Kansas Legislative Update by Senator Caryn Tyson

Caryn Tyson

2021 Session winding down

The last day of the 2021 session is scheduled for May 26.  It tends to be ceremonial, but this year there should be an effort to override a couple more of the Governor’s vetoes.  I’ll let you know next week how that goes.


Below Are Several Bills Signed Into Law

House Bill (HB) 2079 transfers the registration of charitable organizations from the Secretary of State to the Attorney General.  It also enacts the Kansas Fights Drug Addiction and requires posting human trafficking awareness notices in certain businesses and public places.  It passed the Senate 39 to 0.  The House vote was 78 to 42.


House Bill (HB) 2026 creates a Certified Drug Abuse Treatment Program for certain drug offenders who have entered into a diversion agreement.  It also amends law to increase penalties for riots in a correctional facility and unlawfully tampering with electronic monitoring devices.  The bill passed both chambers unanimously.


The main focus of House Bill (HB) 2158 establishes a joint committee on child welfare system oversight requiring visual observation of an alleged victim of child abuse or neglect.   The committee will monitor and recommend changes to DCF, KDADS, Corrections, KDHE, law enforcement, and the Judicial Branch on child welfare, especially foster care children.  The foster care system in Kansas has been broken for years.  HB 2158 is an attempt to protect children.  It passed both chambers unanimously.


HB 2187 enacts the First-time Home Buyer Savings Account Act, allowing an account to be opened at a financial institution specifically for saving to purchase a first home.  Up to $3,000 a year can be added to the account for an individual, $6,000 for a married couple.  The money can remain in the account for an unlimited time without interest or income being subject to penalty.  The amount deposited in the account each year would be subtracted from your federal adjusted gross income, possibly lowering your state income tax obligation.  Each account has a $50,000 cap.  The bill passed the Senate 35 to 1.  I voted Yes.  It passed the House 119 to 2.


Senate Bill (SB) 170 enacts an interjurisdictional authorization of psychologists across state boundaries.  Kansas has a shortage of mental health providers and this would allow telecommunication across state lines for therapies.  The bill passed the Senate unanimously.  The House vote was 119 to 4.


HB 2121 increases the penalties for mistreatment of an elderly dependent.  It is sad that we need laws to protect individuals from such abuse, but the reality is we do.  The bill passed both chambers unanimously.


SB 47 extends the Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ) for two years and adds any county with a population of 50,000 or less to the program. The bill establishes the Tax Payer Protection Act, requiring a paid tax-preparer to sign any return they prepared and include their federal tax id.  The bill makes it clear that a person does not owe income tax on money stolen as a result of identity theft.  The bill passed the Senate unanimously.  It passed the House 107 to 14.


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


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