Senators spent a lot of time and energy this week on conference committees, wrapping up some final pieces of legislation to send to the Governor’s desk.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted on an income tax increase bill that ultimately failed to garner 21 votes for passage. I voted against this massive tax bill that would have taken over 1 billion dollars out of your incomes and out of our economy. The senate has now gone back to the drawing board and are looking for ways to craft a compromise tax bill that can pass both chambers to help balance the budget. I will keep you posted on the progress as this continues to move forward.
As you know, President Wagle appointed a Senate Select Committee on Education Finance early in this legislative session. The committee, chaired by Majority Leader Denning, has been working hand-in-hand with the House’s K-12 Education Budget Committee and the legislature’s outside legal counsel to produce a new school finance formula. The committees have made great strides forward this week, and we look forward to continuing that momentum into next week.
On Thursday, both the House and the Senate unanimously passed House Substitute for Senate Bill 40, a bill strengthening anti-human-trafficking laws in Kansas. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office teamed up with legislators to write this bill after identifying ways to best help combat human trafficking. This bill strengthens pre-existing laws and creates new laws, such as a mandatory human trafficking awareness course for truck drivers, so that they may easily identify and report signs of possible human trafficking. Further, this bill will “prohibit using communication devices to facilitate human trafficking or knowingly selling travel services connected with human trafficking. It would also create the crime of internet trading child pornography and increase penalties for sexual exploitation of a child,” as explained in a Topeka Capital-Journal news report. The bill is now waiting for Governor Brownback’s signature.
Thank you for all of 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 am proud to be your voice in the Kansas Senate. You can follow me on Facebook “Hilderbrand for Kansas” and on twitter #Hilderbrand4ks.
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORTS:
JUDICIAL SURCHARGE; COLLECTION OF COURT DEBTS (HB 2041): HB 2041 extends the sunset provision for judicial surcharges on several docket fees until June 30, 2019. Current law allows the judicial branch to impose an additional charge per docket fee to fund the costs of non-judicial personnel until June 30, 2017. The bill also would require the cost of collection of debts owed to courts or restitution be paid by the responsible party as an additional court cost in all cases where the party fails to pay any debts owed to courts or restitution and the court contracts with an agent to collect the debt or restitution. Currently under law, the cost of collection is paid by the defendant as an additional court cost only in criminal, traffic and juvenile offender cases. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Tuesday May 9, by a vote of 23-15
EMPLOYMENT SECURITY LAW (HB 2054): HB 2054 modifies provisions in the Employment Security Law regarding access to information, law related to the Kansas Sentencing Commission, law related to law enforcement and law regarding fee funds. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Tuesday May 9, by a vote of 36-2
HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND NEW CRIMES (House Sub SB 40): H Sub SB 40 amends the law concerning human trafficking, including the creation of new crimes and amendments to existing crimes and other related provisions. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday May 11, by a vote of 40-0
AG, SCRAP METAL, AND OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL (SB 149): SB 149 creates and alters law related to the Attorney General, the Scrap Metal Theft Reduction Act and the Office of the Inspector General within the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday May 11, by a vote of 40-0
- Sub. for SB 101 – Adds sexual assault to the list of crimes which allow the issuance of Protective Order, amends the notification of sexual assault examination law and allows for victims of crime to receive compensation for mental health counseling.
SB 205 – Establishes rules for calculating service credit for KPERS employees and provides an increase in death benefits to be paid to the surviving spouses of firefighters who die in the line of duty.
HB 2096 – Amends restrictions on operation of transit buses in Wyandotte County and designates a portion of US-75 as the Eldon K. Miller Memorial Highway.
HB 2098 – Names the Mined Land Wildlife Area bison herd the “Bob Grant Bison Herd.”
HB 2353 – Clarifies definitions related to the State Use Law program.
HB 2356 – Revises various definitions related to the state’s bidding process.
The Governor has now signed 68 bills into law this session and vetoed two. By law, the Kansas governor has 10 calendar days to sign the bill into law, veto the bill or allow the bill to become law without his or her signature.
Next week is the third week of Veto Session. We will continue working on our three big-ticket items: taxes, budget and school finance. I hope you’ll reach out with any comments, questions or concerns regarding these issues or others. 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 as we work to wrap this legislative session up.