Dear District 11 Constituent:
The 2017 legislative session was one for the record-books, but in a good way. We dealt with a number of hot-topic issues: passed a biennial (two-year) budget, a tax restoration plan, an attempt at Medicaid Expansion, and a school nance plan, in addition to dozens of other bills important for Kansans across the state. This newsletter will provide a broad overview of a handful of bills of general interest, but there are other bills speci c to your industry and family which you will nd detailed in the following updates from the Kansas Legislative Research Department:
I am grateful for the opportunity to communicate with you about my work on your behalf in Topeka. For more frequent updates, please subscribe to my e-newsletter, the Kelly Kansan, by emailing or calling me: [email protected] 620-332-3083. You can also read previous newsletters on my website: www.repjimkelly.com.
I look forward to continuing our work together to bring accountability, transparency, and reality-based budgeting to the Kansas Legislature. Please do not hesitate to contact me about these or any other issues facing our state. I am grateful for the honor of representing your voice in Topeka.
Rep. Jim Kelly Representing District # 11 Montgomery County
ONE SIZE FITS NONE SCHOOL FUNDING
The Kansas Supreme Court forwarded a decision in the Gannon school nance lawsuit, striking down the existing formula as unconstitutional. A new formula was required before funding could be distributed to schools for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. The legislature wrote a new distribution plan based on the 1992-2014 school nance formula, with signiFIcant improvements. The Court allowed the plan to go into effect while deliberations regarding the constitutionality and adequacy of the plan took place. Since the Court found the plan to be unconstitutional on October 3rd, the legislature will need to determine what actions will be necessary to best comply with the intentions of the decision during the 2018 legislative session.
2017 INTERGOVERNMENTAL LEADERSHIP AWARD
I was honored to receive the 2017 League of Kansas Municipalities Intergovernmental Leadership Award, which “seeks to honor those who support cooperation between the various levels of government.”“‘Chairman Kelly is everything constituents and colleagues could want in a legislator,’ said League of Kansas Municipalities Executive Director Erik Sartorius. ‘He listens, builds consensus and asks questions to root out issues that might not otherwise surface and be discussed. He wants to hear all views on a topic, and truly wants to make sure legislation avoids unintended consequences whenever possible.’”- Kansas Government Journal H September 2017
To the right I am pictured with Executive Director Erik Sartorius (left) and Deputy Director Trey Cocking (right) at the luncheon.
TAX REFORM & RESTORATION AND THE STATE BUDGET
In early June, we passed a tax plan that not only repealed key components of the 2012 tax plan, the LLC tax break, and the “March to Zero” automatic income tax cuts, but also will restore the deductibility of medical expenses, mortgage interest, property taxes paid, and the child and dependent care tax credit. The tax plan will phase in all of these changes over the course of a three-year period. Immediately after its passage, by both the House and Senate, Governor Brownback vetoed the bill. His veto was promptly overridden in both chambers. I voted YES to override the veto.
State Budget; Senate Sub. for HB 2002
The House and Senate budget negotiators worked for days to develop a compromise between the budgets passed by their respective chambers. The nal compromise (S Sub HB 2002) was debated and though it isn’t perfect, it starts us down a path toward solvency. In sum, the bill:
- Begins to restore some funding to KU and K-State, which bore the brunt of recent cuts.
- Adds funds for the state’s mental hospitals and senior care,
- Begins to fund the State Water Plan.
- Provides 2.5% raises to most state employees – they haven’t seen raises since 2009.
- Allows the KS Department of Transportation (KDOT) to borrow $400 million to restart T-Works projects delayed to previous legislative sweeps from the roads plan.
The budget passed the House 88-27 and the Senate 27-11. The governor signed the bill into law on June 24th and the new budget went into e ect on July 1.
A few years ago, the legislature passed a bill allowing guns in public buildings, including hospitals and college campuses. Facilities were able to apply for a waiver to delay the time in which the law went into e ect until June 30th, 2017, to provide time to prepare for adequate security measures to be installed. During the 2017 session both the Senate and House passed a bill that provided exemptions from the rearms law going into full e ect on July 1st to State or municipal owned medical care facilities and adult care homes, community mental health centers, indigent health care clinics and buildings located in the University of Kansas Medical Center health care district, while not keeping concealed weapons o campus. The governor allowed this bill to become law without his signature.
RESTORING BASIC GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
Protection of Life
The Women’s Right to Know Act, SB 83, requires that additional information regarding the physician performing an abortion to be provided to a woman at least 24 hours prior to the procedure. Information that must be provided includes but is not limited to the name of the physician, the year in which the physician received a medical doctor’s degree and the name of any hospital in which the physician has lost clinical privileges.
Foster Care Reform
With children dying in Kansas foster care homes and a number of lawsuits, the legislature spent time reviewing the Department of Children & Families’ procedures, sta ng levels, and job requirements. House Substitute for SB 126 requires the Secretary for Children and Families to establish a Child Welfare System Task Force to study the child welfare system in the state of Kansas. We hope that through this task force, we will learn new and valuable insights, which will positively in uence the child welfare system as a whole, and the families involved.
4-H, Autism, Military License Plates
HB 2174 creates two distinctive license plates, authorizes decals on distinctive license plates to indicate transportation of a person with a disability and expands the acceptable decals indicating military honors on certain military-related license plates. The new license plates established are the Autism Awareness Fund and the Kansas 4-H Foundation Fund.
KPERS: Working After Retirement
House Substitute for SB 21 establishes a new working-after-retirement rule e ective January 1st. For retirees under the age of 62, there is a 180-day waiting period before returning to work. If the retiree is 62 or older, the current 60-day waiting period applies. There will no longer be an earnings limit for either group. This legislation, on the House side, moved through the Financial Institutions and Pensions committee that I Chair.
SB 201 amends the Consumer Protection Act to include members of the military to the de nition of “protected consumer.” The Act applies to the elderly, persons with disabilities, veterans, surviving spouses of veterans, members of the military, and immediate family members of the military.
The Kansas Pharmacy Act changes the minimum age for a person to receive a vaccine, other than the in uenza vaccine, from a pharmacist or pharmacy student or intern under direct supervision and control of a pharmacist from 18 to 12 years of age. This will help improve access to vaccines in underserved areas, lacking in health providers.
Current law allows “full-strength” beer, wine, and spirits to be old only at liquor stores, while grocery and convenience stores are allowed to sell 3.2% alcohol-by-volume (ABV) beverages. A hard-fought compromise will keep wine and spirits only at liquor stores while also adding the ability to sell certain other designated non-alcohol products, as long as these products do not exceed 20% of the retailer’s gross sales, while allowing grocery and convenience stores to begin selling full-strength beer not more than 6.0% by volume in 2019. In the months ahead, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control will be working to establish the new rules and regulations necessary to implement this new law.
SB 89: Seat Belt Fines and Seat Belt Safety Fund
The bill increased the ne from $10 to $30 for an adult who is not wearing a seatbelt in a passenger car that is in motion. $20 of the $30 ne will go to the Seat Belt Safety Fund and will be used to educate children about proper seat belt use and occupant protection.