Newsletter of Senator Richard Hilderbrand

January 24, 2020 ∙ Week Two
Value Them Both suggested language:
·      The Value Them Both Constitutional Amendment was introduced by a coalition of several pro-life organizations including the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, the Kansas Catholic Conference, Concerned Women for America of Kansas and Kansans for Life.
·      Value Them Both was crafted to restore to the people of Kansas, through their elected officials, the ability to halt what could soon be an unlimited abortion industry.
·      Value Them Both lets the people regulate abortion through their elected officials. It is not a ban.
·      Because of a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling, broadly supported regulations like late-term abortion and taxpayer funded abortion, parental notification requirements and clinic safety standards could be struck down.
·      Unlimited and unregulated abortion hurt women and babies.
·      Value Them Both respects laws already adopted by Kansans such as a ban on late-term dismemberment abortions and informed consent. Every woman has a right to basic health and safety standards.
Industrial Hemp
·      The state of Kansas issued 213 grower licenses for industrial hemp in growing season 2019. Of those growers, 190 were active growers and actually attempted to grow and harvest hemp.
o  Seed availability, seedling availability, and adverse weather conditions prevented some growers from carrying out their research projects.
·      68 Kansas counties had growers authorized to participate in the research phase of the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s industrial hemp plan.
·      For growing season 2020, the KDA has received 276 grower license applications.
o  Of those applications, 40% came from growers who did not participate in the program last growing season.
Rural Prosperity
·      There are 8 state agencies and 4 federal agencies that deal with housing in Kansas.
·      According to Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers, the nationwide demand for new homes is about 1.5 million per year, yet only about 1.25 million new homes are built each year.
o  This number of new homes being built is substantially smaller in rural areas.
Next week we celebrate Kansas Day. On January 29, 1861, Kansas became the 34th state. Explore the state’s early history with the Kansas History, 1854-1865 database from the State Library, which covers the Territorial period through the Civil War. Find a wide variety of personal narratives, letters, maps, speeches, and photos. Use Browse A-Z to scroll through the topics or click on one of five broad categories for an overview of the early Kansas years. Educators: each of the five categories includes an essay and ends with corresponding primary source documents. View this resource at .
Senate bill 45 would raise the criminal severity level for involuntary manslaughter to level 2 penalty when the victim is a public safety sector employee. It would also raise the criminal severity level for aggravated battery to a level 3 penalty when the victim is a public safety sector employee. The severity levels were also increased for knowingly and purposefully causing great bodily harm or disfigurement via the following: by driving under the influence, by use of a deadly weapon, or by committing a DUI offense where the bodily harm can result in disfigurement or death.
The bill defines “Public Safety Sector Employee” as any individual employed by or volunteering for any law enforcement office, sheriff’s department, municipal fire department, volunteer and non-volunteer fire protection association, emergency management, EMS, or public works department while engaged in official duties.
This week the Kansas Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit over funding and pay raises for the state’s court system filed by six trial-court judges. Here is a link to Chief Justice Marla Luckert’s written decision. (If you can not access the link, copy and paste this address into your browser:
Legislators last year approved a $149 million annual budget for the court system, but the Supreme Court is pushing for an increase of $18 million, or 12%.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a statement to the press saying, “The court should no more decide the size of its own budget than the Legislature should decide the constitutionality of the laws it enacts.”
The district judges named on the lawsuit included Robert Frederick of Finney County in southwest Kansas; Steven Hornbaker of Geary County in northeast Kansas; Michael Powers in Marion County in central Kansas; and Merlin Wheeler of Lyon County in eastern Kansas. Frederick, Powers and Wheeler are the chief administrative judges in their judicial districts. Two other judges involved in the lawsuit were identified only as John Doe #1 and John Doe #2.
The Value Them Both Amendment to the Constitution was introduced in both the House and Senate on Thursday, January 16th. Both SCR 1613 and HCR 5019 have been passed out of their respective committees as of January 22nd, Fed and State Affairs in the House and Judiciary in the Senate. Floor debate is set to begin in earnest next week, with both the Senate and House seeking to pass the measure quickly.
Senate testimony in support of the amendment underlined the importance of rolling back a supposed right to abortion and its accompanying strict scrutiny requirement in order to protect reasonable regulation of the abortion industry, especially laws protecting parental consent, clinical cleanliness and licensing standards as well as informed consent for every patient.
Opponents of the amendment essentially argued this amendment was a prelude to a full ban, seeking to incite public outcry because the Amendment does not allow Kansas to over-rule federal law.
Passage of this amendment through the Senate will reinstate the right role of the Legislature to regulate this industry like any other. The Value Them Both Amendment seeks to protect both mother and child and it takes the question of who should represent them back to the people.
This year’s annual Rally for Life came at a perfect time to promote the proposed Value Them Both Constitutional Amendment.  The rally has taken place every year since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was made 47 years ago on January 22nd, which granted women the right to an abortion. On Wednesday, pro-life groups made their voices heard in opposition.
It brings together pro-life Kansas lawmakers and groups from across the state to discuss what they can do to impact the current laws on abortion. Representatives Susan Humphries and Susan Concannon took to the podium along with Senate President Susan Wagle who said, “We’re here to protect life at the beginning of life, at the end of life, when life is vulnerable, when a person is disabled. We go out of our way to care for others because they are created in the image of God.”
Jeanne Gawden, from Kansans for Life, read breaking news from President Trump who declared January 22nd ‘National Sanctity of Human Life Day.’
The Public Health and Welfare Committee began hearing testimony on SB 252. Those in favor of expanding Medicaid argued the bill should pass, as is, without work requirements or conscientious objections provisions. Under the Denning-Kelly plan, Kansans in the coverage gap ages 19-64 who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level would be eligible for Medicaid, which is now only available to the elderly, children, and those who are disabled and don’t have the option to work.
In his testimony in favor of SB 252, Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning explained the Pathway to Work provision that was also a provision in the draft rs1873 bill presented in the Senate Select Committee on Healthcare Access. The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) law prohibits any work requirement provisions that can impact enrollment up to 138% of the federal poverty level. That means it is illegal to modify enrollment to exclude any Kansan between the ages of 19-64 with income up to 138% of FPL when expanding Medicaid. It is known that many states are proposing a work requirement, however, right now there is not a single state that has a functioning work requirement for Medicaid eligibility. Either the work requirement has been denied by CMS, struck down by the courts, and/or has been deemed too expensive by states to implement. This is why the Senate Select Committee proposed and believed a pathway to employment was the best approach at this time over a hard count work requirement.
Senator Gene Suellentrop chairs the committee which also heard from the Kansas budget director, Larry Campbell, who testified that the new estimated costs of expansion would be $40.32 million in the first full year of implementation and $37.1 million in the second year. That includes a $35 million cost each year for a newly proposed “reinsurance” program which would subsidize rates in the private health insurance marketplace and add an estimated 120 new employees to The Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Senator Molly Baumgardner questioned the Kansas Hospital Association’s CEO, Tom Bell, about the finances of struggling hospitals which, expansion supporters say, need the influx of state and federal dollars to survive. Baumgardner asked Bell how expansion can help hospitals which only treat one or two patients per day. While Bell admitted he never promised Medicaid expansion alone would save rural hospitals, Senator Baumgardner reminded the group that claim has been a large part of the pro-expansion conversation and was a well-publicized element of Laura Kelly’s gubernatorial campaign.
Testimony continues next week. Chairman Suellentrop said he didn’t know when the committee will take action on the bill but that it will not happen next week.
Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers gave a report to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources on the findings of his Rural Prosperity Listening Tour this week. The tour took the Lt. Governor to 44 towns in 23 counties, where he spoke with Kansans at 16 manufacturers, 12 farms and agricultural facilities, 9 hospitals or healthcare facilities and more than 130 other meetings and events.
Lt. Governor Rogers reported that the newly created Office of Rural Prosperity will begin focusing on three primary areas of improvement based on the findings during the Listening Tour: Housing, Childcare, and Workforce Recruitment, Retention and Education. Other priorities identified by Kansans include removing roadblocks to prosperity such as lack of quality roads and bridges, state rules and regulations, lack of quality, affordable broadband and taxes in general (particularly property taxes).
Jeff Vogel, Kansas Department of Agriculture, briefed the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources on the progress being made by farmers and growers in the state who have decided to produce industrial hemp. These growers are allowed to do so through the passage of Senate Substitute for HB2167 during the 2019 legislative session.
Vogel reports that the first year of the industrial hemp program’s research phase was a positive one overall, with 190 active growers in the state, 20 active distributors, 35 active processors, and 9 universities participating in the program. Vogel expects the KDA to have the state’s commercial program rules and regulations prepared for submission to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as early as next week.
Once the rules and regulations are approved by the USDA, the state will begin accepting licensure applications for a commercial industrial hemp program, which means growers could begin planting industrial hemp as early as the 2020 growing season. However, Vogel cautioned that the USDA approval process can often be slow and cumbersome, so growers should not get their hopes up in terms of being able to participate in a commercial program this growing season.
Senator McGinn hosted a packed meeting Wednesday regarding Kansas’s need to invest in passenger rail. The meeting included Kansas legislators, out-of-state officials with interest in rail, an Amtrak official and a Kansas Department of Transportation official.
This is the third meeting Senator McGinn has hosted, and the meetings seem to grow every year. Senator McGinn explained, “People nowadays want to be working on their computers. They want to be doing their business while they’re traveling, so this gives them an opportunity to do that.”
One proposal suggested bringing a passenger rail station to Wichita. Currently, the closest passenger rail station is in Newton. Officials hope to connect two of the Midwest’s largest cities, Wichita and Oklahoma City, by building a new station in Wichita.
When KDOT releases its next ten-year transportation plan, supporters are hoping passenger rail gets a greater focus than in years past.
This week the Senate Education committee heard from Legislative Post Audit regarding the use of at-risk student funding. This hearing drew attention to the fact that the vast majority of “at-risk” funding was used to pay teacher salaries, not on targeted programs that address needs of at-risk populations above and beyond regular classroom learning. It also became apparent that school districts had a somewhat uncritical approach to evaluating the legal requirement that this special funding be funneled into “evidence-based” approaches.
As the Legislature has now met court-mandated levels of funding, the assurances set in place for the effective use of these at-risk funds seems to have failed in their intended purpose. The Education committee plans to continue digging deeper into these new findings.
Medicaid Expansion and the Value Them Both Amendment should continue to lead the news this week.
Monday, January 27
Ø Hearing: SB258 — Removing the requirement that certain entities submit certain reports to the division of post audit (10:30, Ways and Means, 548-S)
Ø Hearing: SB244 — Administrative rules and regulations shall sunset five years after adoption unless extension is approved by the legislature (10:30, Ways and Means, 548-S)
Ø Briefing: Kansas Universities and Colleges by the Numbers (1:30, Education, 144-S)
Tuesday, January 28
Ø Hearing continuation: SB252 — Expanding medical assistance eligibility and implementing a health insurance plan reinsurance program (9:30, Public Health and Welfare, 118-N)
Ø Hearing: SB256 — Repealing certain statutes regarding elections that pertain to the presidential preference primary; certain election-related contributions by corporations (9:30, Ethics, Elections and Local Government, 142-S)
Ø Hearing: SB257 — Amending and repealing reapportionment census data laws to conform with 2019 amendments to the Kansas constitution, and to remove certain obsolete provisions (9:30, Ethics, Elections and Local Government, 142-S)
Ø Hearing: SB250 — Amending the definition of “race” in the Kansas act against discrimination to include traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles (10:30, Federal and State Affairs, 144-S)
Ø Hearing: SB269 — Increasing the mandatory retirement age for judges to 80 years of age (10:30, Judiciary, 346-S)
Ø Hearing: SB126 — Exemption from income tax for certain public utilities (1:30, Utilities, 548-S)
Wednesday, January 29 (Happy Kansas Day!)
Ø Hearing continuation: SB252 — Expanding medical assistance eligibility and implementing a health insurance plan reinsurance program (9:30, Public Health and Welfare, 118-N)
Ø Hearing: SB149 — Facilitating voter registration by providing certificates of birth for applicants to evidence citizenship upon their consent (9:30, Ethics, Elections and Local Government, 142-S)
Ø Hearing: SB283 — Authorizing sports wagering under the Kansas expanded lottery act (10:30, Federal and State Affairs, 144-S)
Thursday, January 30
Ø Hearing continuation: SB252 — Expanding medical assistance eligibility and implementing a health insurance plan reinsurance program (9:30, Public Health and Welfare, 118-N)
Ø Hearing: SB254 — Concerning requirements of publication of certain documents by the secretary of state; relating to session laws, the Kansas register, proposed amendments to the constitution of the state of Kansas, and Kansas administrative rules and regulations and guidance documents (10:30, Federal and State Affairs, 144-S)
Ø Hearing: SB253 — Amending requirements for service of process on nonresident drivers and clarifying service of process on certain business entities (10:30, Judiciary, 346-S)
Ø Hearing: SB293 — Transferring duties concerning registration for charitable organizations and the address confidentiality program (safe at home) from the secretary of state to the attorney general and removing the authority of the secretary of state to prosecute election crimes (10:30, Judiciary, 346-S)
Ø Hearing: SB255 — Appropriations to the University of Kansas Medical Center; creating the Cancer Research and Public Information Trust Fund (10:30, Ways and Means, 548-S)
Ø Hearing: SCR1601 — Constitutional amendment eliminating transfers from the state highway fund (10:30, Ways and Means, 548-S)
Friday, January 31 (Pro Forma)
Ø GOP State Convention begins (2 pm, Embassy Suites by Hilton Kansas City Olathe)
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.

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