Legislative Update By State Senator Caryn Tyson

February 7, 2020

In the movie McClintock, John Wayne is asked if he has “a day off” and his response is “off day”.  That describes Wednesday of the fourth week of session.  Session was canceled for the Super Bowl celebration.  However, I and some of my colleagues worked on Wednesday but there were no committee meetings.


It was also an ‘off week’.  The House debated and fell 4 votes shy of putting SCR 1613, Value Them Both (mother and child) Constitutional Amendment, on the ballot.  In response, the Senate President moved all of the House bills that had passed out of Senate committees back to committee.  She threw down the gauntlet sending a message to the House – reconsider passing SCR 1613.


Hearings were held on Senate Bill (SB) 294 and SB 295 to promote transparency and fairness in our property tax system.  The only opponents to the bills were taxpayer funded lobbyist or local government employees.


SB 294 is based on the successful Utah and Tennessee property tax systems.  It would change the Kansas Truth In Taxation to require a notice of a planned property tax increase in the paper of record  and a mailed notice to each taxpayer stating the planned increase for that taxpayer.  The notices would also include a date, time, and location for a Truth In Taxation hearing at which time local government officials would vote on a property tax increase.  Yes, there would be a cost for the notices but all the taxing authorities should be in one mailing, thus cutting cost.  Utah has had a similar mailing system in place for almost 35 years.  The former President of Utah Senate Wayne Niederhauser, former Tax Chair, and a CPA spoke to Kansas legislators on the Utah program.  He said their taxpayers love it and the governing bodies have embraced it.  An example is the video posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0pBFrILbXU.  He also said that he wouldn’t use the cost of the mailing as a reason not to pass the bill.  SB 294 would not stop property tax increases.  It would require local governing body actions and increases transparency to taxpayers.


SB 295 would stop your property valuation from increasing for normal maintenance.  It would still increase for remodels or additions.  It makes sense but again, taxpayer funded lobbyist testified against the bill.


The Senate passed SB 157 amending the Kansas Family Code to provide temporary equal time for parents during a divorce until a permanent agreement can be established.  The bill does have exceptions of abuse or the best interest of the child.  The bill passed the Senate 39 to 1.  I voted Yes.


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


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