Senator Hilderbrand’s Weekly Newsletter

March 20, 2020 ∙ Week Ten
On March 18, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. the Senate was able to have a briefing on the Covid-19 virus from KDHE Secretary, Lee Norman and Adjutant General, Lee Taffanelli. I have held off on posting anything on this virus until now, because I wanted to make sure that I had all of the facts, and understood those facts enough to be able to relay them appropriately.
Please know that there isn’t a reason to panic over this situation. You do not need to stock up on 25 cases of toilet paper. But you do need to take this serious, and take the necessary precautions. Here are some things that you do need to do:
1. You need to make sure that you have enough provisions in your home to last you for at least 2-3 weeks. Please don’t hoard supplies. If you have enough to last you 2-3 weeks, allow others that are needing these supplies to be able to purchase them. Please consider the elderly and others that cannot travel from store to store, or town to town to get the supplies that they need.
2. You need to wash your hands frequently, especially right after coming into contact with anything. Keep your hands away from your face as much as possible.
3. You need to be really careful about being around other individuals, especially in large groups. Allow others and yourself some personal space.
4. You need to take every precaution with: The elderly, those whom have had their immune system compromised, and those whom are auto immune deficient. These groups are very susceptible to catching this and any other virus.
There are certain variations of the Coronavirus that have been around for a very long time. This particular strain is new, it is a novel virus(a virus not seen before). There are no treatments to cure it, or vaccines to stop it. While it is true that the mass majority of those infected with the Covid-19 virus will survive, it is also true that even if the percentage of casualties is 3%, the more people that contract the virus, the more casualties there will be.
The goal is to contain the virus, and to stop it from spreading long enough to give researchers time to develop vaccines, and treatments to cure this virus. There is also a large concern that if people do not take the appropriate precautions that due to the limited number of beds, staff, and supplies like ventilators the medical system can easily become overrun.
You can get up to date information on the COVID-19 virus in Kansas, by clicking on this link:
According to the KDHE website, Coronavirus is almost always associated with a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, fatigue can slowly progress to extreme exhaustion and a cough is also common. It differs from the influenza and the common cold because it rarely includes a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing or sore throat.
The following chart is a good summary in order to understand why health officials are more concerned about the COVID-19 than seasonal influenza. Although experts agree data on the new virus is limited, concerns come from a variety of differences which, combined, may put people at greater risk independent of mortality rates. One person infected with influenza seems to transmit the virus to fewer people than COVID-19 (see detailed transmission estimates). COVID-19 has a longer incubation period before individuals become symptomatic and more hospitalizations could strain our health care systems, thus limiting proper care.
Governor Laura Kelly issued five executive orders this week in response to the threat posed by COVID-19. Although the Governor publicly made the emergency declaration last Thursday, March 12th, the Executive Order wasn’t signed and filed with the Secretary of State’s office until March 16, 2020. Declaring a state of emergency makes it easier for the state to mobilize its resources, provide aid to local communities and contract for services. The Governor’s executive orders continued throughout the week and Kansas ultimately became the first state in the nation to close all K-12 schools for the remainder of the school year. The overriding theme of floor debate quickly became focused on the potential for the governor’s authoritative overreach. Here is a brief description of each executive order along with a link to the official documents with specific information including timelines.
  1. Executive Order 20-03 declares a State of Disaster Emergency.
  2. Executive Order 20-04 intends to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by prohibiting mass gatherings, defines the term “mass gatherings” to 50 people or more and lists exclusions.
  3. Executive Order 20-05 directs and orders specified Kansas utility and internet providers to not disconnect services for non-payment and lists the types of services included.
  4. Executive Order 20-06 directs and orders all financial institutions to suspend initiating any mortgage foreclosures, evictions or judicial proceedings.
  5. Executive Order 20-07 closes all K-12 public and private schools until May 29, 2020, lists exceptions and details suggestions for continuing meal programs, childcare and online learning opportunities.
With so many school children at home, here are some resources for children and adults, that are offered through the State Library.
World Almanac for Kids ( is an intermediate level resource that erases the line between learning and fun. Information is grouped by topics, videos, and games. The games section is separated into categories such as Social Studies, Geography, Health, Sciences, and Math. It also includes videos, science projects, and maps.
World Almanac for Kids Elementary ( is a fun resource for early elementary level students. The colorful, kid-friendly format also has topics, videos, the Letter of the Day, plus a games sections in 7 categories.
Both online resources of age appropriate material are made available by the State Library of Kansas.
BookFlix is an online resource from the State Library of Kansas for children in grades PreK-3 that pairs video storybooks with related nonfiction e-books. Imagine Curious George paired with a nonfiction book about monkeys. After reading the fiction, nonfiction pair, young learners can test their new knowledge with the Puzzler. Puzzlers are more than just activities. They help build critical comprehension, vocabulary, and other important early literacy skills. BookFlix requires Flash and is available at no charge through the State Library’s web site
As of March 18th, Tumbleweed Press has graciously provided the state of Kansas with access to Tumbleweed ebooks through August 31, 2000. This online resource of age appropriate material is provided by the State Library of Kansas.
·      TumbleBook Library, K-6, includes story books, read alongs, videos, puzzles and games.
·      TumbleMath, K-6. One of the most effective ways to teach math concepts is through stories. This format combines animation, narration, and sound to create stories along with educational games and quizzes.
Access at the State Library’s web page for digital books Scroll down to Tumblebooks. These will be available through August 31, 2020.
For older students and adults
Universal Class is an online resource provided by the State Library of Kansas. Universal Class offers over 500 lifelong learning courses in more than 30 areas of study at no charge. Join a full course with instructors and readings or just watch the lecture videos to brush up on a topic. Some classes will supply a CE Certificate upon completion of the course. The wide range of courses offers something for everyone: from accounting to yoga, babysitting to parenting, cake decorating to computer training. Easy registration and self-supplied password is necessary to use this resource and allows you to resume your work.
With MangoLanguages you can learn a new language right from your own computer or smartphone. This online language learning service provided by the State Library of Kansas is easy to use. Choose from 71 languages such as Spanish, French, Mandarin- even Swahili. Mango uses real life situations and conversations to more effectively teach a new language. Mango also includes 19 English as a second language options. Use as a Guest or register to track your progress (and for smartphone use).
The Senate adopted a resolution, SCR 1615, defining the timeline of the remainder of the 2020 Legislative Session. The Senate plans to remain in recess from Thursday, March 19 until Monday, April 27. Originally, the Senate only planned to break between April 3-27. Under this new resolution, May 1st is the new deadline for non-exempt bills to be passed. May 21 is the last day of session, otherwise known as “sinedie.” For the sake of adaptability, the resolution authorizes the Legislative Coordinating Council, made up of leadership from both the House and Senate, to call the legislature back into session early or push back the return date with approval five of the seven LCC members.
After a full day of debate on the Senate floor and three amendments by the Committee of the Whole, the Senate has moved to fund the state for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, to the tune of almost $8 billion dollars per year worth of State General Fund expenditures. The original bill, worked by the Committee on Ways and Means, appropriated a total of $18.5 billion (including both state and federal funds) to the various state agencies for FY 2020, including $7.8 billion from the State General Fund.
SB 368includes a recommendation to increase total all-fund spending in FY 2020 by $118.2 million yet decreases transfers from the SGF by $34 million when compared to the previous year’s budget.
During floor debate, amendments that were adopted by the body were offered by Senators Molly Baumgardner (R–Louisburg) and Caryn Tyson (R–Parker).Senator Baumgardner’s amendment is related to interest rates on bonds issued by a municipality or taxing subdivision of the state of Kansas. The first of Senator Tyson’s amendments requires budget estimates to be produced on a biennial basis, beginning with fiscal year 2022, and the second amendment relates to the scrap metal theft reduction fee fund.
This budget bill spends $350 million more than what we are currently projected to collect in taxes. With the current Coronavirus situation, tax collections will take a significant drop and will make our overspending even more. It sweeps $158.7 million from the “Bank of KDOT”. It uses $132.2 million in PMIB bridge funding. It will be the second year in a row that the state has not met it’s statutorily required 7.5% ending balance. It also funds Medicaid Expansion.
Senator Pyle offered an amendment that would have; Removed the medicaid expansion funding. Froze spending at last years budget levels with the exception of the school funding increases. This would have saved the state $200 million for FY 2021. This amendment failed by a vote of 14 – 25. This is how each senator voted on this amendment:
Yea – (14):
Alley, Baumgardner, Estes, Hilderbrand, Lynn, Masterson, Olson, Petersen, Pyle, Rucker, Suellentrop, Thompson, Tyson, Wilborn,
Nay – (25):
Berger, Billinger, Bollier, Bowers, Braun, Denning, Doll, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Givens, Goddard, Haley, Hardy, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Kerschen, Longbine, McGinn, Miller, Pettey, Skubal, Sykes, Taylor, Ware,
Present and Passing – (0):
Absent and Not Voting – (1):
Not Voting – (0):
The Committee of the Whole voted to pass the budget bill just after 6 p.m. by a vote of 27-11. Senators voting nay included Alley, Baumgardner, Hilderbrand, Kerschen, Masterson, Olson, Pyle, Rucker, Suellentrop, Thompson and Tyson.
After being worked by a conference committee comprised of Senators Carolyn McGinn, Rick Billinger, and Tom Hawk and Representatives Troy Waymaster, Kyle Hoffman and Kathy Wolfe Moore, the budget was placed into SB 66. From there, several rounds of negotiations took place, with House and Senate members negotiating to work toward agreements on the bill’s nearly 200 sections.
A conference committee report was agreed to during the evening hours Wednesday, and both chambers adopted the report Thursday.
The profile for the budget that was passed is listed below.
The 10-year “FORWARD” plan for the state’s transportation infrastructure, proposed by Governor Laura Kelly then amended several times by the Committee on Ways and Means, was heard by the full Senate this week. On Monday the body debated the bill for a short time before ultimately voting to pass the nearly $10 billion dollar bill by a vote of 37-2. Senators Dennis Pyle (R–Hiawatha) and Mike Thompson (R–Shawnee) voted nay.
SB 375 was then sent to a conference committee where Senators Carolyn McGinn, Rick Billinger and Tom Hawk, as well as Representatives Troy Waymaster, Richard Proehl, and Kathy Wolfe Moore worked to create a compromise agreement that would be supported by both chambers.
After several rounds of deliberation and negotiation by the conference committee, the state’s 10-year transportation plan was rebranded from FORWARD, to The Eisenhower Legacy Plan, after Kansas native and 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The legislation is now contained in SB 173.
The revised plan includes a mandate that all stalled T-Works projects must be completed before any new construction can begin in T-Works project districts, as well as a requirement for projects to be reviewed every two years instead of every ten years under the state’s previous transportation plan. The total cost over the life of the Eisenhower Legacy Plan remains at about $10 billion over a decade, and still includes language that would allow the Department of Transportation to fund certain highway projects using dollars collected from turnpike tolls.
Additionally, there is still funding for broadband infrastructure grants and improvements to the state’s short line railroad system.
The Eisenhower Legacy plan is now being sent to Governor Laura Kelly for her signature.
March 16, 2020
The following bills received unanimous support and were passed Yea: 39 Nay: 0
SB 454 Creating exemptions in the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) for election security records and cyber security records. Current law does not require an agency to disclose records of emergency or security information or procedures of a public agency if disclosure would jeopardize security of the public agency, building, or facility. The bill would not require a public agency to disclose records of emergency or security information or procedures if disclosure would jeopardize public safety, including records of or procedures related to cybersecurity plans, cybersecurity assessments, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities
SB 491 Expanding definition of “infectious disease” to include diseases designated as infectious or contagious in nature by the Secretary of Health and Environment through rules and regulations. Under current law, the court has the authority to order infectious disease testing solely for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B when it appears the transmission of body fluids from one person to another may have been involved given the nature of the crime or arrest. The bill would delete language defining infectious disease to include only HIV and hepatitis B, as it pertains to infectious disease tests the court would be authorized to order.
SB 432 Clarifying the license terms and electronic submission of tax payments, reports and documentation for holders of a special-order shipping license.
The following bill received unanimous support and was passed Yea: 38 Nay: 0
SB 417 Authorizing the sale or service of alcoholic liquor by a class A club for consumption on the licensed club premises by persons who are not members, their families, or guests during an event. Class A clubs include bona fide nonprofit social, fraternal, or war veterans’ organizations such as the American Legion.
The following bill was passed Yea: 37 Nay: 2
SB 375 Providing for the FORWARD transportation program. Although the Senate passed their statewide transportation plan 37-2, the plan differed from the House bill and was sent to a conference committee where negotiations could take place. Details were highlighted in the above sections. (I voted in favor of this bill.)
The following bill was passed Yea: 36 Nay: 3
SB 309 Placing the burden of proof on the county appraiser in certain valuation and classification appeal hearings before the district court. (I voted in favor of this bill.)
The following bill was passed Yea: 35 Nay: 2
SB 322 Making sales tax exemption permanent for certain cash rebates on sales or leases of new motor vehicles. (I voted in favor of this bill.)
The following bill was passed Yea: 35 Nay: 4
SB 474 Permits student athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image, likeness rights or athletic reputation when 15 other states adopt similar legislation.
The practice goes against current NCAA rules, but about 30 states are addressing legislation to make it possible. Examples include student-athletes being paid to autograph memorabilia, accepting gifts or meals, or even signing outright endorsement deals similar to the deals made by professional athletes.
As amended the bill would allow but not force any accredited non-profit institution to participate in the practice. The amendment aims to save smaller schools money because they would not be obligated to hire lawyers or fill out paperwork to opt out of the bill. (I voted in favor of this bill.)
The following bill was passed Yea: 31 Nay: 8
SB 406 Sedgwick county charter commission created to review and recommend changes regarding the structure of county government. (I voted no on this bill. This bill expands government.)
The following bill was passed Yea: 30 Nay: 9
SB 433 Allowing the director of alcoholic beverage control to suspend or revoke a license under the Kansas liquor control act or the club and drinking establishment act. (I voted no on this bill. This expands the role of the Director of ABC, and gives them more unregulated authority.)
The following bill was passed Yea: 29 Nay: 5
S Sub HB 2054 Updating field of membership requirements of credit unions and allowing privilege tax deductions on certain business and single-family residence loans. (I voted in favor of this bill.)
March 17, 2020
The following bills received unanimous support and were passed Yea: 39 Nay: 0
HB 2510 Special districts may be dissolved, and responsibilities assumed by a city.
HB 2702 Decoupling the KIT and KIR workforce training programs from the high-performance incentive fund program and enhancing the workforce training tax credit.
The following bill was passed Yea: 36 Nay: 3
HB 2595 Eliminating the 30-day delay before offering state surplus property for sale to the general public. (I voted in favor of this bill.)
The following bill was passed Yea: 31 Nay: 8
SB 346 Authorizing the insurance department to retain the proceeds of the sale of insurance department surplus real estate and any improvements thereon in the insurance department service regulation fund. (I voted no on this bill. This bill diverts the proceeds of the sale of the Insurance Commissioners building from going into KPERS, a allows it to go directly to the Insurance Commissioners.)
The following bill was passed Yea: 30 Nay: 7
SB 423 Establishing the Sedgwick county urban area nuisance abatement act. (I voted no on this bill. This bill expands government.)
The following bill was passed Yea: 27 Nay: 11
Sub SB 386 Appropriations for FY 2020, 2021 and 2022 for various state agencies. Although the Senate passed their state budget 27-11, the appropriations differed from the House bill and was sent to a conference committee where negotiations could take place. Details are highlighted in a separate section above. (I voted no on this bill. This was the compromised budget bill between the House and Senate. This budget was fiscally irresponsible, and it will cause very troubling financial problems for our state. This bill actually spends more money than the Senate’s budget bill that passed on a vote of 27-11 just a couple of days ago. This bill spends $1.2 billion more in total spending from FY 2020 to FY 2021. It spends $1 billion more in SGF spending from FY 2019 to FY 2021. The consensus revenue estimates that were used for this budget were from November of 2019, and by approving SB 66, over $.5 billion more than that estimated revenue will be spent. As a result of the Coronavirus situation, we will definitely see the actual revenues come in a lot less than what they were projected to be in November. All of this will leave the state in a dire financial situation, and faced with making some very tough decisions. It isn’t a matter of if they will slash budgets, it is a matter of how much the budget will be slashed. It isn’t a matter of if they will rob from Peter to pay Paul, it is a matter of how much they rob from the “Bank of KDOT”, KPERS, and other funds to try and balance this budget. It isn’t a matter of if they will try to raise your taxes, it is a matter of how much they will try to raise your taxes. In a time of financial uncertainty and the inevitable loss of income, we don’t increase our household budgets, we watch our spending, we bunker down and ride out the storm. The state needs to stop it’s massive spending addiction and start approaching the budget like we do in our households.)
March 18, 2020
The following appointment received unanimous support and was confirmed Yea: 39 Nay: 0
The Senate considered the appointment of Justin Nichols, to serve as a member of the State Banking Board. Nichols practices law with focuses in the banking and real estate industries.
The following resolution was passed Yea: 37 Nay: 2
HCR 5025 Ratifying and providing the continuation of the March 12, 2020, state of disaster emergency declaration for the state of Kansas passed 37-2 with an amendment from Senator Tyson and ultimately ended up passing through the conference committee where details are highlighted in the a section earlier in this report. (I voted in favor of this bill)
March 19, 2020
The following conference committee report received unanimous support and was adopted Yea: 39 Nay: 0
HCR 5025 The Senate considered and approved the conference committee changes to HCR 5025. Ratifying and providing the continuation of the March 12, 2020, state of disaster emergency declaration for the state of Kansas, which is detailed in an earlier section of this report.
The following conference committee report was adopted Yea: 37 Nay: 2
SB 173 The Senate considered and approved the conference committee changes to SB 173 – the Eisenhower legacy transportation plan. The bill was renamed to honor the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who first signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act in 1956 which led to the creation of interstates and highways across the country. This 10-year plan allows for the maintenance and improvement of our roads and highways in Kansas and its legislative progress is further detailed in an early section of this report. (I voted in favor of this bill.)
The following conference committee report was adopted Yea: 33 Nay: 6
HB 2168 contains the provisions of SB 225 and SB 409.
Senate Bill 225 would take advantage of available federal funds to supplement the existing Medicaid fee schedule reimbursing physicians and hospitals at above the existing Medicaid fee schedule. The Medicaid fee schedule pays physicians and hospitals about 80% of the Medicare rate and about 50% of the commercial insurance rate. This bill allows for about $221 million of federal funds to be brought in to supplement the low Medicaid fee schedule. It will help keep hospitals and physicians from cost shifting to the commercial payers as they will get better Medicaid rates. The bill was amended to prohibit the use of the State General Fund to supplement hospital provider rates. (I voted no on this bill. This bill raises the taxes on all nursing home beds, and hospital services that are provided.)
Governor Kelly signed three bills into law Thursday aimed at addressing the rapidly changing public health situation due to Coronavirus.
The Senate did something with these bills that should never happen in this state or in our country. We voted on three bills that were never worked in a senate committee, never worked on the senate floor, we never caucused on them, and never had an opportunity to read the bills.
I could not vote on bills that I wasn’t given an opportunity to read and knew nothing about. Because of this, I passed on voting for all three bills. This was your classic, “You have to pass it, to know what’s in it” situation.
These bills include SB 142,which authorizes school districts to receive full state funding despite not meeting legally required student attendance levels. Governor Laura Kelly ordered all schools be shuttered with the possibility of web-based schooling to be revisited later. It passed the House 117 to 2, the Senate 30 to 4.
The second bill signed Thursday was House Substitute for SB 102, which authorizes the chief justice of the Supreme Court to extend or suspend court dates for pending cases in order to allow some judicial personnel to remain home amidst the current public health situation. The measure was adopted by the House 113 to 5 and in the Senate 27 to 7.
The final bill signed Thursday was SB 27. While this bill originally included provisions aimed at relieving local economic hardship due to Spirit AeroSystem layoffs, the current public health situation prompted the legislature to extend the 16-week limit on receiving unemployment compensation to 26 weeks. This extension is set to sunset on April 1, 2021. SB 27 passed the House 119 to 0 and the Senate 31 to 3.
Due to the ongoing concerns over COVID-19 and the desire of the legislature to expedite the legislative process, committee work was quite brief and composed mostly of final action on bills previously heard.
As of Thursday, March 19, the Kansas Legislature is adjourned until April 27, 2020. This measure extends the regularly scheduled “spring break” that was slated to begin on April 4.
When the legislature returns, an extended veto session will begin, lasting from (at this time) April 27 to May 21. However, the Legislative Coordinating Council can vote to bring officials back at any time prior to April 27 with a simple majority vote.
Members of the LCC include Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman (Chair), Senate President Susan Wagle (Vice Chair), Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, Speaker Pro Tem of the House Blaine Finch, House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins and House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer.
NEW calendar dates are as follows:
April 27 – May 21: Veto Session
May 1: Deadline for 2nd house consideration (non-exempt bills)
May 8: Final day for bills to be considered
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.

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