SENATOR, 13TH DISTRICT
Quote of the Week:
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
– Abraham Lincoln
Education Bill Update
I wanted to give everyone an update on the education bill. On Saturday, the house stripped the contents of SB 423 and put in the contents of their bill HB 2445, with some minor adjustments. The house needed 63 votes to pass it, and
it passed by a vote of 63-56. The Senate needed 21 votes to pass it, and it passed by a vote of 21-19. The Governor has said that he is going to be signing this bill into law.
For the house bill to have $230 million more in spending over the senate bill, I would have hoped for better results for our Southeast Kansas districts. The senate version had
$10 million dollars to use state wide for mental health. The house version cut this dollar amount back and limited it to
6 school districts: Wichita, Topeka, Kansas City, Parsons, Garden City, and Central Kansas. Mental Health funding is important for all our school districts, not just for the 6 that were selected. The house bill also has a onetime ex-
pense for the purchase of a database and computers for two school districts. While the final bill will add over $500 mil- lion more to our educational funding. It favors the urban high population areas of our state over our rural districts.
I have concerns that this new bill will not meet the equitable piece of our educational funding. That is why I voted against the concur motion, which would have sent it back to the House and Senate Education Committee.Important Updates
HOUSE LEADERSHIP FAILS TO RUN CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
HCR 5029 passed out of House Judiciary Committee, but failed to be brought above the line for debate in the full House.
A coalition of organizations known as the Kansas Coalition for Fair Funding, have come together to push for passage of the Constitutional Amendment to address the ambiguities in the Kansas Constitution in regards to suitable funding.
The coalition is made up of a variety of entities including the Kansas Contractors Association, Kansas Chamber, Kansas Farm Bureau, American Warrior, Kansas Livestock Association and Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (PMCA).
The House Judiciary Committee amended the bill and then passed it out. The differences in language can be found by reading the amended bill which you can find by clicking here: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/documents/hcr5029_01_0000.pdf
The ballot language would read as follows:
“Explanatory statement. The purpose of this amendment is to provide that suitable provision for the financing for public education means that the provision is adequate and equitable. Questions of adequacy of total funding of public education shall be determined by the legislature.
“A vote for this proposition would require suitable provision for the financing of public education to be both adequate and equitable and would reserve the power to establish and resolve any question of the adequacy of the funding to the legislature.
SENATE PASSES FEDERAL WINDFALL TAX REFORM LEGISLATION
Kansas Senate passed S Sub HB 2228, which would allow Kansas taxpayers to keep the windfall instead of government pocketing their hard-earned money. Kansas tax filers will be allowed to itemize deductions for state income tax purposes, even if they do not itemize deductions for federal income tax purposes.
The windfall is estimated to give taxpayers back $137 million of their money in the next fiscal year, $179 million in the subsequent fiscal year, and $187 million the following fiscal year.
S Sub HB 2228 accelerates the restoration of federal itemized deductions for state income purposes to 100 percent for deductions for medical expenses, mortgage interest and property taxes paid.
The bill also increases current Kansas standard deduction amounts by 25.0 percent beginning in tax year 2018
An additional provision of the bill would authorize nonrefundable income tax credits beginning in tax year 2018 for the Eisenhower Foundation.
S Sub HB 2228 also included provision to benefit businesses that employs workers with disabilities. The bill enacts a new nonrefundable income tax credit for tax years 2018-2022 for expenditures on goods and services purchased from qualified vendors or non-profit certified businesses providing a certain level of health insurance benefits and having at least
30.0 percent of their employees be resident Kansans with disabilities.
S Sub HB 2228 also seeks to bring in revenue by taxing international income expected to be returning to the U.S. after federal tax reform.
Important Updates Cont.
The Facts of the Matter
- Oops: Kansas lawmakers have $80M error to fix in school finance plan. Charts produced by KSDE show a difference of $79.7 million in general state aid between the approved and intended versions of Senate Bill 423. There will be a move to pass a “technical” correction when the Legislature returns on April 26. (Source)
The Kansas Constitution Has a Strict Even-Year Deadline for Legislative Sessions. Many may be wondering why Saturday night was so dramatic – the reason is embedded in our Kansas Constitution. Article 2, Section 8 of the Kansas Constitution says, “The duration of regular sessions held in even-numbered years shall not exceed ninety calendar days. Such sessions may be extended beyond ninety calendar days by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house.” (Source)
- Gannon Case in Eighth Year. The Kansas education system has been subject to lawsuits for decades. Currently, the Gannon v. Kansas case has been active since November of 2010, casting a long shadow over the ability of the Kansas
Legislature to craft meaningful reforms to ensure every child in Kansas receives a suitable education.
I submitted an amendment to add Crawford County to the state ROZ program. After an objection of germaneness by Senator Vicki Schmidt, it was ruled not germane. I worked with Senator Larry Alley from Cowley county to get the Kansas Income Tax waiver added.
After our initial effort wasn’t allowed an opportunity to be voted on, because of the objection of germaneness. We were able to get the tax income waiver portion added for Crawford and Cowley Counties. It now goes to the Senate and House Conference Committee.
Adoption Protection Act Update
After narrowly being defeated 10 days ago, many Kansans are hoping the Kansas House will attempt a second bite at the apple by taking another vote on the Adoption Protection Act. This past week, various circumstances delayed renewed consideration of the legislation, but proponents are working hard to have another debate and vote on the bill when the legislature returns on April 26th.Important Updates Cont.
- Total tax receipts so far, this fiscal year total $4.8 billion, which is $673.61 million or 16.32 percent above last year
at this time and $314.83 million above estimates for the year (Kansas Department of Revenue).
- Income tax collections for the fiscal year are $603.95 million above last year and $325.73 million above current expectations (Kansas Department of Revenue)
- March 2018 tax receipts came in $60.91 million over last March and $39.47 million above current expectations. Individual income tax collections in March were $77.88 million above last year. Sales tax receipts are up for the year by
$38.36 million over last year (Kansas Department of Revenue).
This week was the last week of legislative activity before First Adjournment. Early Sunday morning, the Senate gaveled
out for adjournment and will reconvene on April 26th for Veto Session.
The Senate voted on numerous conference committee reports, a tax reform bill, and a school finance plan.
A conference committee is a small, bipartisan, and bicameral committee that works to smooth out the differences be- tween the House and Senate’s version of a similar bill. Once the conference committee reaches a compromise, the negotiated bill is sent to both the House and Senate for a final vote before advancing to the governor’s desk.
When the Senate gavels in on April 26th, we will begin Veto Session and will wrap up any legislative loose ends for the year.
In the early hours of Sunday morning and after a night of debate, the Senate voted to concur on a school finance plan that
the House sent over earlier that day.
On Saturday morning, the House narrowly passed a school finance deal on a vote of 63-56. The House placed their original K-12 finance plan into a Senate bill and passed it to the Senate to either concur or non-concur on the deal.
The House’s plan would add $500 million to public school funding over the next five years. The funding plan almost doubles the cost of the Senate’s proposed plan that passed earlier that week. Some opponents of the bill believe the plan will make it difficult to earmark other priorities and require a possible tax increase.
The Senate voted 21-19 to concur, sending it to Governor Colyer’s desk for him to sign.
SENATE SCHOOL FINANCE PLAN (Sub SB 423): Substitute Senate Bill 423 amends the Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act by making appropriations to the Department of Education relating to school finance.
Sub SB 423 would phase in a $275 million increase to education funding. Some major policy provisions included in SB 423 are:
- Base aid for student excellence will increase from $4,006 to $4,258 in 2018-19, to $4,334 in 2019-20, to $4,412 in 2020-21, to $4,492 in 2021-22, and to $4,574 in 2022-23.
- Increase special education funding by $24 million in 2018-2019.
- Expand early childhood funding by increasing state aid for three- and four-year-old at-risk children by
- Allow all students the opportunity to participate in ACT and ACT Work Keys funded by the state.
- Add $1,760,000 for ABC Early Childhood Program.
- Provide a pilot program for improvement of mental health services for school districts.
- Provides that all high school students may take a college class in Comp I at no cost to the student.
mportant Updates Con
SB 324: Senate Bill 324 amends the vehicle dealers and manufacturers licensing act.
The Senate concurred on House amendments 37-0.
SB 410: Senate Bill 410 updates captive insurance statutes and provides for association and branch captive insurance companies and special purpose insurance companies.
The Senate concurred on House amendments 39-0.
SB 394: Senate Bill 394 ensures transparency in state government contract decisions.
The Senate concurred on House amendments 40-0.
SB 275: Senate Bill 275 relates to mid-term appointments of credit union council members.
The Senate concurred on House amendments 40-0.
SB 263: Senate Bill 263 creates a program to research the use of industrial hemp.
The Senate concurred on House amendments 40-0.
CONSIDERATION OF APPOINTMENTS:
The Senate confirmed Dwight Keen to serve on the Kansas Corporation Commission. Keen is a co-owner of Keen Oil Co., a Winfield, Kan., oil and gas production company. He has served as Securities Commissioner of Kansas and board chair for the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in economics from Wichita State University and received a law degree from Kansas University.
Keen was nominated last month by Governor Jeff Colyer and replaces Pat Apple on the three-person commission, after Apple announced in December that he would not seek reappointment.
The Senate confirmed Keen on Saturday April 7th.
The Senate gaveled out on Sunday April 8th for First Adjournment and will return April 26th for Veto Session.
2018 SESSION DATES AND DEADLINES:
Please be aware of the following dates and deadlines for the 2018 legislative session. As always, each is subject to modification and leadership will keep you updated on any changes which might occur.CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORTS
(HB 2470): House Bill 2470 would allow microbreweries within the state of Kansas to contract with other microbreweries for production and packaging of beer and hard cider. The bill amends law related to the sale of alcoholic candy and to the sale of domestic beer in refillable containers. HB 2470 allows licensed microbreweries in the state to produce beer containing up to 15 percent alcohol by weight. The bill also increases the length of time that certain businesses may serve alcohol to 6AM to 2 AM. Current law only allows for the sale of alcohol between 9AM and 2AM.
The Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 27-10. [ I voted against this bill. This bill had several
bills combined into one bill. One of the bills allows alcohol to be served at 6:00 am. This changes the time from 9:oo am to 6:oo am]
(HB 2606): House Bill 2606 amends law related to testing for a class M (motorcycle) driver’s license, online driver’s li– cense renewal, and the length of time a commercial driver’s license is valid.
The Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 38-2. [I voted for this bill.]
(HB 2597): House Bill 2597 would amend law regarding designation of an urban area. The bill amends law when a mayor is considered a member of a governing body. HB 2597 also deals with the compensation, supervision, personnel, and budgeting policies of election commissioners.
The Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 29-10. [I voted for this bill.]
(HB 2542): House Bill 2542 amends statutes for fees collected by the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) and performance-based budgeting requirements. HB 2542 also creates the Dyslexia Task Force that will conduct a study of issues and report to the Kansas Legislature by January 30, 2019.
The Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 40-0.
(HB 2583): House Bill 2583 would create the Noxious Weed Act and repeal current Noxious Weed law. The Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 35-5. [I voted against this bill. It would expand the authority of non-elected officials & weaken the control of the legislators.]
(HB 2476): House Bill 2476 would amend the section of the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) related to the unlawful use of names derived from public records. The bill would create an additional exception to the general prohibition in KORA against selling, giving, or receiving any list of names and addresses from public records for sales purposes. The Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 39-1. [I voted for this bill.]
(S Sub for S Sub for HB 2386): Senate Substitute for Senate Substitute for House Bill 2386 would amend law related to licensure, certification, or registration qualifications for employment at adult care homes, hospitals, and home health agencies. S Sub for S Sub for HB 2386 would add all employees of the Kansas Commission on Veterans’ Affairs Office to the definition of “safety sensitive positions” found in law.
The Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 40-0.
(S Sub for HB 2600): Senate Substitute for House Bill 2600 would amend the Nuclear Energy Development and Radiation Control Act, provide for the study and investigation of maternal deaths by the Secretary of Health and Environment, and create the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council and the State Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program within the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).
The Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 27-12. [I voted against this bill. It had combined sev-
eral bills that would expand the role of unelected officials and the overall scope of government.]
(HB 2482): House Bill 2482 would amend law related to contracts between the State and persons or companies who are actively engaged in a boycott of Israel. The Conference Committee
Report was adopted by a vote of 36-1. [I voted for this bill.]
“It is hard to believe that the 2018 regular session is already behind us! With only eight days left until the 2018 session is complete, we still have a lot of work left to do.”
– Senator Richard Hilderbrand
Food for Thought
Thank you to everyone that took the time to respond to this. The new k-12 funding bill was signed by the Governor
today, 4/17/18, and we still have a lot of important issues to address. As we move forward with addressing these issues, I am looking forward to hearing from you.
You have a total of $1 to spend on the following state expenses. What percentage of that dollar would you spend on each item?
*Health and Environment
*Roads and Infrastructure
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.
We had the honor of recognizing members of the Pittsburg State University Army ROTC today in the Senate. Thank you, Pan Phyu, Eric Hollingsworth, Autumn Crist, Eathan Jewell, and Brandsson Miller for your service in the Kansas Army National Guard!