to attend and constituent groups visiting the Capitol. You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org
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 by clicking here.
This Week on the House Floor
This week, the House worked the following bills on the floor, all of which passed through the chamber:
On Monday, final action was taken on two bills:
HB 2439: This bill amends the definition to include driving under the influence to actions that can lead to involuntary manslaughter, as well as increases the penalty for involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence.
HB 2482: This bill amends the time of day that alcohol can be served by the drink in Kansas from 9:00am to 6:00am.
On Thursday, two bills dealing with firearms were on the floor. The first prompted a debate lasting more than two-and-a-half hours, with several amendments offered.
HB 2042: This bill requires the state of Kansas to recognize out-of-state issued concealed carry permits and licenses.
Rep. Ballard offered an amendment to HB 2042 to permanently exempt Kansas college campuses from concealed carry laws. Rep. Ballard’s amendment failed; however, Republican Rep. Aurand offered a similar amendment that requires a permit for those who choose to conceal carry on college campuses. This amendment passed 70-52, and is a major step forward in security for Kansas college students, staff, and faculty.
HB 2145: Currently there are 9 instances where federal law prohibits individuals from purchasing a firearm and Kansas law does not. Among these are individuals under a protection from abuse order and those who have committed domestic violence. This bill will add those 9 instances to Kansas law and passed easily on a voice vote.
Brownback Resigns, Colyer Assumes Governorship
On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, Governor Sam Brownback’s resignation became effective at 3:00pm. Simultaneously, Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer’s inauguration occurred in the Capitol in the first-floor rotunda.
Amidst music and cannon fire, Jeff Colyer was sworn in as the 47th Governor of Kansas. During his inaugural speech, he promised “a new day” in Kansas, and has implied over the course of the transition that he will govern differently than Brownback. Kansans will be watching to determine whether or not Colyer proves himself to be a different kind of Governor than his predecessor.
KanCare 2.0 Delay
After the introduction of KanCare 2.0 – a supposed revamp of the original program that included work requirements, the rollout has been delayed indefinitely. Facing backlash from advocacy groups and both Republican and Democratic leaders and legislators, the delay announcement came from Gov. Brownback and then-Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer.
Colyer has led the privatization of Medicaid, known as KanCare, and implementing it as the Lt. Governor. Concerns regarding KanCare 2.0 included increased costs as well as work requirements for those who participate in the program. Important to note is that most of KanCare’s 425,000 participants are children, the elderly, or Kansans with disabilities.
Update on Dale Dennis
Last week the Senate President, Susan Wagle, and Ron Ryckman, the House Speaker, sent a joint letter to the Chairman of the Kansas Department of Education. The letter accused the Deputy Commissioner of School Finance, Dale Dennis, of wrongly appropriating millions of dollars and calling for Dennis’ job. Mr. Dennis has been an employee of the state for more than 50 years.
At a board meeting of the Department of Education to address this, administrators, legislators, superintendents, faculty, and many others gathered in support of Dennis. The Board voted 9-1 in favor of Dennis, and he will continue to serve the state in his role.
However, this week the Senate Majority Leader, Jim Denning, sent another letter to the Chairman of the Department of Education that requested that schools repay the money received for transportation over the years. Expecting schools to be able to return any of this money would devastate the budgets of many of our schools.