Category Archives: Kansas

Legislative Update by State Senator Caryn Tyson

Caryn Tyson

 

April 12, 2024

 

Property Tax Relief was passed by the Senate in Conference Committee Report (CCR) 2096, but hit a brick wall in the House.  The provisions include:

  • Expand the property tax freeze for seniors and disabled veterans so more people qualify
  • Eliminate personal property taxes on items not used for business purposes, such as off-road ATVs, 15,000 lbs. trailers, motorized wheelchairs, bicycles, scooters, watercraft, and golfcarts
  • Veterans’ Valor property tax relief program providing for totally disabled and unemployable
  • Provide the current year and a four-year lookback on property valuation notices
  • Allow payment under protest and appealing valuation in the same year if new evidence is provided
  • Establish government competition property tax exemption
  • Clarify 1031 exchange, build-to-suit, or sale/leaseback are not used establishing fair-market value

Property tax provisions in CCR 2096 will help many, especially seniors in need and disabled veterans.  However, the House believed inaccurate information that there are two provisions for the rich and big businesses.  The government competition piece is to stop governments from running a business that directly competes with businesses.  It is a problem and this legislation is a shot across the bow to try to stop this practice.  It is narrowly crafted for day-cares, health clubs, and restaurants within a city or 5 mile radius, but will most likely be expanded to include hotels/motels at some point.  Topeka City Council bought and is running a hotel.  Taxpayer funded lobbyist, such as the Kansas County Commissioners and the League of Municipalities opposed the legislation, but they offer no solution.  The business has to be in existence before the government started a competing business.  The State Constitution exempts government from property taxes, so it makes sense to provide directly competing businesses the same benefit, until the government stops running or sells the business.  The other provision taxpayer lobbyists are against is  making it clear that the value of property should be considered, not the rent or income the property generates.  Would you want your income to be considered in the value of your home?  All of the provisions in the bill deal with property tax.  The House voted to send CCR 2096 back to conference committee.

Leadership may or may not allow the conference committee to meet again and if not, the CCR will be lost this year unless the House does a motion to reconsider the first day we return for veto session.  The House could pass the CCR and send it to the Governor, since it has passed the Senate 23 to 14.  I voted Yes.

I agree that each bill should pass on its own, but all of this legislation did not pass both chambers, so the only chance for it to pass this year is in a CCR.  The conference committee put legislation together in CCRs by topics – property tax, sales tax, administrative, pro-life, and such.  The only tax committee CCR that did not pass both chambers was CCR 2096.

I have worked diligently on provisions in this CCR, property tax relief for seniors, disabled veterans, and the personal property tax exemptions for all.  Let’s hope we don’t lose the CCR and that the House or the Governor doesn’t throw the “baby out with the bathwater”, and focus on all the good in this CCR.

Governor’s Veto Pen could break last year’s record number of 17.  There was also a record number of veto overrides last year.  Because the last day of session was early, there wasn’t a chance to override all of the vetoed legislation and that could happen this year, including CCR 2096 if the House were to pass it.  There was an attempt to override 14 of the 17 last year.  Eight of the overrides were successful.  There have been 6 vetoes this year: 2436, making it unlawful to force an abortion; 2446, making it unlawful to ban plastic bags; 2749, requiring reporting of each abortion; 2648, requiring impact statements of rules and regulations that have the force of law; 233, prohibiting sex changes of minors; and 434, exempting sugaring hair removal from cosmetology requirements.  It takes 2/3 majority in each chamber to override a veto.

 

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.

Caryn

Boys State of Kansas Offering College Credit, Scholarships for Attendees

 

 

April 15, 2024 — The American Legion Boys State of Kansas has announced a partnership with Kansas State University to offer attendees of the leadership program three hours of college credit at a significant discount. This year’s ALBSK will be held Sunday, June 2, through Saturday, June 8, on KSU’s campus in Manhattan. This will be the program’s 32nd consecutive session at KSU and 86th overall.

Kansas State is offering two sections of Introduction to Political Science (POLSC 110) specifically for Kansas Boys State attendees. Attending KBS will fulfill a portion of the course requirements with additional course work assigned by the instructor, Nate Birkhead, Ph.D., associate professor of political science. KBS attendees wishing to take advantage of this course will be enrolled as a KSU student, but they do not have to attend K-State as the credit hours will be transferable. The tuition for the course will be $366 (payable to K-State), a nearly 70 percent savings over the regular three-hour online tuition rate of $1,181.25. KBS attendees should contact their school guidance counselor to enroll in the course.

In addition, Kansas Boys State attendees also have the opportunity to earn two scholarships — the Samsung American Legion Scholarship, worth up to $10,000, and the Boys State of Kansas Director’s Scholarship, worth up to $1,500. For more information on the Samsung Scholarship, visit legion.org/scholarships/samsung; for more information on the KBS Director’s Scholarship, e-mail [email protected] or call (785) 550-6492.

 

The American Legion Boys State of Kansas program provides a relevant, interactive, problem-solving experience in leadership and teamwork that develops self-identity, promotes mutual respect and instills civic responsibility to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to community, state and nation. Boys State is a “learning by doing” political exercise that simulates elections, political parties and government at the state, county and local levels, providing opportunities to lead under pressure, showcasing character and working effectively within a team. It’s also an opportunity to gain pride and respect for government, and the price paid by members of the military to preserve democracy.

The ALBSK program is for individuals who will complete their junior or sophomore year of high school in the spring just prior to the start of each session. The cost to attend Kansas Boys State is $375; however, in many instances, sponsors pay the majority of the fees, with the delegate or the family paying $50. Those wishing to attend the 2024 session should visit ksbstate.org to apply. The deadline to apply for the 2024 program is Tuesday, April 30; applications are accepted after that date, but on a space-available basis. Potential sponsors, such as American Legion posts, civic organizations, businesses, clubs and interested individuals should visit ksbstate.org/sponsor-a-delegate. Questions? Contact the ALBSK at [email protected] or (785) 550-6492.

For information about the 2024 American Legion Auxiliary Sunflower Girls State, which will be held Sunday, June 2, through Friday, June 8, at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, visit ksgirlsstate.org.

— #KSBoysState —

 

The American Legion Boys State of Kansas is an interactive simulation that teaches high school seniors-to-be the value of democracy and civic duty. Participants form mock governments and campaign for positions at the city, county and state levels. After the elections, participants find out firsthand the difficult decisions made daily by those in government through a series of challenging simulations. Delegates, nominated to attend by their high school counselors and other influential people in their lives, are sponsored by American Legion posts and various civic organizations from across the state. All delegates demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities in student government, athletics and/or other activities.

The Boys State program was founded by Legionnaires Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card in Illinois in 1935, and was first held in Kansas two years later in Wichita. The Kansas program moved to the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1963 and remained there until 1991. The following year, it moved to its current location at Kansas State University in Manhattan. For more information about the American Legion Boys State of Kansas, visit ksbstate.org.

 

Kelly Perry: Kansas State Food Fellow Offers Free Workshop For Local Food Sellers

Kelly Perry. Sumbitted photo.

Kelly Perry answered a job ad from the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team posting in October, 2023 for a local food fellow position.

“I was so excited and quickly applied and in January was interviewed by Amanda Lindahl, Local Food System Program Coordinator with Kansas State, and Rachel Carpenter with HBCAT,” she said. ” I love food, small business, and local so this was right up my alley.  The duties were pretty vast for an 18-week program that is brand new across the state…and I landed this awesome opportunity!”
“As part of my job duties, I am required to hold an educational workshop,” she said. “I wanted to focus on food labeling at the farmers market. I know our local Fort Scott Farmers Market is growing like crazy, pun intended. I figured it would be a great topic for people to learn what the state requires at pop-up shops, festivals, bake sales, and farmers’ markets. I also wanted to cover the proper food licenses required by the state.”
“The main reason for this is that I receive about three calls, texts, or messages a week asking food-related questions from everyday people who own, run, or are thinking of starting a business full-time, part-time, or occasionally,” she said.
Kelly and her husband Thadeus Perry own Perry’s Pork Rinds and Country Store in Bronson.

“People know me and know I’m willing to help if I can,” she said. “Sometimes people get intimidated or scared of the inspectors or do not know who to contact to ask the questions so that leads them to me. I, for one, have had to attend countless seminars, online Zoom meetings, and hours of reading to learn about my family’s business Perry’s Pork Rinds, and our food laws and regulations.”

“I remember having the state Inspector show up at our front door needing to look over our home-based business back in 2018,” Perry said. “I remember the federal meat inspector showing up as well, due to the product we make being a meat product. I cried each time someone would flash their badge at the front door and I’d panic. After years of visits, and our yearly renewal inspections I came to realize food inspection, safety, and visits were not intimidating or anything to be scared of.”
“They had a job to do and if we were doing something wrong they would answer questions and tell us what to do to fix it and be in compliance,” she said. ” It’s in the state’s best interest to HAVE business in operation and to generate revenue. They want the businesses but they also have standards and regulations to help keep us all safe, both the consumer as well as the producer.”
“I figured a food license discussion would help so many who were just unsure, curious or didn’t know where to start,” she said.
The workshop is FREE to anyone from any part of the state, from 6-8 p.m. at the HBCAT offices, 104 N. National Avenue on Monday, April 15.
“We ask that you register so we can make sure to have enough handouts and packets created,” she said.
“We are so fortunate to have From the Land of Kansas’s very own Robyn Dolby attend and present a slide show and answer questions,” Perry said. “We will also have the K-State Local Food System Program Coordinator Amanda Lindahl coming to discuss the Local Food Fellow Program as well.”
Robin Dolby, From the Land of Kansas Marketing Coordinator, Kansas Dept. of Agriculture. Submitted photo.
Amanda Lindahl from her LinkedIn page.
“My goal with this Local Food Fellow position and HBCAT goal is to provide knowledge, access to resources, and networking,” she said. “We can then grow as producers, growers, suppliers, and a community! HBCAT always has the saying  Stronger Together and it is just that simple.”
 A description for the position she accepted is
– Update the Bourbon County Wholesale Food Directory
– Create a storytelling campaign on food-related business.
– Organize an Educational Workshop in Bourbon County.
– Complete the final report to be submitted to the K-State Research and Extension Local Food Systems Program Coordinator

Governor Kelly Vetoes Bills, Allows One to Become Law Without Signature


TOPEKA—
Governor Laura Kelly today vetoed Substitute Bill for Senate Bill 233, House Bill 2749, Substitute Bill for House Bill 2436, Senate Bill 434, House Bill 2446, and House Bill 2648. Governor Kelly also allowed Senate Bill 394 to become law without her signature.

The following veto message is from Governor Kelly regarding her veto of Substitute Bill for Senate Bill 233:

“This divisive legislation targets a small group of Kansans by placing government mandates on them and dictating to parents how to best raise and care for their children. I do not believe that is a conservative value, and it’s certainly not a Kansas value.

“To be clear, this legislation tramples parental rights.

“The last place that I would want to be as a politician is between a parent and a child who needed medical care of any kind. And, yet, that is exactly what this legislation does.

“If the legislature paid this much attention to the other 99.8% of students, we’d have the best schools on earth.

“Therefore, under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution, I hereby veto Substitute Bill for Senate Bill 233.”


The following veto message is from Governor Kelly regarding her veto of House Bill 2749:

“Kansans spoke loud and clear in August 2022. Voters do not want politicians getting between doctors and their patient by interfering in private medical decisions.

“House Bill 2749 is invasive and unnecessary. There is no valid medical reason to force a woman to disclose to the legislature if they have been a victim of abuse, rape, or incest prior to obtaining an abortion. There is also no valid reason to force a woman to disclose to the legislature why she is seeking an abortion.

“I refuse to sign legislation that goes against the will of the majority of Kansans who spoke loudly on August 2, 2022: Kansans don’t want politicians involved in their private medical decisions.

“There are some in the legislature who have forgotten that. I have not. Therefore, under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution, I hereby veto House Bill 2749.”


The following veto message is from Governor Kelly regarding her veto of Substitute Bill for House Bill 2436:

“While I agree that no one should be coerced into undergoing a medical procedure against their will, it is already a crime to threaten violence against another individual.

“Additionally, I am concerned with the vague language in this bill and its potential to intrude upon private, often difficult, conversations between a person and their family, friends, and health care providers. This overly broad language risks criminalizing Kansans who are being confided in by their loved ones or simply sharing their expertise as a health care provider.

“Therefore, under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution, I hereby veto Substitute Bill for House Bill 2436.”


The following veto message is from Governor Kelly regarding her veto of Senate Bill 434:

“I have serious concerns that deregulating sugaring — a hair removal technique that may be performed on minors — could lead to safety and sanitation problems. We have a responsibility to protect Kansans – and this deregulation would threaten the health and safety of Kansans – particularly our children.

“Under the purview of the Kansas Board of Cosmetology, sugaring practitioners are required to adhere to the same health and safety standards as other cosmetologists and estheticians. They are subject to criminal background checks and training prior to the successful completion of exams to earn state licensure. Deregulating sugaring risks contamination, improper infection control, and potential safety issues involving minors. I am not willing to undermine the Kansas Board of Cosmetology’s expertise or threaten the long-term health and safety of Kansans who receive sugaring services.

“Therefore, under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution, I hereby veto Senate Bill 434.”


The following veto message is from Governor Kelly regarding her veto of House Bill 2446:

“I believe in local control and that local officials should be held accountable by their constituents, stakeholders, and businesses. This bill lacks sufficient protection to ensure local units of government are able to play a meaningful role in decision making on issues impacting their communities.

“Therefore, under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution, I hereby veto House Bill 2446.”


The following veto message is from Governor Kelly regarding her veto of House Bill 2648:

“House Bill 2648 would insert bureaucratic red tape intended to legislatively interfere with the timely implementation of necessary and important rules and regulations. Many of these regulations are for the protection and safety of Kansans.

“Kansans voted no to giving the legislature veto power over rules and regulations in the November 2022 election. This is yet again another attempt by the legislature to undermine the will of the voters.

“Therefore, under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution, I hereby veto House Bill 2648.”


The following statement is from Governor Kelly regarding allowing Senate Bill 394 to become law without her signature:

“While well-meaning in its efforts to protect children from content the legislature considers ‘harmful to minors,’ this bill is vague in its application and may end up infringing on constitutional rights, which is an issue being litigated in other jurisdictions over similar bills. For that reason, I will allow this bill to become law without my signature.”

###

AMERICAN PICKERS to Film in Kansas

The American Pickers are excited to return to Kansas! They plan to film episodes of The History Channel hit television series throughout your area in June 2024.

AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on The History Channel. The hit show follows skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques.

They are always excited to find historically significant or rare items, in addition to unforgettable Characters and their collections.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, the Pickers are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics.

Along the way, they want to meet characters with amazing stories and fun items. They hope to give historically significant objects a new lease on life while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way.

The Pickers have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen
before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them.

The American Pickers TV Show is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a unique item, story to tell, and is ready to sell…we would love to hear from you! Please note, the Pickers DO NOT pick stores, flea markets, malls, auction businesses, museums, or anything open to the public.

If interested, please send us your name, phone number, location, and description of the collection with photos to:
[email protected] or call (646) 493-2184
facebook: @GotAPick

Dept. for Aging and Disability: New Community Support Waiver

KDADS Partners with Public Consulting Group to Transform Services for Individuals with Disabilities
~ Focus on the Development of a New Community Support Waiver ~

TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard today announced a partnership with Public Consulting Group (PCG) to assist in the state’s plan to modernize the Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver by addressing waitlist and workforce challenges, and supporting the state in the development of a new Community Support Waiver (CSW).

“My administration is focused on enhancing services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “By developing a new Community Support Waiver and restructuring support systems through this partnership, we are taking a significant step toward better serving these Kansans.”

The CSW for individuals with IDD is designed to provide a limited set of supports for those who have a place to live in the community, allowing them to continue to live independently and promoting community living and integration.

In 2022, the Kansas State Legislature assembled the Special Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disability Waiver Modernization to review and recommend options for waiver alternatives and modernization based on input from officials from other states, researchers, advocacy groups, parents, and individuals with disabilities.

“Thanks to the work and recommendations of the Modernization Committee and our community partners, and now onboarding PCG with their proven track record in HCBS waiver development and compliance assistance, we believe we are on the right path to addressing the needs of people on the state’s IDD waiting list more effectively and efficiently,” KDAD Secretary Laura Howard said. “Kansas is committed to ensuring individuals have the opportunity to live independently with supports in their communities.”

The development of the CSW is at the heart of the initiative. Designed with input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including state agencies, Community Development Disability Organizations (CDDOs), families, and current participants, the CSW aims to address current service barriers and enhance service delivery. The primary goal is to reduce waiting lists and ensure services are accessible to those in need. This demonstrates the state’s commitment to building a support system that reflects the community’s needs.

The PCG partnership includes strategic grant funding to support the transformation and improvement of services. Funding initiatives will focus on specific service areas like aiding sheltered workshop providers with compliance with new regulations, restructuring CDDOs to eliminate conflicts of interest, and ensuring the impartiality of case management.

“Through these efforts, Kansas and PCG are working together to ensure services are delivered fairly, efficiently, and with the best interests of individuals with disabilities in mind,” KDADS Long Term Services and Supports Commissioner Michele Heydon said. “This collaboration is a testament to the state’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities through innovative solutions and community-focused initiatives.”

In February this year, Governor Laura Kelly announced an FY 2025 budget proposal to invest more than $23 million for the IDD and Physical Disability (PD) waivers, creating 250 new enrollment slots for each.

About HCBS

The HCBS program allows states to use Medicaid funds to offer critical nonmedical services not otherwise covered by Medicaid. The provided services can include personal attendants and other in-home supports, supported employment, and in-home specialized medical care.

###

Kansas First Internet Connectivity Plan Approved

Governor Kelly Announces More than $8M to be Invested in Digital Opportunities

~~ Kansas’ First Broadband Digital Equity Plan Approved ~~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that Kansas is receiving $8.2 million to begin implementing the Kansas Digital Equity (DE) Plan, which recently received federal approval. This announcement solidifies the state’s commitment to transform the landscape of high-speed internet connectivity and digital opportunity across Kansas.

“Providing Kansans with the digital resources they need will strengthen our state,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The approval of the Kansas Digital Equity Plan marks a significant milestone in our commitment to closing technology gaps and knocking down barriers to affordable, accessible high-speed internet in every corner of the state.”

Initially introduced last October, the DE Plan received public comment and underwent thorough reviews with federal funding partners at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications Information and Administration (NTIA) office. With this approval and funding from the NTIA’s Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program, the Kansas Office of Broadband Development (KOBD) will begin implementing strategies outlined in the plan to enhance digital opportunity statewide.

The DE Plan reflects a comprehensive strategy that includes digital skills training, affordable service plans, and access to broadband-ready devices. It also highlights the impact of technology in critical areas such as health care, education, and civic engagement.

“By expanding access to devices and digital skills training, we will open new economic opportunities for people and businesses across Kansas,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Our state is ready to unlock the potential of every Kansan and each community so they can prosper in the digital economy.”

The data used to determine each state’s funding allocations included the total population, the number of individuals in covered populations, and measures relating to the comparative lack of availability and adoption of broadband.

“We know that many Kansans experience barriers to full participation in the digital economy,” said Jade Piros de Carvalho, Director of the Kansas Office of Broadband Development. “The approval of this plan confirms our commitment to providing equal opportunities to residents by addressing factors that might be limiting broadband access and adoption.”

The DE Plan’s approval is a significant step toward achieving universal access to online education, employment, health care and telemedicine, and social services. It aligns with the broader vision outlined in the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Five-Year Action Plan.

“Today, Kansas is taking a major step toward closing the digital divide,” Angela Thi Bennett, Director of Digital Equity at NTIA, said. “The state’s digital equity plan will make certain everyone in Kansas possesses the digital skills, tools, and capacity to thrive.”

To access the Kansas Digital Equity Plan, click here.

###

Communities can learn to create walk-, bike-friendly towns during April 24 webinar

Communities in the beginning stages of creating more walk- and bike-friendly towns can greatly benefit from attending the Walk Bike Roll online webinar on April 24.

Titled “Tell Your Story! How to Leverage Storytelling to Build Project Support and Momentum,” the webinar is hosted by the Kansas Department of Transportation. Participants can learn to celebrate and share accomplishments to inspire decision makers, the public and other communities.

To attend the one-hour webinar, which starts at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, register at https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/ev/reg/6s4wnfd.

“Kansas communities have done a great job prioritizing and constructing new pedestrian and bicycle facilities,” said Jenny Kramer, Active Transportation Manager at KDOT. “However, when it comes time to brag about our accomplishments, we don’t do as well.”

Learning about other successful alternate transportation projects helps build support and can:

  • Build enthusiasm for new projects locally and across the state.
  • Discover champions and opportunities to raise project funds.
  • Invite equity to be a focus.
  • Create a culture that values walking, biking and rolling across Kansas.

Catherine Girves of Toole Design will share storytelling tips based on years of experience working with elected officials and citizens to build project support. She will cover important steps in the process such as how to identify an audience, discover available local and state funds, determine what the story is expected to accomplish and more.

The KDOT Active Transportation Program launched the Walk Bike Roll Kansas webinar series at an in-person Summit in September 2023. It is part of the Kansas Active Transportation Plan, which was published in February 2023. Webinars will continue throughout 2024.

To view the plan, toolkits, watch previously recorded webinars and more, go to: https://www.ksdot.gov/KansasATP.asp.

Legislative Update by State Senator Caryn Tyson

Caryn Tyson

 

April 5, 2024

 

Tax Relief was passed in the 11th hour of regular session.  Conference Committee Report (CCR) 2036 will:

  • eliminate state income tax on Social Security
  • exempt $100,000 of the valuation for homeowners of the 20 mill for K-12
  • lower the 20 mill for K-12 to 19.5 for all property owners
  • eliminate state sales tax on non-prepared groceries July 1, 2024 instead of Jan 1, 2025
  • provide income tax cuts for all Kansas taxpayers by:
    • a two tier income tax bracket changing 5.7 to 5.55, 5.25 to 5.15, and 3.1 is eliminated
    • personal exemptions are currently at $2,250 and will increase to $9,160 for a single filer; $18,320 married; and $2,320 for each dependent
    • standard deduction increases 3%; single $3,500 to $3,605; married $8,000 to $8,240
  • eliminate Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund and the County & City Revenue Sharing Fund

You may remember the Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 539 and the House passed their tax package in House Substitute (H Sub) for SB 300.  Leadership decided not to act on the other chambers proposed tax cuts.  Instead, they put together a plan with the Governor.  It was in the first version of CCR 2036, which passed the Senate 38 to 1, but was overwhelming rejected by the House.  Later the next day, I requested information for a tax plan and, coincidentally, the House Tax Chairman had requested information for the same plan.  It made sense because each of us used 539 and 300 as a basis to create the tax plan listed above.  It passed the Senate 24 to 9 on a bipartisan vote.  Seven senators were absent.  Interestingly, 8 Democrats and 1 Republican in the Senate voted No.  The House passed it 119 to 0.  It is known the Governor doesn’t favor the legislation, but she will be going against all the House members in her party if she vetoes it.

 

The Budget has even more pork after conference committee negotiations of CCR 28.  The Senate had voted to block the 90% pay raise for legislators, but the conference committee put it back.  They put in spending for theaters, sports programs, and many other special interest items.  What they didn’t concentrate on was infrastructure and security, which is what government should be doing.  I did not support this runaway spending.  It passed the Senate 26 to 12 and is on its way to the Governor’s desk.

 

K-12 Budget was in CCR 387.  It didn’t pass the House until late in session and the Senate never got a chance to hear or work the legislation.  It was an up or down vote, no amendments allowed.  The Senate voted 12 to 26.  A motion was made to send it back to committee on Thursday.  The conference committee was able to meet Friday and negotiate a new K-12 budget.  We will vote on the new version of the CCR when we return for veto session.  A majority of us decided that over $6 billion spending, over $4 billion from State General Funds (SGF), and getting less than 30 minutes to look at the legislation was reason not to support it.

 

Lies are rampant in the Capitol.  Tom Petty said, “I won’t back down”.  “Well I know what’s right;  I got just one life;  In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around;  But I’ll stand my ground; And I won’t back down.”

 

We cannot back down and must stand for the truth.  For example, this week there was a reporter who said that I used foul language.  Two witnesses who were sitting next to me and we all said that the reporter was wrong, yet the reporter and his editor refused to write a retraction.  A few local papers picked up the “fake news”.  Another example is a Representative and others who continues to spew false information that I am blocking legislation for veterans.  It’s not even close to the truth and I have worked diligently to pass tax relief for disabled veterans and others.  There are more examples of misleading narratives and fake news.  I will  “not back down” and I will continue to stand for the truth, as should everyone because it is self-defeating not to stand for the truth.

 

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.

Caryn

Lansing Correctional Facility Inmate Has Escaped Update

The escapee has been apprehended.

Minimum-custody resident Bradley G. Verstraete escaped from Lansing Correctional Facility

~Verstraete, 54, reported missing Sunday night~

LANSING, Kansas. –

Minimum-custody resident Bradley G. Verstraete was placed on escape status at approximately 9:00 p.m. after it was reported that he walked away from Lansing Correctional Facility on Sunday, April 7, 2024.

Verstraete, a 54-year-old white male, was reported missing when the resident could not be located at the minimum-security unit. This walkaway does not impact the security or operations of the medium-maximum secure compound.

Verstraete is serving a 102-month sentence for convictions of attempted murder in the 2nd degree and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer that occurred in 2017 in Pratt County.

Verstraete is 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 130 pounds. He has Hazel eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing blue jean jacket, blue jeans, and red hat. His hair was in a ponytail, and he had a goatee-style beard.

Anyone with information on Verstraete can call the Kansas Department of Corrections at 913-727-3235 ext. 58224, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at (800) 572-7463, or local law enforcement at 911.

The walk-away is currently being investigated.  New information will be released as it becomes available.

The Lansing Correctional Facility, formerly the Kansas State Penitentiary, opened in 1867. The facility serves only males and maintains maximum and medium units totaling 1,920 beds and a 512-bed minimum security unit.

Photo here

Applications for KDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program now being accepted

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Transportation is accepting applications for the Safe Routes to School Program for its second round of Planning and Programming (P&P) grants.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 3. KDOT will award up to five grants for the 2024-2025 school year.

The P&P grants fund the development of SRTS plans that will include an overview of existing conditions and public outreach. The plans should also identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions to help more children safely walk, bike and roll to school.

All communities, school districts and organizations are encouraged to apply. More information on the P&P grant program, including the application, recordings of prior informational webinars and a question/answer sheet can be found at https://saferoutes.ksdot.gov/grants-and-funding.

About KDOT Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School is a comprehensive approach to getting more kids walking, biking and rolling safely to school. It provides kids and parents with a variety of activities, events and lessons, while also addressing local pedestrian, bicycle and personal safety concerns. Visit KDOT’s Safe Routes to School website at SafeRoutes.ksdot.gov to learn more and sign up for the quarterly e-newsletter.

###

Legislative Update by State Senator Caryn Tyson

Caryn Tyson

 

March 29, 2024

 

Tax Relief is still being worked on, but it took an odd turn.  After the House gutted Senate Bill (SB) 300, which was a bankers’ tax bill, and put the contents of House Bill (HB) 2844, which contained many of the tax cuts being considered, in SB 300, and created House Substitute for SB 300.  They passed it 123 to 0.  The Senate President ruled the bill materially altered.  Senators could have challenged the ruling, but it hasn’t been challenged.  There are similarities in House Substitute for SB 300 to the bill the Senate passed, SB 539.  I am working to pass tax cuts for Kansans, especially property tax relief, exempting Social Security from state income tax, and other provisions.

 

Death Certificates could now be signed by a licensed physician, surgeon, physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, coroner, deputy coroner, or special deputy coroner if HB 2358 becomes law. It passed the Senate 39 to 1.  I voted Yes.  As with any bill returning to the originating chamber, the chamber can either concur, not concur and go to conference, or rule it materially altered and assign it to a committee.  Most likely, the House will not concur and it will go to a conference committee.

 

K-12 Enrollment counts would change so that schools would use the greater of the preceding-year or current year on September 20.  There are other counting changes and the bill was amended on the floor to help schools that are struggling with a declining population.  SB 386 passed on a vote of 33 to 6.  I voted Yes.  We need to delve deeper into our K-12 school funding and spending.  Of the billions of dollars being spent on K-12 funding, a greater percentage needs to get to the classrooms and teachers.  The bill now goes to the House.

 

Unclaimed Property could be used to invest and possibly make money for the state.  It may sound like a good idea, but what happens if the investments lose money and the property owner is found?  It can and has happened.  Legislators in the past blocked risky alternative investments because it almost broke KPERS and cost taxpayers.  How they forget.  The return on investments has been high so some perceive the risk to be low.  Taxpayers will end up footing the bill for unclaimed property if these investments lose money.  It’s a gamble I’m not willing to take.  HB 2577 passed 38 to 2.  I voted No.  The bill returns to the House since it was amended.

 

Death or Disability to a police animal would be an increased penalty of a mandatory 90 days imprisonment and a minimum fine of $10,000 plus expenses such as veterinary treatment, funeral, and replacement.  It is understandable we don’t want these animals harmed, but let’s strengthen the penalties for people who are harmed and not overdue for an animal.  HB 2583 passed 25 to 15.  I voted No.

 

Harm or Death to law enforcement or emergency responders for drivers who do not move-over another lane away from emergency responders would have increased penalties not less than $7,500 for death and $1,000 for harm.  The current fine for not moving over for emergency responders would increase from $195 to $400.  SB 426 passed 39 to 1.  I voted Yes.

 

Public Utilities would not be able to use eminent domain for wind or solar facilities.  SB 457 passed the Senate 38 to 0.

 

Energy Companies would be able to defer 90% of depreciation expenses and balances could be included in the utility’s rate base.  If the bill becomes law, these changes could begin 7/1/2024 after the utility notifies the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC).   There are other provisions, like allowing for a new gas-fired plant to be built in Reno County.  My concern is our ever-increasing energy costs and HB 2527 in its current form doesn’t address that.  The bill passed 38 to 2.  I voted No.  The bill returns to the House since there were amendments.

 

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.

Caryn