March 6, 2020
It’s a good thing it happened… The U.S. Supreme Court has just reversed the Kansas State Supreme Court once again. This time it was because the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state could not prosecute illegal immigrants for identity theft using a stolen Social Security Number (SSN). In 2017, the Kansas Supreme Court had thrown out three state convictions of identity theft saying it is a federal issue; and not a state issue, because they are illegal immigrants. Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the ruling. The U.S. Court Opinion stated the Kansas Court’s, “interpretation is flatly contrary to standard English” and “…strange consequences would ensue.” The U.S. Opinion is posted at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/17-834_k53l.pdf
Legislation 101 Senate Bill (SB) 294, the bill we are following in these updates, that brings transparency to your property tax increases, sits in the House Tax Committee. I reached out to the Chair in hopes that the bill will be scheduled for a hearing. He does plan to have a hearing, but has not decided a date.
The Senate worked four bills on the floor.
SB 255 would provide $10 million in funding for the University of Kansas Cancer Center in hopes that they will obtain the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Clinical Cancer Center Designation, providing access to more research dollars and attracting researchers and cancer physicians. The bill passed unanimously.
SB 140 would establish an income tax credit for contributions made to the Eisenhower Foundation, used to support the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene. The bill passed unanimously.
SB 409 would increase the tax on nursing home beds in order to get more federal money. The problem with this bill is it raises taxes on all beds, including those who are paying themselves. Those who are on government assistance in a nursing home are not impacted because the government pays the tax increase. The bill passed 35 Yes to 5 No. I voted No.
SB 225 is similar to SB 409 in the manner that it increases hospital provider assessment rates in order to get more federal tax dollars. During the debate, it was stated that, “this would only impact Medicaid patients” but that was not correct. More debate exposed the tax would be on all patients and that the tax “will have an automatic insurance rate increase… The more government gets involved the more expensive things get.” The bill passed 31 Yes to 9 No. I voted no.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.