Category Archives: Kansas

Governor Kelly on KPERS

Governor’s statement on the passage of Senate Bill 9

 

The following statement is from Governor Laura Kelly on the passage of Senate Bill 9, a $115 million payment to KPERS to make up for years of delayed and eliminated payments:

 

“After years of delayed, reduced and eliminated pension payments to prop up a failed tax experiment, it is encouraging to see lawmakers act responsibly to fix past mistakes. However, Senate Bill 9 does little to address ballooning KPERS payments in future years, and it does nothing to stabilize state finances as a whole. In January, I put forward a commonsense, structurally balanced budget that tackled our most urgent priorities, paid down debt, rebuilt our state savings, all without raising taxes.

 

“While I’m eager to compromise with Republican leadership on policy proposals, I will not compromise Kansans’ commitment to fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. I’m hopeful that Republican leadership will join me in that effort and come to the table to offer reasonable ideas so we can avoid the mistakes that made Senate Bill 9 necessary in the first place.”

 

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Definition of A Weapon Considered by Kansas Senate

Department of Corrections Secretary Cautions Lawmakers to Consider Costs of Their Decisions During Testimony

 

Topeka, Kan. — During his neutral testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week regarding Senate Bill 80, which would expand the definition of weapon, Department of Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz reminded lawmakers to consider a series of questions and its subsequent impact on the Kansas Department of Corrections. The proposed change would add the word “ammunition” to law thus raising the severity level of the penalty resulting in lengthening prison sentences for criminals. On the surface the change may seem to impose relatively little impact for the Kansas Department of Corrections, however, he offered another perspective with a series of questions.

 

Those questions included:

 

  1. What is the purpose of the legislation and the change in penalty? Is it to deter people from committing this offense? Is it simply to incapacitate them for a longer period of time?
  2. If the goal is deterrence, I would ask you to consider how many convicted felons will be aware of this legislation or will know that someone with a criminal history of two non-person felonies will move from presumptive probation with an underlying prison sentence of 11 to 13 months to a presumptive prison sentence of 25 to 29 months. I would argue that these folks will not do a cost benefit analysis of possible penalties and decide not to commit the crime because of the new sentences proposed. The fact is, these offenders don’t think they will be caught or simply don’t think at all.
  3. If the goal is incapacitation, how much more public safety will we buy by increasing prison time by 14 to 16 months, especially if the department does not have the program capacity to address the criminal behaviors that resulted in incarceration? We can certainly prevent offenders from doing much harm while imprisoned, but incapacitation is a very expensive strategy to pursue.

 

Werholtz cited legislative research requested by Rep. Ward Loyd in the past to determine how many changes were made to sentencing law for a multi-year period beginning in 2005. It was found that 108 changes to sentencing statutes were made. Of those 108 changes, 97 increased penalties.

 

“When considered independently, each of those decisions may seem to have insignificant impact on the Department of Corrections. However, the cumulative effect has considerable impact on our operations,” Werholtz said in his written testimony. “I chose to highlight this issue, with this legislation, because I think it is a good example of what can happen if we don’t look at the long-term consequences of a change.”

Secretary Werholtz provided a parallel of a truck that continued to have its cargo area loaded with more items. As more and more content is loaded into the truck it could seemingly handle the additional load, but eventually, he hypothesized, the load becomes too much and the truck’s chassis breaks and the truck is unable to be operated anymore. Similarly, the prison system, which is over its capacity will exceed its tipping point too.

 

“You are no doubt aware by now that we have insufficient space to house our population, insufficient staff to properly supervise them, and insufficient programming to effectively treat them,” Werholtz said in his written testimony. “My request is that, when considering all legislation impacting the size of KDOC’s inmate population, please be prepared to provide the necessary resources to safely house and treat them. Our current trajectory is unsustainable. Your careful consideration of this request is appreciated.”

KDOT requesting comments on Transportation Improvement Amendment

KDOT requesting comments on STIP amendment

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) requests comments on an amendment to the FFY 2019-2022 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) document.

The STIP is a project specific publication that lists all KDOT administered projects, regardless of funding source, and includes projects for counties and cities as well as projects on the State Highway System. The list of projects being amended to the STIP can be viewed at http://www.ksdot.org/bureaus/burProgProjMgmt/stip/stip.asp

The approval of the STIP amendment requires a public comment period, which concludes March 6. To make comments on the amendment, contact KDOT’s Bureau of Program and Project Management at (785) 296-2252.

This information is available in alternative accessible formats. To obtain an alternative format, contact the KDOT Office of Public Affairs, (785) 296-3585 (Voice/Hearing Impaired-711).

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Senator Hilderbrand’s Communication Week Five

HARD FACTS:
·      The Kansas House of Representatives rejected Gov. Kelly’s proposal to re-amortize KPERS on a vote of 36-87. The proposal would have provided the state with $770 million over the next five years but would cost the state $7.4 billion over the next 30 years (Kansas City Star).
·      On Tuesday, The Kansas Department of Corrections declared an emergency at El Dorado Correctional Facility, one of the state’s largest prisons. The prison has 95 vacant staff positions (more than 25 percent of uniformed positions) while housing 74 inmates over its limit (Wichita Eagle).
·      Job openings hit record high of 7.3 million in December. The number of job openings hit a record high of 7.3 million in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday in a sign of the labor market’s strength. The previous high was sent in August. Data goes back to the year 2000. The private sector drove the new record, with private entities accounting for 6.7 million job vacancies-also a record high. The construction industry recorded 382,00 new jobs, far more than ever before (Washington Examiner).
·      Kelly Flip Flops – Proposes KPERS Plan she recently opposed. Governor Kelly’s KPERS re-amortization plan, which was defeated overwhelmingly in the House this week, is similar to a plan proposed by the Brownback administration in 2017 that then Senator Kelly opposed and said, “would unravel all the work done to ensure the financial stability of KPERS.” Senator Kelly also went on to criticize Governor Brownback for “short-term thinking.” (The Wichita Eagle). I agree with Senator Kelly’s assessment of how re-amortizing KPERS would unravel the financial stability of KPERS, and is short-term thinking. That is why I oppose this procedure.
Find reliable and age appropriate information online with Britannica – Public Library https://kslib.info/eor from the State Library of Kansas. Three levels of learning (Children, Young Adult, and Reference Center) offer continually updated entries, multimedia, primary –source material, maps, and links to expert websites. Double–click any word in the article for the definition to pop up with audio pronunciation. Also available at https://kslib.info/eor, Britannica – Academic includes more scholarly content. Another link https://kslib.info/kids takes you to Britannica – School for learning about any subject for all grades and reading abilities.
If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas. Most people will be automatically recognized as being in Kansas and will not need this step.  Questions: kslc@library.ks.gov or 785-296-3296.
FLOOR ACTION
ACCESS OF CRIMINAL DEFENDANT’S PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORT (SB 19): Senate Bill 19 changes the statute governing the presentence investigation report prepared in criminal cases, allowing access of the report for community correctional services and any entity required to receive the information under the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision. The bill makes technical changes to provide consistency in references to the report and consistency in statutory phrasing. This bill passed the Senate 40-0 (I voted in favor of this bill).
JUDICIAL BRANCH SURCHARGE (SB 20): Senate Bill 20 makes the judicial branch surcharge permanent. The Legislature reauthorized the surcharge (HB2041) in 2017, which funds non-judicial personnel. Current law allows the Judicial Branch to impose this additional charge on various docket fees to fund the costs of non-judicial personnel until June 30, 2019. The bill also makes technical changes by removing outdated statutory references and effective dates. This bill passed the Senate 35-5 (I voted against this bill. It eliminated the sunset revision, and did not set a new sunset date. I felt that there were a lot of fees in this bill that put a heavy burden on those that cannot afford to pay the fines).
ATTORNEY GENERAL ENTERING INTO DIVERSION AGREEMENTS (SB 18): Senate Bill 18 allows the attorney general to enter into diversion agreements pursuant to statutes; to add a provision specifying that any diversion costs or fees collected under a diversion agreement entered into by the attorney general would be deposited in the Fraud and Abuse Criminal Prosecution Fund; and to add a provision allowing the attorney general to enter into agreements with the appropriate county or district attorney, or other appropriate parties, regarding the supervision of conditions of the diversion agreement. This bill passed the Senate 40-0(I voted in favor of this bill).
VEHICLE DEALERS AND MANUFACTURERS LICENSING ACT (SB 39): Senate Bill 39 identifies that the dealer may establish its average percentage markup for parts or its labor rate, by submitting to the manufacturer or distributor copies of 100 sequential retail service orders paid by the dealer’s customers, or all of the dealer’s retail service orders paid by the dealer’s customers in a 90-day period, whichever is less, for services provided within the previous 180-day period. The bill would authorize the manufacturer or distributor to choose to audit the submitted orders, within 30 days of receiving the dealer’s submission. The manufacturer or distributor would then approve or deny the establishment of the dealer’s average percentage markup or labor rate. If the manufacturer or distributor approves the average percentage markup or labor rate, the markup or rate go into effect 45 days after approval.
If the manufacturer or distributor denies the establishment the average percentage markup or labor rate, the dealer would be able to file a complaint with the Director of Vehicles and require a hearing following procedure in continuing law for hearings on violations of any provision of the Act. The burden of proof would be on the manufacturer or distributor to establish that the denial of the dealer’s average percentage markup or labor rate was reasonable. If the Director of Vehicles finds the denial was not reasonable, the Director of Vehicles then determines the dealer’s average percentage markup or labor rate for purposes of calculating a reasonable schedule of compensation. SB 39 would prohibit a dealer from requesting a change in the dealer’s average percentage markup or labor rate more than once in any one-year period and would prohibit the compensation to the dealer for warranty parts and labor from being less than rates charged by the dealer for like parts and services to retail customers, provided the rates are reasonable. This bill passed the Senate 39-0(I voted in favor of this bill).
CONDEMNING THE ENACTMENT OF NEW YORK’S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ACT (SCR 1606): Senate Concurrent Resolution 1606 condemns the enactment of New York’s Reproductive Health Act (RHA) because it violates the health and well-being of a woman and her unborn child.
Last month, the State of New York passed RHA which expands legal abortion from 24 weeks to full-term; removes abortion in its entirety from the state penal code; allows non-physicians to commit abortion such as nurses, physician assistants, or midwives; jeopardizes a health professional’s right to not participate in abortion.
Kansas pro-life senators signed on to the resolution to take a stance against New York’s progressive late-term abortion legislation. This resolution passed the Senate 27-13(I co-sponsored and voted in favor of this bill).
Senators and members of the Kansas House of Representatives held a press conference on Monday to discuss the resolution and display their commitment to protecting the life of the unborn.
To watch the press conference, click here.
Kansas lawmakers held a press conference on Monday to condemn New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which allows for late-term abortion.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON POPULATION ADJUSTMENTS
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Scott Schwab testified in front of the Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee in support of a constitutional amendment (SCR 1605) that would end the revision of population figures to reflect where military members and college students reside for the purpose of redistricting.
Secretary of State Schwab told the committee that Kansas would have to spend an estimated $834,000 to adjust the 2020 U.S. Census figures to prepare for redrawing political boundaries for House and Senate districts.
“The adjustment requirement is burdensome, antiquated and expensive,” Schwab told the committee. “Kansas is the only state in the nation that continues to adjust census numbers. I think this provision of the constitution is a waste.”
Secretary of State Schwab explained that the population report relied on for redistricting would be delayed three to six months while a private consultant contacted college students and military personnel in Kansas to determine where they want to be counted as residents.
The district maps are based on population. The adjustment of census figures was originally done to allow rural areas -for redistricting- to retain people who had moved elsewhere to serve in the military or attend college. While the original purpose was to help rural areas, the revisions favored urban centers after the 2010 census.
For SCR 1605 to be placed on a statewide ballot, it would require the approval by two-thirds majorities of the House and Senate.
DECREASING NUMBER OF SCHOOL SAFETY DRILLS
The Senate Education Committee is considering legislation that would decrease the number of school safety drills from 16 to nine a year. Currently, all schools in Kansas, except colleges and universities, must complete 16 emergency-preparedness drills during school hours. The 16 drills include nine crisis drills, four fire drills, and three tornado drills. Senate Bill 128 would reduce requirements to three crises drills and two tornado drills, while retaining the four fire drills.
G.A. Buie, executive director of United School Administrators of Kansas and Kansas School Superintendents Association, polled district superintendents and 150 principals. He said 95 percent support the reduction of crisis drills.
NEXT WEEK
Monday –
·      Hearing on: SB 47, creating the student opportunity scholarship program – [Senate Education Committee; February 18 at 1:30 pm]
Tuesday –
·      Hearing on: SB 152, Authorizing the secretary of health and environment to collect underground injection control program fees and redirecting water well license program fees – [Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee; February 19 at 8:30 am]
·      Hearing on: SB 125, extending the eligible time period for rural opportunity zones loan repayment program and income tax credit – [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee; February 19 at 9:30 am]
·      Hearing on: SB 135, adding certain counties to the list of eligible rural opportunity zone counties – [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee; February 19 at 9:30 am]
·      Hearing on: SB 140, establishing an income tax credit for contributions to the Eisenhower foundation – [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee; February 19 at 9:30 am]
·      Hearing on: SB 43, Elections; registration; election day registration – [Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government; February 19 at 9:30 am]
·      Hearing on: SB 144, allowing the use of expedited partner therapy to treat a sexually transmitted disease – [Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee; February 19 at 9:30 am]
·      Hearing on: SB 108, increasing criminal penalties for abuse of a child and involuntary manslaughter when the victim is under 6 years of age and making a presumption of unfitness against any parent convicted of either crime – [Senate Judiciary Committee; February 19 at 10:30 am]
·      Hearing on: (opponents) SB 69, requiring the state corporation commission to study electric rates and consider certain factors in establishing just and reasonable electric rates – [Senate Utilities Committee; February 19 at 1:30 pm]
Wednesday –
·      Hearing on: SB 49, authorizing the secretary of wildlife, parks and tourism to establish fees for cabins operated by the department of camping permits at state parks – [Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources; February 20 at 8:30 am]
·      Hearing on SB 122, implementing Medicaid and educational services for foster care youth and certain former foster care youth – [Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee; February 20 at 9:30 am]
·      Informational briefing on sports wagering – [Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee; February 20 at 10:30 am]
·      Hearing on: SB 80, increasing the criminal penalty for criminal possession of a weapon by a felon and adding ammunition to the definition of a weapon – [Senate Judiciary Committee; February 20 at 10:30 am]
Thursday –
·      Hearing on: SB 76, sales tax rate on food and food ingredients – [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee; February 21 at 9:30 am]
Thank You for Engaging
Thank you for all your calls, emails, and letters regarding your thoughts and concerns about happenings in Kansas. Constituent correspondence helps inform my decision-making process and is taken into great consideration when I cast my vote in the Kansas Senate. I hope you’ll continue to engage with me on the issues that matter most to you, your family, and our community. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka.
Please know that I am fully committed to addressing the current issues in our state, and I am proud to be your voice in the Kansas Senate.

Legislative Update By State Senator Caryn Tyson

Caryn Tyson

February 15, 2019

It may appear to be a slow week in the legislature:  However, as you know, things aren’t always what they appear.  The Senate and the House are doing a majority of the work in committees.  It is an important part of the process.  Committees study legislation.  Conferees testify in person or send written testimony on bills being considered.  The input can be critical because a committee will make a recommendation on a bill, often based on testimony.  The committee may take no action on the bill, or to vote a bill out of committee favorably or unfavorably.  After a bill passes out of committee, the majority leader decides if and when to bring a bill before the committee of the whole, all senators or all representatives of the respective chamber.  There are other paths a bill could take in the legislature but this is the most common.

KPERS: This week the House passed a bill out of committee unfavorably.  The bill would allow the Governor to re-amortization KPERS.  The House Majority Leader brought the bill to the committee of the whole, it was debated and failed the next day on final action 36 Yes and 87 No.  This action sent a clear message to the Governor, the House does not want to go into more debt for KPERS.  The week before the Senate passed a bill requiring the KPERS payment be made without delay.  Both chambers have sent strong messages.  Hopefully, each chamber will support the others actions so that Kansas will not take on more debt and will not delay the KPERS payment.

Hearing on Property Tax Relief: The Senate Tax Committee heard from several conferees regarding property tax or a homestead freeze, SB 91.  The bill would provide property tax relief for homeowners who are 65 years of age or older and do not have a mortgage on their home or for veterans who are at least 50% disabled.  The value of the property must be less than $350,000 and a combined household income less than $50,000 per year.  The bill would also allow renters to qualify for a homestead exemption.  It is an attempt at addressing property tax increases for some of our most vulnerable.  However, it does nothing to address seniors who are still paying on a mortgage or to address the high property tax increases the rest of Kansans are facing.  There will be other ideas to regarding property tax as there are many legislators with a desire to address the issue.

Kansas Senate denounces New York’s Reproductive Health Act:  Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 1606 sends a clear message to New York State that Kansas denounces the recent legislation passed and celebrated by some of its legislators.  New York allows third-trimester abortions, removes an abortion penal code, and allows non-physicians to commit abortion.  The SCR passed the Senate on a vote of 27 to 13.  I voted Yes.  The SCR will now go to the House for debate, since it is a joint resolution.  If it passes the House, copies will be sent to the Governor of New York and each member of the New York State Senate and State Assembly.  Normally, it is not our concern how another state conducts business.  However, this is a matter of life and death.  Our founding fathers wrote of our natural rights including life and liberty.  It is the duty of government to protect the natural rights of people.

 

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

Caryn

Caryn Tyson

Kansas Senate, District 12

785.296.6838

Acting Secretary Norman Testifies at KanCare Oversight Hearing

 

Describes the system as sound but needing updates

 

 

TOPEKA – Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Acting Secretary Lee A. Norman, M.D. testified during Friday’s Bethel Oversight Committee hearing on Kansas’s Medicaid program, Kancare. He stated that while the program should continue with improvements in several areas, the program itself is on the right track and valuable for Kansans.

 

“I liken the base of KanCare to the chassis of an automobile,” said Acting Secretary Norman. “If the car does not have a strong, well-built chassis, then it doesn’t matter how great the tires are that you put on it. The solid chassis for KanCare involves an updated IT system as well as the personnel to handle the amount of cases that come in, among other things,” said Norman.

 

“During my tenure as chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Health System I had great deal of experience working on KanCare issues. I saw firsthand that it is a system that is beneficial to Kansans. Like any large endeavor it has had its growing pains, but we have seen great improvements and we will continue to hone those areas to make sure it is effective for all KanCare members.”

 

Areas discussed by Dr. Norman and KDHE staff at the hearing included the transition to a new managed care organization (MCO), Aetna, improvements to the eligibility system and financial updates for the program.

 

KDHE, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and the three MCOs for KanCare all provided testimony to the Bethel oversight committee which meets quarterly.

Governor Comments on Oswego Hospital Closing

Governor Kelly’s statement on the Oswego Community Hospital closure

 

The following statement is from Governor Laura Kelly regarding the closure of Oswego Community Hospital:

 

“Once again, we see the consequences of failing to expand Medicaid. Another Kansas hospital, this time in Oswego, has closed its doors. Studies show about 30% of our state’s hospitals are considered financially vulnerable. In small communities across our state – these facilities are at serious risk of closure.

 

“Just by expanding KanCare – the state’s Medicaid program – we can help keep these important facilities open and provide affordable health care to 150,000 more Kansans – no matter where they live. It is time to put politics aside and do what is best for the families and communities of Kansas.

 

“I look forward to legislators following through on their pledge to move our agenda through the committee process and allow for a full floor debate on our Medicaid expansion proposal.”

Rebid Family Preservation Grants; Reopen Negotiations on Foster Care Grants

Kansas Department for Children and Families to Rebid Family Preservation Grants; Reopen Negotiations on Foster Care Grants

Current contracts to be extended

 

Governor Laura Kelly today announced the Department for Children and Families (DCF) will rebid the state’s family preservation grants and revise the grants awarded to foster care contractors during the previous administration.

“After careful review, it is clear there are flaws in both the family preservation and foster care grants awarded by the previous administration,” said Kelly. “Under the direction of Secretary Laura Howard, and in partnership with the Department of Administration, we will work to resolve the inconsistencies and shed more light on the process.”

Thursday morning, DCF sent letters to Eckerd Connects and Cornerstones of Care terminating the previously negotiated grants for family preservation services in Kansas. These contracts will be rebid. In addition, Saint Francis Ministries, KVC Kansas, TFI and Cornerstones of Care were notified of the state’s intent to reopen negotiations on the foster care grants announced in November.

“It is not our intent to completely restart the process on the foster care grants,” said Howard. “We want to continue to work with our valued partners to ensure the grants are structured in a way that provides more stability during the grant transition and additional clarity in the roles of both the grantees and DCF. To be clear, we look forward to working with our current contractors to solve these issues and believe that adding new partners will bring long-term stability and years of experience into the child welfare system in Kansas.”

To ensure a transparent process moving forward, DCF will issue a new request for proposal (RFP) for family preservation services through the Department of Administration. In addition, representatives from the Department of Administration will join DCF staff to assist in the foster care grant negotiations. This will ensure proper procedures are followed.

“As a senator, I served on the Child Welfare Task Force and I voiced my concerns regularly about the lack of transparency in the Department for Children and Families,” said Kelly. “Rest assured, fixing the problems in this agency, working with advocates and being open about the process is of critical importance to my administration.”

To allow time to complete the RFP process and additional negotiations, DCF is extending the current family preservation contracts by six months and foster care contracts by three months.

 

KDOT Plans in FY2020

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Governor Laura Kelly joined Kansas Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz to announce the Kansas Department of Transportation’s (KDOT) plans to invest $160 million in revenue that is included in the Governor’s FY 2020 budget for transportation.

 

With the $160 million in FY 2020, KDOT will:

  • Increase the highway preservation investment from $350 – $400 million
  • Move forward with four delayed T-WORKS projects (including the U.S. 169 modernization project in Anderson County; for details click the link below)
  • Reinstate the Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program
  • Implement a new cost-share program for state/local partnerships
  • Enhance its safety program • Increase City Connecting Link maintenance payments
  • Increase funding for modal programs (e.g., transit, aviation, rail and bike/pedestrian)

 

For further information please go to this link:

 

http://www.ksdot.org/Assets/wwwksdotorg/Headquarters/PDF_Files/pressrelease2019/TaskForceNewsRelease.pdf

 

Legislative Update By State Senator Caryn Tyson

Senator Caryn Tyson listens to a constituent following the legislative coffee sponsored by the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce in 2018.

 

February 8, 2019

Effort to Stop Growing Government:  As a result of 2017 the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many states, including Kansas, will have to change their tax laws in order to avoid a state tax increase.  The Senate passed legislation last year dealing with the issue but it failed in the House.  This year the Senate has again picked up the banner in an attempt to pass legislation as quickly as possible so that some taxpayers will not have to file amended returns and to keep the money where it was intended – with the taxpayer.  Currently, individual taxpayers cannot itemize on their Kansas tax return unless they itemize on their Federal tax return.  Senate Bill (SB) 22 will allow individual taxpayers an option to itemize, which could impact your 2018 taxes since the bill is retro-active.  Unfortunately, the bill only allows 50% of medical and mortgage deductions for tax-year 2018.  It increases to 75% in tax-year 2019 and to 100% in tax-year 2020.  SB 22 also addresses corporate money that has been earned offshore, allowing the money to come to Kansas with no Kansas income tax owed.  Most corporations are tax savvy and if Kansas does nothing the money will most likely go elsewhere.  The Senate passed SB 22 on a vote of 26 to 14.  I voted Yes.  The bill must pass the House and not be vetoed by the Governor to become law.

 

Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS):  Senate Bill (SB) 9 will require Kansas to pay the KPERS fund on-time, which will save the State money.  It passed the Senate unanimously.  Hopefully, the House and the Governor will act quickly so that SB 9 becomes law.

 

Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) Recognized in the Senate and House for serving Kansans for 100 years.  KFB is a grassroots organization that promotes agriculture, education, community, and rural life.  It was a pleasure to have KFB President Felts and many others in the Capitol to celebrate.

 

Hunting and Fishing Fees:  Last week I mentioned SB 50, a bill Wildlife and Parks requested to increase almost all hunting and fishing fees by 50% and some 100%.  It was announced the bill will not get out of committee.  It would be nice to say the issue is dead but that just isn’t the case.    However, it does appear it will not get traction this year.

 

Debt:  School bonding debt for new buildings and maintenance of buildings has increased from $5.7 billion to $6.4 in less than three years.  From 2008 to 2018 it has increased over $2.6 billion.  There has been an attempt to address the continued increase in bonding debt to no avail.           

As of June 30, Statewide School District Indebtedness Annual Change
2008 3,777,562,130
2009 4,459,650,707 682,088,577
2010 4,602,634,429 142,983,722
2011 4,483,953,136 -118,681,293
2012 4,476,413,399 -7,539,737
2013 4,659,624,797 183,211,398
2014 5,281,919,283 622,294,486
2015 5,623,047,441 341,128,158
2016 5,790,934,088 167,886,647
2017 6,089,382,797 298,448,709
2018 6,416,193,352 326,810,555

 

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

Caryn

Emergency Staffing Needed At El Dorado Correctional Facility

KDOC enacts measures to alleviate staffing shortages at El Dorado Correctional Facility

 

An emergency staffing situation at the El Dorado Correctional Facility (EDCF) has prompted the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) to offer additional pay to hire temporary staff to provide relief.

 

“This morning I declared an emergency for the El Dorado Correctional Facility due to severe and prolonged staff shortages in the uniformed ranks. Gov. Kelly convened a meeting of legislative leadership this morning in order to brief them on the situation,” said Secretary of Corrections Roger Werholtz. “I am encouraged by the concern expressed by everyone for our employees and the desire to work together to find solutions to this crisis.”

 

The declaration allows the department flexibility in rostering and hiring staff. The usual staff of 316 full-time equivalents has been depleted and is down by 86 full-time equivalent people, which is forcing them to consistently work excessive amounts of overtime to cover vacant shifts.

 

“This is a very short-term solution to an immediate problem,” Werholtz said.

Senator Hilderband’s Weekly Newsletter Feb. 8

State senatorRichard Hilderbrand13th district
communications from the state capitol
February 8, 2019∙ Week Four
HARD FACTS:
·      U.S. employers added 304,000 jobs in January, soaring past Wall Street’s expectations for an increase of 165,000 jobs (Fox Business).
·      University of Kansas officials say crime reported on the Lawrence campus in 2018 dropped to the lowest level in 10 years (AP News).
Getting ready to apply for college? Improving your test scores just got easier with LearningExpress Library, available from the State Library of Kansas. LearningExpress Library is an easy to use online resource that includes practice tests and tutorials for PSAT, ACT and SAT as well as AP. There is no charge to use LearningExpress and no limit to the number of times you can take the practice tests. Becoming familiar with and comfortable with the testing format and the types of questions helps to improve test scores. Go to https://kslib.info/LearningExpress click on College Preparation Center.
Easy registration and self-supplied password is necessary and helps you save your practice tests and tutorials. If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas. Most people will be automatically recognized as being in Kansas and will not need this step.  Questions: kslc@library.ks.gov or 785-296-3296.
FLOOR ACTION
KPERS $115 MILLION TRANSFER(SB 9): Senate Bill 9, transfers $115.0 million from the State General Fund to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement Fund. The payment in its’ entirety will be paid to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS)-School group. This bill passed the Senate 40-0. I voted in favor of this bill
Stopping the tax increase (SB 22): Senate Bill 22, was introduced in response to the federal windfall Kansas is expected to receive as a result of Congress passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. Senate Bill 22 addresses both individual and corporate income taxes by decoupling from certain federal tax provisions. This will allow individuals the ability to itemize when using the federal standard deduction on their tax return.
Senate Bill 22 will provide Kansans the right to deduct interest on their mortgage, property taxes, and health care expenses. The legislation also provides incentives for businesses to invest and create jobs in Kansas by protecting Kansas companies from an unintended tax increase. This bill passed the Senate 26-14. I voted in favor of this bill
GOVERNOR KELLY’S EDUCATION FUNDING PLAN
The Senate Select Committee on Education Finance began hearings for Senate Bill 44, Governor Laura Kelly’s education plan. The bill would add $92 million per year to the $949.4 million the Legislature has already promised K-12 through the year 2023. The $92 million is an inflation figure, which is factored at a flat rate. The Senate Education Committee will continue hearings for Senate Bill 44 on Tuesday, February 12th at 1:30 pm.
KANSAS FARM BUREAU 100TH ANNIVERSARY
On Thursday, members of the Kansas Farm Bureau gathered at the statehouse to celebrate the bureau’s 100th anniversary.In 1919, the Kansas Farm Bureau was established as a grassroots organization to strengthen and correlate the work of county Farm Bureaus to promote the development of the most profitable and permanent system of agriculture; the most wholesome and satisfactory living conditions; the highest ideals in home and community life, and a general interest in the farm business and rural life. The Kansas Farm Bureau has advocated and served Kansas farmers and ranchers through a wide range of programs, including agriculture education, leadership development, legal defense, rural development, and international trade. Through its work, the Bureau has played a critical role as the Voice of Agriculture in Kansas.
JAG-K DAY AT THE STATEHOUSE
Thursday, February 7th, was JAG-K advocacy day at the Kansas Statehouse. Jobs for America’s Graduates, Kansas is a non-profit organization that partners with students facing multiple barriers to success. The curriculum emphasizes graduating from high school and preparing students for post-secondary education or entering the workforce directly. The JAG-K program had a 97% graduation rate in school year 2016-2017.
Students, educators, and program directors presented an overview of the program in front of the Senate Education Committee on Thursday before being recognized on the Senate floor during session.
The above chart shows data from the 2017-2018 school year.
NEXT WEEK
Monday –
·      Informational hearing on Medicaid: Amerigroup, Frank Clepper – [Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee; February 11 at 9:30 am]
·      Discussion on: School Safety Drills by Office of the State Fire Marshal, Doug Jorgensen and Kansas State Department of Education, Dale Dennis – [Senate Education Committee; February 11 at 1:30 pm]
Tuesday –
·      Hearing on: Senate Bill 42, amending the meaning of the terms “rebate” and “interest” as used in the real estate brokers’ and salespersons’ license act – [Senate Commerce Committee; February 12 at 8:30 am]
·      Hearing on: Senate Bill 82, updating the state banking code – [Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee; February 12 at 9:30 am]
·      Informational briefing on Vaping/E-Cigarettes, Dodi Wellshear, KS Academy of Family Physicians – [Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee; February 12 at 9:30 am]
·      Hearing on Senate Bill 77, requiring the department for children and families to offer services to children with problem sexual behavior and to such child’s family – [Senate Judiciary Committee; February 12 at 10:30 am]
·      Hearing continuation on: Senate Bill 44, appropriations for the department of education for FY 2019, 2020, and 2021; increasing BASE aid for certain portion of property used for residential purposes from such levy – [Senate Select Committee on Education Finance; February 12 at 1:30 pm]
Wednesday –
·      Hearing on: Senate Bill 90, extending the tax credit under the center for entrepreneurship act to financial institutions and increasing the annual tax credit limit for all contributors – [Senate Commerce Committee; February 13 at 8:30 am]
·      Hearing on: Senate Bill 67, establishing the unclaimed life insurance benefits act – [Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee; February 13 at 9:30 am]
·      Hearing on: Senate Bill 70, allowing for temporary permits for the selling and serving of alcoholic liquor – [Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee; February 13 at 10:30 am]
Thursday –
·      Hearing on: Senate Bill 60, amending Kansas real estate commission licensing provisions for brokers and sales persons – [Senate Commerce Committee; February 14 at 8:30 am]
·      Hearing on: Senate Bill 91, establishing the golden years homestead property tax freeze act providing refund for certain increases in residential property taxes and allowing homestead property tax refund for renters – [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee; February 14 at 9:30 am]
·      Informational briefing on Foster Care: Interim Secretary Laura Howard – Department for Children and Families, Rachel Marsh – St. Francis Community Services – [Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee; February 14 at 9:30 am]
·      Presentation and Update on: Southwest Power Pool; Mike Ross, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Relations – [Senate Utilities Committee; February 14 at 1:30 pm]
Thank You for Engaging
Thank you for all your calls, emails, and letters regarding your thoughts and concerns about happenings in Kansas. Constituent correspondence helps inform my decision-making process and is taken into great consideration when I cast my vote in the Kansas Senate. I hope you’ll continue to engage with me on the issues that matter most to you, your family, and our community. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka.
Please know that I am fully committed to addressing the current issues in our state, and I am proud to be your voice in the Kansas Senate.