State senator Richard Hilderbrand 13th district
communications from the state capitol
March 9, 2018 ∙ Week Nine
Quote of the Week:
“The Constitution shall never be construed…to prevent the people of the United States
Who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
– Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, 86-87
- Between July 2016 and July 2017 Kansas experienced a 34% decrease in the total juvenile out-of-home population, including reductions in placements in detention facilities, group homes, and secure state-run juvenile correctional facilities. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/analysis/2018/02/26/kansas-reforms-improve-juvenile-justice
- Mediware Health Care based in Lenexa will be moving to a new location in Johnson County and is expected to grow the local workforce by 368 jobs within the next 10 years. http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/article203551744.html
- Corporate tax receipts are $9.66 million below expectations for this fiscal year, but are $14.92 million over this time last year. https://www.ksrevenue.org/cms/content/03-01-2018-Fiscalreceipts.pdf
- Jobs Spiked 313,000 in February. The Trump Economy continues to boom, adding 313,000 jobs in February, easily beating expectations. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/09/nonfarm-payrolls-february.html
- Midwest Business Conditions Index Rose in February. A business conditions index for nine Midwestern and Plains states rose over the past month, pointing to continued improvement in regional economic conditions, according to a report issued last week. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota. https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/midwest/2018/03/02/482258.html
- The 2018 National Right to Life Convention is being held in Kansas. The National Right to Life convention is being held in Overland Park, Kansas from June 28-30. For more information, visit http://nrlconvention.com/.
Many of us have “learn a new language” on our to-do list. With Mango Languages, you can learn over 70 languages right from your own computer (or smartphone!). This online language learning service provided by the State Library is easy to use. Choose from 72 languages including Spanish, French, Mandarin, Japanese, plus many more. 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). https://kslib.info/Mango
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 inside Kansas and will not need this step. Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-296-3296. To see all the State Library’s online resources, visit http://kslib.info/eor
It was nice to have a chance to discuss issues in the Capitol, with faculty and students from the Pittsburg State University Social Work Program, this week.
MICROBREWERY CONTRACTING (HB 2470): House Bill 2470 allows Kansas microbreweries to contract with other microbreweries to sell and package beer and hard cider. The legislation regulates the amount of beer and hard cider that can be transported between facilities. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.
CEREAL MALT BEVERAGE SALE REGULATIONS (HB 2502): House Bill 2502 allows cereal malt beverage (no more than 6.0 percent alcohol volume) licenses to be subject to state and local taxes instead of the state liquor tax. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.
CONVENTION OF STATES (SCR 1611): Senate Concurrent Resolution 1611 makes the application to the Congress of the United States to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose limits on the federal government. This bill failed 22-16 (The resolution needed 27 votes or two-thirds in favor to pass). I voted against this bill, for the following reasons;
- Why do we need another resolution calling for a convention of states, when in 1978 the state passed SCR 1661, and in 1995 the state passed HCR 5008, both calling for a convention?
- We have not clearly defined how we will be picking our delegates to represent our state. We must have a defined process that will ensure that the voice of our citizens is properly represented. (We can’t wait until a convention is called and then do a continuing resolution to address this, like the sponsors of this resolution suggest. To do that would be akin to Nancy Pelosi saying we needed to pass Obama Care so we would know what’s in it.)
- We have not clearly defined the rules of which our delegates will follow, to ensure that the size and scope of a convention will not produce any “clarifying clauses” on any existing amendments. (The organization that is sponsoring this resolution admitted recently that they had a focus group that was working on a “clarifying clause” for the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment is already clear enough: “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed upon.” If they have admitted to working on this “clarifying clause” what other amendments are they working on?)
- We have not clearly defined the rules for which the amendments coming out of a convention will be ratified. (Before the convention of 1787, 13 of 13 states were needed to ratify any amendments to The Articles of Confederation. The result of that convention was the new Constitution of the United States that only needed 9 of 13 states to ratify. How did that happen, and why?)
- If we say that we truly understand that the will of the people includes term limits for public office. Why are we are going to pass a resolution demanding term limits for the US Congress, while we ourselves won’t pass term limits on ourselves.
- If we truly believe that the will of the people is for the US Congress to have a balanced budget, why do we ourselves balance our budget only by passing record retroactive $1.2 billion tax increases, increasing our own indebtedness, continuing to sweep funds from KDOT, delaying more KPERS payments, and other budget maneuvers to balance ours.
- If we truly believe that the will of the people is to pass a resolution to impose restrictions on the power and jurisdiction of our US Congress. Shouldn’t we ourselves work on cutting and eliminating our nearly 10,000 active state regulations.
- We understand the anger and frustration of our citizens when it comes to our elected officials. We understand that they demand change, and they demand it now. We as state legislators just don’t understand that this frustration, anger and need for change includes us as well.
I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to address these concerns. With the state of Kansas already having two active resolutions calling for a convention, we cannot delay in addressing these concerns. The time to correct these issues is now, not after a convention has been called.
SENATOR DOLL’S PARTY AFFILIATION CHANGE:
This week Senator John Doll (I- Garden City) changed his party affiliation from republican to independent. Senator Doll changed his party affiliation to join Greg Orman’s independent ticket for governor.
In 2006, Doll ran as a democrat for US Congress against Jerry Moran in District 1. From 2010-2011 Doll served as the mayor of Garden City and then served in the Kansas House of Representatives as a republican from 2013 to 2016. Doll has been in the Kansas Senate since 2016.
Due to Sen. Doll’s affiliation change and in accordance to Senate Rule 22, the following Senators have replaced Sen. Doll in his committees:
- Education Committee: Senator Larry Alley – Vice Chair
Senator Bruce Givens
- Ethics, Elections, & Local Government Committee: Senator Susan Wagle
- Transportation Committee: Senator Dan Goddard – Vice Chair
Senator Ty Masterson
- Ways & Means Committee: Senator Susan Wagle
Presenting the Fort Scott USD 234 Debate Team with a Senate Resolution congratulating and commending the members of the Fort Scott High School debate team for their performance in the class 4A state debate tournament.
Senators Hilderbrand and Tyson introduced the following Senate resolution, which
SENATE RESOLUTION No. 1773―
congratulating and commending the members of the Fort Scott High
School debate team for their performance in the class 4A state debate tournament.
WHEREAS, The Fort Scott High School debate team traveled to Coffeyville,
Kansas, for the 4A State Debate Tournament on January 12 and 13; and
WHEREAS, The team was represented in the four-speaker division by the regional
championship team of Darby Toth, Rebekah Sweyko, Joe Adams and Isabella Provence,
with alternates Kaden Kiwan and Ashtyn Dowell. The team took fourth place to KC
Piper, Bishop Miege and Louisburg by one win; and
WHEREAS, In the two-speaker division, the team took four pairs, the maximum
number allowed for a school. In order to qualify, the teams earned a win-loss record of
50% or better over four tournaments above the novice level. Fort Scott was represented
by the teams of Madison Toth and Mark Adams; Zoe Self and Elizabeth Ngatia;
Brooklyn Lyons and Dalton Womeldorff; and Tayton Majors and Sara Al-Shawish; and
WHEREAS, Sixty teams participated in the tournament and all four Fort Scott teams
broke to double octofinals. In the double octofinal round, Madison Toth and Mark
Adams lost to Nickerson, while Brooklyn Lyons and Dalton Womeldorff lost to
Louisburg. Tayton Majors and Sara Al-Shawish made it to the quarterfinals and ended
up fourth after losing to Topeka Hayden. The team of Zoe Self, a first-year debater, and
Elizabeth Ngatia, a second-year debater, lost in the finals to Wichita Collegiate and
brought home the second-place trophy; and
WHEREAS, The Fort Scott High School debate team has been state champion or
state runner-up in four of the last five years and is coached by Amber Toth, with
assistant coaches Travis Toth and Sarah Bahr: Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Kansas:
That we congratulate and
commend the Fort Scott High School debate team and their coaches for their
outstanding performance in the class 4A state debate tournament; and
Be it further resolved:
That the Secretary of the Senate shall send enrolled copies of
this resolution to Senators Hilderbrand and Tyson, and 18 enrolled copies to Amber
On emergency motion of
was adopted unanimously.
The senate honored the students with a standing ovation.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR CERTAIN STATEWIDE OFFICE:
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government held a hearing on HB 2539 which deals with qualifications for candidates seeking certain statewide office. The bill would list a minimum age requirement to run for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, and insurance commissioner.
Currently, there is not a minimum age requirement therefore any current resident of Kansas is eligible to run. There were two proponents of the bill at Wednesday’s hearing, the Kansas Secretary of State’s office and Kansas House Representative Blake Carpenter. Both noted that a “qualified elector” should be at least 18 years of age.
Wichita Eagle Exposes Web of Special Carve-Outs in Kansas Tax Law
On February 26th, the Wichita Eagle published an article by Jonathan Shorman (http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article202129814.html) discussing the multitude of tax exemptions that are provided in Kansas law. As the article reveals:
“All told, Kansas grants more than $6 billion in credits and exemptions each year, according to a report last fall (http://www.kslpa.org/assets/files/reports/r-17-015.pdf) from state auditors. The vast majority — about $5.9 billion — comes from sales tax exemptions.
Just over 80 percent of what the state gives away in sales tax exemptions is required by the federal government or needed to avoid double taxation, auditors said in a 2010 review. For example, Kansas has a sales tax exemption for food stamps based on federal law.
That means the state directly controls about $1.2 billion a year in exemptions and credits.”
In the past, conservatives in the Kansas Legislature have attempted to reform the process for granting exemptions and/or repeal some with the goal of reducing overall rates for all Kansans. As Rep. John Whitmer said in the article:
“If we had had that kind of revenue coming in, would they have had to do a $1.2 billion retroactive tax increase? Would we be fighting the courts? My take: Yes, because we would have spent all that money anyway. But I’m sure it would be a different picture.”
NFIB: Small Businesses Can’t Afford Higher Property Taxes
As we know anecdotally, small businesses rank property taxes among the most despised taxes because they pay the tax whether they are producing income or not. Indeed, our research backs up this claim. In NFIB’s most recent Small Business Problems and Priorities (http://www.nfib.com/assets/NFIB-Problems-and-Priorities-2016.pdf), a publication with extensive research on the problems facing small businesses, property taxes were the 8th most concerning issue, which was just ahead of state income tax rates at 9th.
HOUSE COMMITTEE DEBATES BILL TO HIKE PROPERTY TAXES
House Tax Committee held a hearing this week on a bill that, if passed, could nearly double the statewide mill levy from the current 20.0 mills to 38.43 mills in 2021. This would mean an increase in property taxes collected nearly two-fold.
Details of HB 2740:
Estimated property tax revenues from the current 20.00 mill levy for FY 2019 are $670.3 million.
The Kansas Department of Revenue estimates HB 2740 would increase revenues from the mill levy by a total of $234.9 million in FY 2019, $445.4 million in FY 2020 and $640.5 million in FY 2021.
HOUSE LEADERSHIP RELEASES KANSAS SAFE AND SECURE SCHOOLS ACT
HB 2773, the Kansas Safe and Secure Schools Act, was introduced in the House this week. The act creates the school safety and security grant fund, requires the State Board of Education to develop statewide requirements for public school buildings and requires public school districts to adopt a comprehensive school safety plan, based on the SBOE requirements. The act also allows school districts to provide firearm safety programs and adds an additional 2 FTE to the Department of Education for the management of the Safe and Secure Schools Act.
Details of HB 2773
- Creates the School Safety and Security Grand Fund, which the State Board of Education will administer.
- Allows for $5.0 million to be used for infrastructure improvements and training.
- State Board of Education will develop statewide requirements for public school buildings, which shall include, but are not limited to; building infrastructure, technology and communication systems.
- School district will be required to adopt a comprehensive school safety plan based on the SBOE requirements, which should include:
- Staff training
- Emergency drills
- Communication procedures
- Lockdown procedures
- Evacuation procedures
- Evaluation of building infrastructure
- Review of existing emergency procedures
- Recovery procedures and distribution of safety plan
- HB 2773 authorizes school districts to provide firearm safety education programs, such as the Eddie Eagle program or any other evidence-based program.
- HB 2773 also adds 2 FTE to the Department of Education to manage the School Safety and Security Act, with a cost of $300,000 annually.
- Hearing on: SCR 1612, urging the state corporation commission to lower retail electric rates to regionally competitive levels – [Senate Commerce Committee, March 12 at 8:30 am]
- Hearing on: HB 2441, audits of state agencies; financial-compliance audits; Kansas lottery security audit; selection of auditors, contracts with – [Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, March 12 at 10:30 am]
- Hearing and staff briefing on (written testimony only): HB 2579, providing compensation for a person who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned – [Senate Judiciary Committee, March 12 at 10:30 am]
- Hearing and staff briefing on (written testimony only): HB 2571, regulating access to certain law enforcement audio and video recordings – [Senate Judiciary Committee, March 12 at 10:30 am]
- Discussion on: Higher education budget – [Senate Ways and Means Committee, March 12 at 10:30 am]
- Hearing on: SB 423, amending the Kansas school equity and enhancement act by eliminating the 10% at-risk floor and expanded uses of capital outlay – [Senate Select Committee on Education Finance, March 12 at 3:30 pm]
- Hearing on: HB 2691, modifying notification requirements for the division of water resources regarding multi-year flex accounts and water right applications — [Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, March 13 at 8:30am]
- Hearing on: Sub HB 2040, increasing the penalties for subsequent violations of traffic regulations prohibiting improper passing of school buses — [Senate Transportation Committee, March 13 at 8:30]
- Pending referral, hearing on: SB 437, concerning sales and compensating use tax; relating to exemptions, sales of currency, certain coins or bullion — [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee, March 13 at 9:30]
- Hearing on: (proponents) HB 2506, rehabilitation of abandoned property by cities — [Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee, March 13 at 9:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2639, allowing KDHE to collect a fee for fingerprinting individuals maintain or residing, working or regularly volunteering at a child care facility — [Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, March 13 at 9:30am]
- Hearing on: SB 436, providing Medicaid coverage for cessation treatments — [Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, March 13 at 9:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2581, increasing criminal penalties for the crime of giving a false alarm in certain circumstance — [Senate Judiciary Committee, March 13 at 10:30am]
- Hearing on: Sub HB 2359, enacting the Kansas cybersecurity act for executive branch agencies — [Senate Ways and Means Committee, March 13 at 10:30am]
- Hearing on: SB 362, exempting labor from depreciation in certain property and casualty insurance claims — [Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, March 14 at 9:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2465, designating Kansas commission on veteran’s affairs office employees as safety sensate positions subject to drug screening — [Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, March 14 at 10:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2459, amending the Kansas standard asset seizure and forfeiture act and establishing the Kansas asset seizure and forfeiture repository — [Senate Judiciary Committee, March 14 at 10:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2419, state finances; transfers to and expenditures from the budget stabilization fund; transfers to the Kansas public employees retirement fund — [Senate Ways and Means Committee, March 14 at 10:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2602, creating the legislative task force on dyslexia — [Senate Education Committee, March 14 at 1:30pm]
- Hearing on: Sub HB 2147, providing an income tax refund for certain Native American veterans — [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee, March 15 at 9:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2505, cities; when mayor is considered part of the governing body for voting purposes — [Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee, March 15 at 9:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2597, Sedgwick county designated an urban area — [Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee, March 15 at 9:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2481, updating the Kansas adoption and relinquishment act — [Senate Judiciary Committee, March 15 at 10:30am]
- Hearing on: SB 424, establishing the office of education inspector general — [Senate Education Committee, March 15 at 1:30pm]
- Hearing on: SB 435, permitting real estate brokers and salespersons to give clients or customers rebates if disclosed in the purchase contract or listing agreement — [Senate Commerce Committee, March 16 at 8:30am]
- Hearing on: HB 2524, allowing petitions for a protection from abuse order to include a request for transfer of rights to a wireless telephone number —[Senate Utilities Committee, March 16 at 1:30pm]
- Presentation on: Joint Senate Select Committee on Education Finance & House K-12 Education Budget Committee — [Senate Select Committee on Education and Finance, March 16 at 1pm]
Below are links to make it easy for constituents to follow the Kansas Legislature:
Website – www.kslegislature.org. It is great for looking up bills, calendars, journals, as well as, the roster in each Chamber.
YouTube of Legislature – http://bit.ly/2CZj9O0 Did you know the legislature is now streaming its proceedings? The YouTube page has an archive of the sessions thus far – including the State of the State and the State of the Judiciary.
Committee Streaming – http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00287/Harmony/en/View/Calendar/ The Kansas Legislature is also streaming committees, with every committee room equipped with audio streaming technology.
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.