State senator Richard Hilderbrand 13th district
communications from the state capitol
March 23, 2018, ∙ Week Eleven
Quote of the Week:
“Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of Liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.”
― Patrick Henry
Speech at the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia (23 March 1775)
- The agriculture industry employs nearly 247,000 Kansans, accounting for 13 percent of the state’s workforce (Kansas Department of Agriculture) https://agriculture.ks.gov/docs/default-source/ag-marketing/2017-annual-report.pdf?sfvrsn=4
- For each dollar earned as a result of vocational rehabilitation placement, there is about $1.66 in total earnings generated by the economy (Kansas Department for Children and Families) http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/RS/Pages/Employment-Services.aspx
- In 2017, Kansas had 88,000 veterans in the civilian labor force. The Kansas veteran unemployment rate was 2.5% (Kansas Department of Labor) https://klic.dol.ks.gov/vosnet/timeout.aspx?lblErrorMessage=GSIPage%20L258%20no%20AUS%20from%20occdrill.aspx%20at%20instantiation
The Kansas Talking Books program, a division of the State Library of Kansas, provides library materials in a specialized format to any Kansas resident with a visual impairment, physical impairment, or reading disability. A signature from a certifying authority such as a medical doctor, optometrist, or librarian is needed. This no-charge service includes fiction and nonfiction audiobooks, magazines such as Kansas! and Reader’s Digest, plus descriptive videos. A simple application is available at https://kslib.info/talking-books .
DESIGNATING THE STATE ROCK, MINERAL, GEMSTONE, AND FISH (HB 2650): House Bill 2650 designates the state rock as greenhorn limestone; the state mineral as galena; the state gemstone as jelinite amber; and the state fish as the channel catfish. This bill passed the Senate 38-0.(I voted for this bill, Chetopa is the Catfish Capital, and Galena, is now the state mineral.)
AIRPORT AUTHORITY DISSOLUTION PROCEDURES (HB 2628): House Bill 2628 allows the City of Pratt to dissolve, via adoption of an appropriate ordinance, any airport authority created and established by the city. If such an airport authority is dissolved, the city would acquire the property of the authority subject to any leases or agreements made by the authority. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.
MODIFYING CERTAIN FEES IN THE KANSAS POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION ACT(HB 2542): House Bill 2542 removes the June 30, 2018, sunset on a statute authorizing the Kansas Board of Regents to fix, charge, and collect fees for state institutions domiciled or having their principal place of business outside the state of Kansas. The bill would also remove fees concerning program modification; on-site branch campus reviews; renewal of registration of a representative; and changes in institution profiles. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.
SELF SERVICE OF BEER FROM AUTOMATED DEVICES (SB 433): Senate Bill 433 allows licensed public venues, clubs, and drinking establishments to provide self-service beer to customers from automated devices in the same manner as is permitted for wine under current law. The licensee must monitor the dispensing of beer and must be able to control such dispensing. This bill passed the Senate 37-3. (I voted in favor of this bill. I opposed this bill as it was introduced because of a lack of accountability measures for the machines. These concerns were addressed and the bill was amended to address these concerns.)
PROVIDING COMPENSATION FOR THE WRONGFULLY CONVICTED (HB 2579): House Bill 2579 creates a civil cause of action allowing claimants to seek damages from the state for wrongful conviction. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.
REGULATING ACCESS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT RECORDINGS(HB 2571): House Bill 2571 modifies the statute governing disclosure of video or audio recordings made and retained by law enforcement using a body camera or a vehicle camera. HB 2571 would add a provision requiring the agency to allow the listening or viewing of the recording within 20 days after the request is made by the person who is subject to the recording or any parent or legal guardian if the subject is under 18 years old. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.
URGING THE KCC TO LOWER RETAIL ELECTRIC RATES (SCR 1612): Senate Concurrent Resolution 1612 urges the State Corporation Commission (KCC) to have regionally competitive retail electric service rates and urges the KCC to take any and all lawful action to reduce Kansas electric rates to such levels and maintain the rates and such levels. This concurrent resolution passed the Senate 30-9. (I was proud to be a sponsor of this resolution)
Session of 2018
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 1612
By Senators Lynn, Alley, Baumgardner, Berger, Bowers, Denning, Doll, Estes,
Faust-Goudeau, Fitzgerald, Givens, Goddard, Haley, Hardy, Hawk, Hensley,
Hilderbrand, Holland, Kelly, Kerschen, Masterson, McGinn, Petersen,
Pilcher-Cook, Rogers, Skubal, Suellentrop, Sykes, Taylor, and Wagle
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION supporting
and facilitating regionally
competitive retail electric rates in the state of Kansas and urging the
State Corporation Commission to take all lawful action to promptly
set rates for retail electric service in the state of Kansas at regionally
WHEREAS, Rates for retail electric service in Kansas have risen
significantly over the last decade; and
WHEREAS, Kansas retail electric rates are no longer competitive
with rates for electric service in the surrounding region; and
WHEREAS, Kansas’ regionally uncompetitive electric rates are
negatively impacting the State’s economic competitiveness as a location
for industry and commerce; and
WHEREAS, Captive Kansas residents and businesses are
economically harmed by the significantly escalating electric rates of
monopolistic electric public utilities, which are increasing rates at levels
far outpacing the annual rate of inflation: Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Kansas, the House of
Representatives concurring therein:
That it shall be the policy of the state
of Kansas to have regionally competitive rates for retail electric service to
promote economic growth and support local communities; and
Be it further resolved:
That we urge the State Corporation
Commission to take any and all lawful action to promptly reduce Kansas
retail electric rates to regionally competitive levels; and
Be it further resolved:
That, following any initiative to reduce retail
electric rates, we urge the State Corporation Commission to take any and
all lawful action to maintain Kansas retail electric rates at regionally
competitive levels; and
Be it further resolved:
That, to the extent the State Corporation
Commission determines it does not have sufficient statutory authority to
promptly and effectively undertake an initiative to materially reduce retail
electric rates, we urge it to report to the Kansas legislature, identifying
any new statutory authority that is necessary or that would assist the
agency to reduce retail electric rates to regionally competitive levels; and
Be it further resolved:
That the Secretary of State shall send enrolled
copies of this resolution to Chairman Shari Feist Albrecht, Commissioner
Jay Scott Emler and Commissioner Pat Apple of the State Corporation
THE ASBESTOS TRUST CLAIMS TRANSPARENCY ACT (HB 2457): House Bill 2457 requires the plaintiff to provide certain statements and materials no later than 30 days prior to the date the court establishes for the completion of all fact discovery. Specifically, the plaintiff would be required to investigate, file all asbestos trust claims that can be made by the plaintiff, and provide a sworn statement indicating the investigation has been conducted and all possible claims filed. The plaintiff would be required to provide all parties with all trust claim materials, accompanied by a custodial affidavit from the asbestos trust. The bill also requires the plaintiff to supplement the information and materials within 30 days after the plaintiff, or person on the plaintiff’s behalf, supplements an existing asbestos trust claim, receive additional information, or materials related to such a claim, or files an asbestos trust claim. This bill passed the Senate 23-16. (I voted in favor of this bill)
AMENDING THE KANSAS STANDARD ASSET AND FORFEITURE ACT(HB 2459): House Bill 2459 amends the Kansas standard asset seizure and forfeiture act and establishes the Kansas asset seizure and forfeiture repository. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.
I had the privilege of Charing the Senate debate for HB 2457-Enacting the asbestos trust claims transparency act, and HB 2459-Amending the Kansas standard asset seizure and forfeiture act and establishing the Kansas asset seizure and forfeiture repository.
SCHOOL FINANCE COST STUDY:
Last Friday, the legislature received the highly anticipated 156-page report by Dr. Lori Taylor on K-12 education funding in Kansas. On Monday, Dr. Taylor presented her report to the House K-12 Education Budget Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance. Dr. Taylor’s study provided three recommendations of either $451 million, $1.7 billion, or $2 billion.
The $451 million scenario would be enough to maintain current student achievement targets in reading and math while improving graduation rates to 95 percent. The $1.7 billion scenario would increase achievement further and the most expensive scenario, $2 billion, calls for even higher achievement standards. The study’s recommendation would raise annual K-12 funding from $4.652 billion to $6.438 billion or $6.719 billion by 2022.
The study explained that the additional money is needed to reach a 95 percent graduation rate. Currently, no state in the country has a graduation rate that high; Iowa ranks at number one with a graduation rate of 91 percent. The national average is 84.1 percent. Kansas has a graduation rate of 86.1 percent placing it 22nd in the nation.
Dr. Taylor was hired after the Supreme Court ruled in October that last year’s increase of $300 million in state aid, paid for with a tax increase, was not enough. The court gave the legislature an April 30th deadline to respond to the ruling.
Next Thursday, Dr. Jesse Levin of the American Institute for Research will present a peer review of the study.
2018 KANSAS MASTER TEACHERS:
On Thursday, the Senate recognized the 2018 Kansas Master Teachers. Senators Jeff Longbine (R-Emporia), Rick Billinger (R-Goodland), Bruce Givens (R-El Dorado), Tom Hawk (D-Manhattan), Ty Masterson (R-Andover), Mike Petersen (R-Wichita), and John Skubal (R-Overland Park) introduced Senate Resolution 1781, congratulating and commending this year’s Master Teachers.
Emporia State University established the Master Teacher awards in 1954. The awards are presented annually to teachers who have served the profession for at least five years and exemplify outstanding qualities. Candidates are usually nominated by their school district and the selection committee decides on seven recipients. Only one person from a USD can be selected.
The 2018 Master Teachers are:
- Connstance Allmond- El Dorado
- Deanna Burton- Manhattan
- Abby Cornelius- Overland Park
- Todd Flory- Andover
- Chitra Harris- Wichita
- Matthew Irby- Emporia
- Kimberly S. Schneweis- Hays
This year’s Kansas Master Teacher Recognition Day will be held on April 4th at Emporia State University.
ADOPTION PROTECTION ACT:
This week the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee held hearings on SB 401, the Adoption Protection Act. The bill works to protect faith-based adoption agencies from being forced to place children in homes that violate their religious beliefs. The bill would ensure that faith-based organizations cannot be denied permits, licenses, or authorizations due to their refusal of placing children in certain homes.
There are currently no laws that restrict organizations that do not receive state funding from their placement criteria, but SB 401 is meant to act as a proactive measure. Proponents of the bill want to ensure that faith-based organizations are free to serve and protected from any future policies that might target them.
Opponents of the bill say it is discriminatory against same-sex couples since faith-based adoption agencies would be allowed to deny child placement to those couples.
The Kansas Department of Children and Families supports SB 401, saying that it allows for more adoption agencies to help place the 7,000 children that are currently in DCF custody.
ARMED FORCES APPRECIATION DAY:
March 22nd was Armed Forces Appreciation Day at the Capitol. Outside the statehouse, members of the Kansas National Guard showcased military equipment including specific equipment used to help fight wildfires.
Governor Jeff Colyer signed two proclamations Thursday, the first officially declared March 22nd as Armed Forces Appreciation Day in Kansas. The second proclamation declares Thursday, March 29th as Vietnam War Veterans Day, honoring Kansans who fought in the Vietnam War.If you or someone you know would like information or an application, please visit the Kansas Talking Books website https://kslib.info/talking-books or call 620-341-6280 or 1-800-362-0699.
- Hearing on: (opponents) HB 2583, relating to the control and eradication of noxious weeds in the state of Kansas — [Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, March 19 at 8:30 am]
- Hearing on: HB 2674, establishing Kansas telemedicine act — [Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, March 19 at 9:30 am]
- Hearing on: Sub HB 2556, establishing the state interoperability advisory committee — [Senate Ways and Means Committee, March 19 at 10:30 am]
- Presentation on: Overview of Study-Dr. Lori Taylor and Jason Willis — [Joint Meeting with Senate Select Committee on Education Finance & House K-12 Education Budget, March 19 at 12 pm in 346-S]
- Hearing on: SB 444, decreasing the sales and use tax rate on food and food ingredients — [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee, March 20 at 9:30 am]
- Hearing on: HB 2604, secretary of state; posting precinct-level election results; certain offices — [Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government, March 20 at 9:30 am]
- Hearing on: HB 2642, elections; corrupt political advertising — [Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government, March 20 at 9:30 am]
- Hearing continuation on Proponents SB 401, creating the adoption protection act — [Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, March 20 at 10:30 am, Room Change: 346-S]
- Hearing on: SB 431, creating the extreme risk protective order act — [Senate Judiciary Committee, March 20 at 10:30 am, Room Change: 144-S]
- Hearing on: HB 2566, making the criminal penalty for possession of THC equal to the criminal penalty of possession of marijuana — [Senate Judiciary Committee, March 20 at 10:30 am, Room Change: 144-S]
- Informational hearing on HB 2701, establishing the statewide broadband expansion task force — [Senate Utilities Committee, March 20 at 1:30 pm]
- Hearing on: SB 422, requiring a minimum local option budget and requiring local school boards to notify the state board of education of their intent to increase local option budget authority — [Senate Select Committee on Education Finance, March 20 at 1:00 pm in 144-S]
- Hearing on: HB 2416, income tax credit for certain purchases of goods and services by a taxpayer from qualified vendors that provide employment to the individuals who are blind or severely disabled — [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee, March 21 at 9:30 am]
- Informational hearing on SB 49, elections; registration; election day registration — [Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government, March 21 at 9:30 am]
- Hearing on: HB 2496, enacting the nurse licensure compact — [Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, March 21 at 9:30 am]
- Hearing on: Opponents SB 401, creating the adoption protection act — [Senate Federal and State Affairs, March 21 at 10:30 am, Room Change: 346-S]
- Hearing on: HB 2648, including federal law enforcement officers in assault and battery against a law enforcement officer — [Senate Judiciary Committee, March 21 at 10:30 am, Room Change: 144-S]
- Hearing on: Senate “simplified transportation formula” — [Senate Select Committee on Education Finance, March 21 at 1:30 pm in 144-S]
- Hearing on: SB 376, increasing the rates of taxation of cigarettes and tobacco products; establishing the cigarette and tobacco product cessation fund — [Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee, March 22 at 9:30 am]
- Presentation on: Concurrent Enrollment and ACT – for all High School — [Senate Select Committee on Education Finance, March 22 at 1:00 pm in 144-S]
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.