A historically slow session came to a head this week when the house worked over 50 bills in two days. The house worked late into the evening both Monday and Tuesday nights - just 30 minutes shy of the midnight rule on Monday. The pace will continue to be very busy leading up to first adjournment on April 5th as the Legislature attempts to come to a consensus on remaining issues.
Many thanks to Trinity and GiGi for serving as Legislative Pages on Wednesday. It was such a pleasure to have them both spend the day with us in the Kansas Legislature.
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 at the Statehouse 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 at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Budget Passes the House
On Monday, the House passed a budget plan: House Substitute for Senate Bill 25, with little debate. The final vote was 99-25, which moved the bill to the Senate. The Senate non-concurred with the House amendments and a Conference Committee (three conferees from each chamber) was appointed. Overall, the House plan appropriates $18.2 billion in spending with a $7.7 billion impact on the state general fund.
The house budget plan contained many of the Governor’s recommendations. A few highlights are:
- Ridding a contract with Maximus, the Medicaid clearinghouse, and returns more than 300 employees to the state.
- A 2.5 percent pay increase for state employees. Judicial branch employee raises would be phased in over five years.
- Sets aside more than $50 million for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, including $13.4 million for home and community-based services, $6 million in services for intellectual and developmental disabilities, $13.6 million for nursing facilities, $3 million for community health centers, $4.8 million for psychiatric residential treatment, and $12.4 million for a program that serves the elderly.
- The budget also includes the governor’s significant recommendations for child welfare reform, including funding for additional 52 workers and participation in the federal Families First program.
Governor Kelly Vetoes SB 22
On Monday, Governor Kelly vetoed the controversial Senate Bill 22. The Kansas Chamber immediately called for an override. An override attempt of her veto would require two-thirds of the House (84 votes), and Senate (27 votes) to be successful. The bill would have benefitted giant multinational corporations, and was estimated to have reduced state revenue, at a minimum, of over $500 million over three years. Governor Kelly stressed this would “throw our state once again into a self-inflicted budget crisis, diminishing all the investments we’ve worked so hard to rebuild and restore. It would put our future at risk once again in order to give significant tax breaks to entities who need them the least while continuing to leave working families behind.” This was the Governor’s first veto.
School Funding Debate Continues
The House has made little progress on school finance while the court-mandated deadline is looming. Senate Bill 16 has been strongly critiqued as a bad policy bill that fails to resolve litigation. It contains layers of unfunded mandates, strips school districts of local control, removes the consumer price index (CPI), and targets English Learner Language and special education programs (including reducing funding for SPED). It also removes the last two years of funding that was passed in 2018. House Democrats have always been strong proponents of education – every child deserves access to a quality education.
One of several Democratic amendments attempted was to restore due process for teachers. Since its repeal under Governor Brownback’s leadership in 2014, House Democrats have continuously fought for its reinstatement. The amendment failed 68 to 55.
The underlying bill narrowly passed final action on a 63-60 vote.
This Week on the Floor
This week, the House worked over 50 bills. If you would like to read the full list of bills worked, please go to this page. Here are a few highlights:
HB 2274: Requires notification to patients that the effects of a medication abortion may be reversible.
HB 2054: Provides for fully-insured association health plans.
SB 15: Amends the definition of “service connected” in the Kansas police and firemen’s retirement system.
HB 2018: Creates the Kansas criminal justice reform commission.
SB 90: Extends the tax credit under the center for entrepreneurship act to financial institutions and increasing the annual tax credit limit for all contributors.
SB 94: Establishing a minimum course duration for motor vehicle accident prevention courses. Reduces premiums.
H Sub SB 25: House Substitute for SB 25 by Committee on Appropriations - Appropriations for FY 2019, FY 2020, FY 2021 and FY 2022 for various state agencies.
HB 2137: Legislative review of exceptions to disclosure of public records under the Kansas open records act.
HB 2396: Allowing use of certified drug abuse treatment programs for certain offenders convicted of unlawful cultivation or distribution of controlled substances.
HB 2173: Establishes a commercial industrial hemp program.
HB 2389: Requires electronic prescriptions for certain controlled substances.
HB 2383: Amendments regarding the licensure and regulation of barbering.
SB 20: Extends the judicial branch surcharge to fund the costs of non-judicial personnel; extending recognition of tribal court judgments pursuant to supreme court rules.
SB 16: House Substitute for SB 16 by Committee on K-12 Education Budget - Making amendments to the Kansas school equity and enhancement act and other statutes related to education.
HB 2154: Making unemployment benefits available for federal and state employees who are required to work without pay.
HB 2118: Providing income tax credits for aerospace and aviation program graduates and their employers.
HB 2326: Recognizing licenses to carry a concealed firearm issued by other jurisdictions. Contains amendment lowering license age to 18.
HB 2372: Providing for an increase in registration fees for electric and hybrid vehicles.
HB 2244: Authorizing the use of cannabidiol treatment preparation to treat certain medical conditions.
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