2018 Legislative Update 7

This was ‘turnaround’ week in the Kansas Legislature – when the House and Senate work a multitude of bills from their own chambers before returning next week to consider bills from the opposite chamber.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to offer an amendment to a bill on the floor for Kansas to adopt the Fourth Edition AMA Guides which offers best practices and is a more accurate tool for evaluating impairment in workers compensation cases. While the amendment fell short, I will continue to advocate for measures that will improve the work environment.

I also spoke out against a bill that will make it more difficult for workers, with asbestos-related disease due to exposure in the workplace, file claims. I shared a personal story about my Father-in-law and how his life was shortened due to exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, the measure passed the House. Here is my explanation of vote:

Mr. Speaker, I vote NO. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and yet for years, worker’s lives have been placed at risk due to exposure from this occupational health hazard, including, but not limited to: firefighters, veterans, machinists, and locomotive engineers. This is an unnecessary law that would impact very few cases in Kansas. It sends the wrong message to those injured workers (and their family) who's lives have been shortened due to asbestos exposure. I cannot support any measure that would limit or make filing claims more difficult for individuals who have been dealt a death sentence from exposure to asbestos. http://www.curtisforkck.com/

The Legislature will reconvene on Wednesday, February 28th at which time we will resume committee work.

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, 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

 

House Dems Push for Kansans’ Safety

On Tuesday, I offered an amendment on the House Floor to return to the Fourth Edition of the AMA Guides for the Evaluation of Injury in workers compensation cases. The 6th edition that Kansas currently uses violates the "grand bargain". The grand bargain resulted in the loss of constitutional rights of an injured worker to sue their employer in exchange for the certainty and guarantee of workers' compensation benefits, consisting of a weekly check and payment of medical treatment. It has been shown time and again that The Fourth Edition offers best practices and is a more accurate tool for evaluating impairment in workers comp cases. While the measure fell short, we will continue to advocate for all Kansans and for their rights and safety within the workplace.

The House Democrats offered another amendment that would have allowed anyone hurt at work to choose their own doctor or care provider, rather than one that an employer or insurance company mandates.

While both of these measures fell short of passage, House Democrats will continue to advocate for legislation that will improve the work environment for every person in Kansas that holds a job.

Expert Witness for School Finance Presents to Committee

In the Gannon case on school finance in Kansas, Republican leadership hired an expert witness. That witness, Lori Taylor, will present to both the House K-12 Budget and Senate Committees on Friday.

An expert witness is a person who testifies in court based on their extensive knowledge in a particular area. Taylor is conducting a study of the Kansas school finance case and will present her findings the legislature on March 15th.

This Week on the House Floor

More than 50 bills came above the line on General Orders, with the House spending full days on the Floor on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Below, find some of the bills passed through the chamber of significance or interest:

HB 2498: This bill will prohibit state agencies and municipalities from prohibiting any individual from wearing tribal regalia or objects of cultural significance.

HB 2539: This bill will amend the qualifications for candidacy for several statewide elected offices. The bill would require every candidate for the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and State Commissioner of Insurance be a qualified elector of Kansas. The bill also would require a candidate for the office of the Attorney General to be licensed to practice law in Kansas.

HB 2361: This bill will move the administration of the State Workers Compensation Self-Insurance Fund (SSIF) from the Department of Health and Environment to the Department of Administration.

HB 2551: This bill will require prior legislative authorization for any state agency to enter into any agreement or take any action to outsource or privatize security operations of any correctional or juvenile correctional facility operated by a state agency. The bill would apply to security operations or job classifications and duties associated with a security operation of correctional or juvenile correctional facilities.

HB 2480: This bill amends the definition of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” in the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Act to replace a list of persons with various relationships to the victim (like a current or former spouse) who may commit the crime with the phrase “against a person with whom the offender is involved or has been involved in a ‘dating relationship’ or is a ‘family or household member’ as defined in the domestic battery criminal statute at the time of the offense.”

HB 2571: This bill will amend 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)

HB 2530: This bill will add an emergency medical services (EMS) attendant to the list of mandatory reporters of abuse, neglect, exploitation.

HB 2581: This bill will amend the law related to the crime of giving a false alarm. Under current law, this offense applies to transmitting a false fire alarm to a fire department, knowing there is no reasonable ground for believing such fire exists, and to making a call in any manner for emergency service assistance including police, fire, medical, or other emergency service, knowing there is no reasonable ground for believing such assistance is needed.

HB 2700: This bill amends the law related to the disclosure of 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.

HB 2496: This bill enacts the Nurse Licensure Compact. The Compact would allow RNs and LPNs to have one multi-state license, with the privilege to practice in the home state of Kansas and in other Compact states.

HB 2701: This bill establishes the Statewide Broadband Expansion Task Force.

 To see the full list of bills considered and passed during turnaround, click here.

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