Today is the last day for committees to meet before Turnaround Day. The pace has been busy as committees work to pass out bills to meet the deadline. We will be on the floor most of this week voting on bills that have passed out of committee.
It was great to have two individuals from Wyandotte County appear in the House Judiciary Committee, which I serve on, to testify on important issues. My friend Alvin Sykes attended with the Innocence Project in support of HB 2579, to provide compensation to those that are wrongfully convicted. And Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree appeared to testify in favor of HB 2631, to clarify when reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation shall be sent to both DCF & Law Enforcement. Appreciate both of them lending their voice to these important issues before the Kansas Legislature.
On Thursday, a hearing on a bill that would punish universities for providing in-state tuition for DREAMers was moved up giving little time to get the word out. The only proponent to appear in support of the bill was Secretary of State Kobach. The hearing on HB 2643 will continue today at 3:30 pm in the House Higher Ed Budget Committee, Room 281-N and is available via live-stream.
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.
This Week on the House Floor
The House worked the following bills on the floor this week:
HB 2455: This bill will amend one of the statutory duties of the Kansas Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee (Juvenile Oversight Committee) to require the Juvenile Oversight Committee to “monitor,” rather than “calculate,” any state expenditures that have been avoided by reductions in the number of youth placed in out-of-home placements.
HB 2444: This bill will repeal language that prohibited the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS or the State Employee Retirement System) from investing in companies with operations in Sudan and related reporting requirements to the Legislature.
HB 2456: This bill will amend the statute governing probation term limits and overall case length limits in the Kansas Revised Juvenile Justice Code to clarify that when such limits are tolled due to the offender absconding from supervision while on probation.
HB 2505: This bill will clarify when a mayor is considered a member of a governing body based on the form of government utilized by a city.
HB 2506: This bill will allow cities, as well as certain organizations as authorized by current law, to take temporary possession of abandoned property for purposes of rehabilitating the property.
HB 2476: This bill will create and amend law related to the sale of alcoholic candy and to the sale of domestic beer in refillable containers. The bill would define “alcoholic candy” as any candy or other confectionary product with an alcohol content greater than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume.
HB 2435: This bill will amend the Kansas 911 Act (Act). The bill would change the frequency that LPA is required to conduct an audit of the state 911 system from every three years to every five years.
HB 2547: This bill will extend the terms of current Kansas State Fair Board members to expire on October 15 in the year in which the member’s term would have expired.
HB 2488: This bill will remove the word “alcohol” from the definition of “special fuels”
HB 2556: This bill will establish the State Interoperability Advisory Committee (Committee) in statute. Currently, a State Interoperability Executive Committee exists by executive order.
Colyer Announces Lt. Governor
Tuesday evening – two weeks after his inauguration – Governor Colyer announced his pick for Lieutenant Governor.
The new Lt. Governor is Tracey Mann, a Salina businessman who aligned himself with the birther movement and the denial of climate change. Lt. Governor Mann ran a failed campaign for Congress in Kansas’ first district in 2010, losing the primary to Tim Huelskamp.
The selection of Tracey Mann for the Lt. Governor position is Governor Colyer’s first major move as the state’s leader – and the first major indication that Colyer isn’t holding to his “new day in Kansas” promise.
Medicaid Expansion Hearing
A hearing was held on Wednesday in the Senate Health and Public Welfare Committee on Senate Bill (SB) 38. The bill, titled the KanCare Bridge to a Healthy Kansas Program, would expand Medicaid services. SB 38 would expand Medicaid services to include adult applicants under 65 years of age, who are not pregnant and whose income does not exceed 133.0 percent of the federal poverty level ($16,040 for a single individual or $32,718 for a family of 4).
Medicaid expansion passed through both the Kansas House and Senate last year, but was vetoed by then-Governor Sam Brownback.