Legislative Update by State Senator Caryn Tyson

Caryn Tyson


April 16, 2021


Governor Vetoes Tax RELIEF that would Slow Government Growth

It is not a surprise but disappointing the Governor vetoed Senate Bill (SB) 50.  The bill would provide some RELIEF for Kansas taxpayers by allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money.  There were several items in the bill.  There are too many to list but here are a few key items.  It would give Kansas taxpayers the option to itemize whether they itemize on their federal return or not.  The bill would also increase state standard deductions by $500 so individual deductions would increase to $3,500 and married filing jointly to $8,000.  It also would allow a deduction on money spent on business meals.  Additionally, it would allow net operating losses to be carried forward and would allow all to expense tangible property deductions, something corporations in Kansas can already do.  It would also extend the corporate filing deadline by 30 days past the IRS deadline.


The Governor called the bill “irresponsible”.  Since when is it irresponsible to lower the tax burden for Kansans, especially since taxes collected from July 2020 to March 2021 are up $232.8 million above estimates.  The Department of Revenue estimates that SB 50 will decrease taxes collect by $94 million.  The responsible action would be to make SB 50 the law decreasing taxpayers’ burden, especially with the hardships they have faced this past year.  There will be an attempt at a veto override in early May when the legislature returns to Topeka.



The Kansas unemployment system has been one of the largest mismanaged disasters in Kansas.  It did not happen overnight.  It has been building for years and when the Governor shut down most businesses last year, the system that had been a failure became a complete disaster.  Over the years the legislature has allocated money to update the system, but it was never completed.  Kansas had one of the highest numbers of known fraudulent unemployment applications in the nations.  The unemployment funds have been depleted and businesses that pay unemployment tax were looking at major increased payment obligations.


Senate Substitute for House Bill (Sen Sub HB) 2196 addresses all these issues.  Representative Sean Tarwater lead the effort and I was glad to help.  We spent many hours on this legislation.  It is unique because we were trying to mandate a new unemployment system.  The bill establishes an oversight council that is a major stakeholder in the project to help keep the system update on target.  The bill also changes the tax table for businesses and shores up funds with federal corona virus relief aid.  The bill passed both chambers unanimously.


It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.


Chamber Coffee hosted by Bourbon County Conservation District on April 22


The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce invites members and guest to a Chamber Coffee hosted by Bourbon County Conservation District, Thursday, April 22nd (Earth Day) at 8 a.m. will be held at inside the 4-H building at the at the Bourbon County Fair Grounds Fort Scott, KS.

Coffee, donuts, juice and snack like fruit and cheese will be served, and attendees may register to win a special drawing. Also, they will have the Soil Tunnel Trailer set up for everyone to view and it is part of their educational Conservation Day that happens annually.

Attendees are strongly encouraged wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

Chamber members and guests are invited to Chamber Coffee events each Thursday at 8 a.m. to network, make announcements, hear about happenings in the community as well as learn about the host business or organization.


Obituary of Otis Wayne Atkins

Otis Wayne Atkins of Nixa, Missouri, passed away peacefully on April 15, 2021, surrounded by his loving children and grandchildren. Wayne was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, on January 11, 1944, to Ola Wilma Owens and Otis F. Atkins. He had one sister, Coleen Leavel. Wayne attended public schools and graduated from Appleton City High School in Appleton City Missouri in 1961.

Wayne earned a football scholarship and attended Fort Scott, Kansas Community College from 1961-1963. From Fort Scott, Wayne attended Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri, on a football scholarship from 1963-1965. Wayne returned to Fort Scott in 1965 after college and went to work for Mid-Continental Restoration Company. He had loved the time spent in Fort Scott while going to college and was happy to return. He worked in the waterproofing industry from 1965-2018 when he retired from Atkins Weatherproofing, a family business.

In 1971, Wayne met and married Karen Mabery, a hometown Fort Scott girl. They had two children: Karalee Michelle Taylor and Frank Dewayne Atkins, both of Nixa, Missouri. Wayne was a loving father to both of his children. He never missed a school function or sporting event for his kids. They will always remember their father as their biggest cheerleader. He was a doting grandfather to Madison, Tru, and Kelby. AND, an adoring great-grandfather to Sophie, Taxen, and Asher. He took pride in everything his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren did and accomplished.

Wayne had a special relationship with Karen’s family. He considered Frank and Faye Mayberry as his other parents. He loved them dearly. He felt a special bond with the entire Duncan “clan.” He had loving aunts in Lois and Ruth and hunting buds in uncles Hurschel and Livian.

Wayne Atkins was a hard-working man who dearly loved his family. They WERE his life and his greatest accomplishment. All he achieved was for his family. Wayne was a man who didn’t ask for much and appreciated all he had. He was a great example to the men who he worked with in his younger years and to his employees in his later years. He worked hard and taught by example. He was a gentle man who never raised his voice to make his point. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Graveside services for Wayne will be 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at Memory Gardens under the direction of the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center and left in the care of the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home, 15 W Wall St., P.O. Box 309, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Condolences may be submitted to the online guestbook at konantz-cheney.com.

Walker Starts Facebook Page As A Ministry

Jana Walker  started the Facebook group, Buy Nothing Bourbon County,  in August of 2020.



“When feeling I could not communicate well enough that this group is a reflection of Christ’s love in us and for us, I asked God that when I opened my Bible, I would find his words to express the reasoning behind and the heart of this group,” Walker said. “I opened my Bible blindly to, 1 Corinthians 4:1. It says, ‘Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.'”



“There were things in our home that we no longer wanted or needed, but there was not a local place to donate the items to, on a daily basis,” Walker said.



“When people are cleaning out their homes or purging most would rather not store their unwanted things for a garage sale once or twice a year,” she said. “We have such a throw-away society. This gives people an option to share their resources instead of tossing it in the trash or donating the items to a nearby community when there are people in Bourbon County who could benefit and appreciate the kindness from their friends and neighbors.”




“After realizing that there was a need and benefit for sharing with people in our county, it was only a matter of figuring out how to go about advertising and exchanging,” Walker said.  “There are large followings on other local Facebook pages that are for buying and selling, and there are members who occasionally offer free items there, but why not promote this as only free items to really be a quick resource to meet the needs of both the givers and receivers?”




“This also gives community members the opportunity to ask if someone might have an item they are no longer using and might want to pass on, or even ask to borrow something,” she said.




Everything has value to someone, she found.



“Group members have shared joy through splitting plants and sharing new starts, listing a dining room table so now a family can sit together and enjoy a meal, home decor, used furniture, old magazines to be used for recipes or collages, children’s bikes, sports equipment, empty egg cartons for chicken owners, and so much more,” she said.




“No money may exchange hands in this group, and local free resources can be listed,” she said. “There are wonderful opportunities to both donate to and benefit from that we want the community to know about!”




“Most people exchange by porch pick up at their home, but each party can make their own arrangements according to their preference,” Walker said.




Members of this Facebook page have listed the following resources for the community, according to Walker.


A small free food pantry is located in a yard on 4th Street (underneath a willow tree) that one can give to or take from.

It has all kinds of donated non-perishable foods, she said.


The Washeteria, 5th Street and National Avenue accepts used clothing, washes them and people can ‘shop’ the clothing in the sheds at the business, Walker said. They are currently operating by appointment only. They request that you call ahead with requests and sizes. They prepare clothing in those sizes for you to go through at your appointment, and it is a totally free service they offer! The other option is they set out clothing of all sizes on the third Saturday of each month for people to come and ‘shop’ at their location.

They have adult, children, and baby sizes.


Bids and Dibs, 108 Scott Avenue, also accepts donations of gently used clothing and then sells them as regular stock,  then the proceeds or credit for merchandise go to local groups, such as Care to Share, documented fire victims, the Beacon, and others, she said.



Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries assists community members in need of heaters, coats, hats, gloves, and blankets, Walker said.



Angel Gifts Facebook page was created in December 2020 to provide family adoptions for Christmas, she said.


“The people of Bourbon County are just amazing,” Walker said.  “We are blessed to live in this community!”

Here are the rules for Buy Nothing Bourbon County

Drug Take-Back Day April 24

Drug take-back day designed to counter pill abuse, environmental contamination 

[Bourbon County, Kansas] – Local agencies are partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration April 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for the 20th annual Drug Take Back Day. The event is designed to prevent pill abuse and environmental contamination by ridding homes of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. 


Prescription drug abuse and disposal are both a public and environmental health threat. Improper disposal of medications via sewers or landfills leads to surface water contamination. Returning unused or unwanted medications to a pharmacy, or bringing them to a law enforcement agency are reliable methods for keeping these substances from entering the water supply.


Bourbon County residents are encouraged to bring unwanted drugs to these area locations for disposal:


Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy

421 W Main St, Chanute, KS 66720


Nevada Police Department

120 South Ash St., Nevada, MO  64772


Pittsburg Police Department

201 N. Pine St., Pittsburg, KS  66762


Sites cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous with no questions asked. Collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.


With funding from the USDA, the K-State Pollution Prevention Institute (PPI) is offering education and outreach sessions to various communities in Kansas and Missouri with a focus on rural access to safe drug and sharps disposal. If your organization or community would like to learn more about safe disposal as a way to prevent drug abuse and keep toxic waste out of landfills, contact PPI by calling 800-578-8898.


For more information about proper disposal of prescription drugs or the Take Back Day event, visit www.sbeap.org/safe-disposal.


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FS Street Advisory Board Meets April 22

The Street Advisory Board will meet on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. at the City Commission Meeting Room at 123 S. Main Street. This meeting is open to the public.

This meeting will be made available via the City’s you tube channel at City of Fort Scott.

FS Design Review Board Meets April 21

The Design Review Board will meet on Wednesday, April 21st, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. in the City Hall Commission Meeting room at 123 S. Main Street, Fort Scott, Kansas. This meeting will be held to consider the signage on the north and south walls at the Unsung Heroes Park and any other matters that may come up before the Board.

This meeting will be made available via the City’s you tube channel at City of Fort Scott.

Nine FSHS Debate and Forensics Team Members Qualify For Nationals

Fort Scott High School Debate and Forensics team has been competing completely virtually all year.
Over the last few weeks students have been working to qualify to nationals through three district tournaments.
The last leg of this tournament was April 16-17.
The Talking Tigers have nine students who will be representing Fort Scott at Nationals in June.
Overall, Fort Scott placed 2nd in Congress sweeps and Speech Sweeps and 3rd in debate sweeps
 Several students qualified for nationals in multiple events but are only allowed to compete in one.
Congress House:

Neil Gugnani


Shekhar Gugnani
Congress Senate:

Lillian Collins
PFD: Thade Yates and Khris Patel
Informative 10:

Jadelynne Atherton-Russell

Kinsley Davis

Trent Toth

and Regen Wells

The entire Talking Tigers team has adjusted to every strange and different thing that has been thrown at them and this is the result of their hard work and dedication! They are a great representation of Fort Scott High School and we are extremely proud of them!
Submitted by
Angella Curran 

Fort Scott High School
Speech Communications

Kansas Youth Community Change Conference June 1-15

Registration for the Kansas Youth Community Change Conference (KYC3) is now open! KYC3 is a FREE action-packed virtual event open to all middle and high school aged youth. Through youth-led interactive sessions and high energy activities, youth will expand their leadership skills, engage with other youth across the state, and take action to promote positive change in their schools and communities! Sessions will take place in the evening June 1st – 15th.


NEW THIS YEAR: There is a session for parents on June 9th at 8:00 PM. Parents must register in advance to attend the session!


To register, check out the prize packs, and view FAQs visit: https://www.dccca.org/events/2021-kyc3/

To view the agenda, visit: https://www.dccca.org/2021-kyc3-agenda/

To learn more about the youth planning team, check out: https://www.dccca.org/kyc3-youth-planning-team/

Kansas Governor Signs 10 Pieces of Legislation

Governor Laura Kelly Signs Several Pieces of Bipartisan Legislation

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today signed several bipartisan bills that will implement meaningful changes for Kansans, communities, and businesses.

House Bill 2071

HB 2071, as amended, would amend the definition of the crime of stalking to include intentionally engaging in a course of conduct targeted at a specific child under the age of 14 that would cause a reasonable person in the circumstances of the targeted child, or a reasonable person in the circumstances of an immediate family member of such child, to fear for such child’s safety.

House Bill 2085

HB 2085 creates the Students’ Right to Know Act, which requires the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to ensure the distribution, electronic or otherwise, of certain information to all students in grades 7 through 12. Information to be distributed will include:

  • The State Board of Regents degree prospectus information;
  • The placement and salary report of the Kansas Training Information Program;
  • Any other information relevant to students’ understanding of potential earnings as determined by the Department of Labor and each branch of the armed services of the U.S. military.

The bill also authorizes KSDE to enter into memorandums of understanding and other agreements with state agencies or other entities as needed to accomplish this task.

House Bill 2101

HB 2101 extends the current transfer of the first $10.5 million credited to the Expanded Lottery Act Revenues Fund (ELARF) from ELARF to the Kan-grow Engineering Fund – KU, the Kan-grow Engineering Fund – KSU, and the Kan-grow Engineering Fund – WSU with each fund receiving equal amounts of $3.5 million in each fiscal year, for FY 2023 through FY 2032. The transfer first occurred in FY 2013 and is currently scheduled to end with the transfer in FY 2022.

House Bill 2165

HB 2165, as amended, would amend the definition of an antique vehicle for purposes of vehicle registration.

House Bill 2167

HB 2167, as amended, would add two exceptions to law requiring a license plate to be attached to the rear of a motor vehicle. The bill would allow concrete mixer trucks the option to display a license plate on the front of the vehicle rather than on the rear of the vehicle and would require a dump truck with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more to display a license plate on the front of the vehicle. The requirement for a dump truck to display a license plate on the front of the vehicle would not apply to a vehicle registered as a farm truck.

House Bill 2245

HB 2245, as amended, would add law authorizing the Division of Vehicles (Division), Department of Revenue, to collect emergency contact information and would provide for the use of such information by law enforcement agencies.

House Bill 2247

HB 2247, as amended, would designate portions of highway in Johnson, Marshall, and Norton counties as memorial highways and would designate certain bridges in Cowley, Riley, and Seward counties as memorial bridges.

House Bill 2379

HB 2379 enacts the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Vehicle Sharing Program Act.

Senate Bill 16

SB 16 would amend statutes to remove requirements that the following reports and certifications be provided to the Legislative Division of Post Audit (LPA), the Post Auditor, or the Legislative Post Audit Committee.

Senate Bill 89

SB 89, as amended, would amend law on securing loads on vehicles to create an exemption for trucks, trailers, or semitrailers when hauling agricultural forage commodities intrastate from the place of production to a market or place of storage or from a place of storage to a place of use. The bill would state this exemption would not apply to trucks, trailers, or semitrailers hauling hay bales or other packaged or bundled forage commodities. Continuing law requires securing a load on a vehicle so as to prevent any of this load from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping.