After the break, the House will consider veto priorities
By Shannon Francis
124th District Representative
The session is not over but the legislature is on a short break before returning for the Veto session. The stay allows the legislature to wait for consensus revenue estimate numbers, governor vetoes, and to hear from you at home.
The week before the break, we were on the floor debating, voting on bills and awaiting reports from conference committees. Conference committee reports are the product of negotiations when the House and Senate pass different versions of a bill. To resolve differences, conference committees meet. These committees have 6 members and are made up of committee leaders from both chambers and parties. When they find consensus in their negotiations, the final product must pass both the House and the Senate before being sent to the Governor. If the governor vetoes bills during the April recess, the legislature will have the opportunity to consider veto waivers when we return to Topeka on April 25.
Responsible Budget Passes, Maintains Top Republican Priorities
The House passed SB 267, the appropriations bill, with a vote of 104-12. The Senate also passed the bill, sending it to the governor for consideration. Any veto on an item of the budget can be considered by the legislature when it returns for the veto session. Priorities include:
- Securing the Rainy-Day Fund with $500 million earmarked for the Fund.
- Take a “save more” instead of “spend more” approach, resisting the urge to overspend one-time federal stimulus dollars. Federal SPARK dollars were allocated for one-time spending, creating no spending growth for future years.
- Continue to invest in mental health, so our children, veterans and families can access services when and where they need them. Additional funds have been invested to increase reimbursement rates for those caring for our most vulnerable citizens (waivers for frail elderly people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, behavioral health services).
- Make smart economic decisions that don’t increase debt by using federal ARPA funds to spur economic development and critical infrastructure at universities, independent colleges, community colleges, and technical colleges across the state.
- A total of $40 million is also planned for the Moderate Income Housing Program and the Rural Housing Revolving Loan Program.
Priorities of the veto session
When the House returns later this month, bills that have been agreed to in conference, but have not yet passed the House, will be considered. This legislation includes:
- Create comprehensive tax legislation, including responsibly addressing a food sales tax rate reduction (HB 2106)
- Build on the security and integrity of our Kansas election system by addressing ballot boxes (HB 2056), elections, voting, and audits (HB 2138), and preventing the governor from changing election laws or procedures without legislative consent (HB 2252)
- Fully fund K-12 education and leadership policy, including strengthening the Promise Act; addressing school safety and security; increase skills, especially in reading (Every Child Can Read Act) and provide educational opportunities through open enrollment. (HB 2567)
- Extending KanCare contracts for managed care organizations (MCOs), allowing the next governor to consider how best to serve Kansans served by MCOs while providing Kansans on Medicaid with continuity through the Medicaid appeals process offers. The bill also maintains limits on the Governor’s authority over firearms and ammunition and prohibits the Governor from closing places of worship. (HB 2387)
Other notable legislation reviewed recently by the Kansas House:
HB 2087 Requires review of rules and regulations by state agencies every five years and provides an alternative procedure for the revocation of certain rules and regulations. The Senate and House adopted the conference committee report, and now it goes to the governor for his consideration.
HB 2239 provides over $90 million in tax relief with over $40 million in property tax relief by increasing the amount of a home’s value that is exempt from property taxes. That should mean property tax relief for nearly every Kansas homeowner. Other provisions of HB 2239 include increased transparency of property taxation at the local level, allowing the reduction of property taxes when improvements are destroyed by natural disasters, the creation of a personal tax exemption for disabled veterans, and creating a sales tax exemption. for agricultural fences. The Senate and House adopted the conference committee report, and now it goes to the governor for his consideration.
HB 2279 Modification of the authorized scope of practice of the advanced practice registered nurse to allow the prescription of drugs without a collaborative agreement with a supervising physician. The House approved the Senate amendments in conference, 80-34. HB 2279 goes to the Governor for his examination.
HB 2361 authorizing the Supreme Court to make rules for specialized court programs; establish the Specialized Courts Funding Advisory Committee and the Specialized Courts Resource Fund; allow courts to order defendants to participate in specialized court programs; allowing the expungement of certain convictions when the accused meet the requirements of these programs. The Senate and House adopted the conference committee report, and now it goes to the governor for his consideration.
HB 2448 Require able-bodied adults without dependents to complete an employment and training program to receive food assistance. The Senate adopted the conference committee report, as did the House, 70-46. HB 2448 goes to the Governor for his examination.
HB 2456 Establishment of Kansas Children’s Combined Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License. The Senate and House adopted the conference committee report, and now it goes to the governor for his consideration.
HB 2476 Added several distinctive license plates, allowing the creation and issuance of new distinctive plates for: Silver Star; bronze star; four Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks; Town of Hutchinson; and Daughters of the American Revolution. The Senate and House adopted the conference committee report, and now it goes to the governor for his consideration.
HB 2717 prohibits municipalities from restricting law enforcement cooperation with federal authorities. HB 2717 also prohibits the use of municipal ID cards to satisfy state proof of identity requirements, including for voter identification. The bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly by Attorney General Derek Schmidt. The House passed the bill last week, 84-38. The Senate also passed it and now the bill is before the Governor for consideration.
SB 58, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, guarantees that parents have the right to information about their child’s school district. This includes:
- The possibility of consulting the school and medical records of their child
- The ability to review teaching materials, including all books and magazines used in class
- The ability to object to any learning materials or activities based on harm to the child or violation of the parent’s strongly held beliefs, values or principles and to remove the child from such activities
- The ability to challenge the educational benefits of any book, magazine or other material available in the school library
The House passed the conference committee report, 67-46, as did the Senate and now goes to the governor for his consideration.
SB 84 commonly referred to as Sports Gaming. The House adopted the conference committee report, 63-49, and awaits action from the Senate.
SB 160 Equity in Women’s Sports Act; limits participation in women’s teams to female students. The House passed the conference committee report, 74-39, as did the Senate and goes to the governor for his consideration.
SB 261 Prohibit the use of identifiable meat terms on the labels of meat substitutes when those labels do not include appropriate qualifying language to indicate that these products do not contain meat. The House passed the conference committee report, 113-0, and now awaits action from the Senate.
SB 286 regarding the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas; ; create the crime of interference in the conduct of a hospital; increased criminal penalty for assaulting a healthcare provider; the extension of the extended use of telemedicine and the expiration of these provisions; extend the suspension of certain requirements related to medical care facilities; modifying the COVID-19 response and the reopening of the corporate liability protection law; extending immunity from civil liability for certain health care providers, certain persons carrying on business in this state, and covered facilities for COVID-19 claims until January 20, 2023. The House adopted the report of the committee of the conference, 64-51, as does the Senate. SB 286 goes to the Governor for his consideration.
SB 421 The House passed SB 421 this week to reimburse the unfunded portion of our state’s retirement system. This delivers on our promises to retirees and helps all Kansans by reducing the amount of money we spend on pension funding. This means less expenses in the future and less taxes. The bill will spend more than $1 billion on reducing our pension debt and preliminary figures estimate savings of $463.5 million over the first five years. The House adopted the conference committee report, 106-10. SB 421 awaits Senate action.
SB 446 Permit holders of restricted driver’s licenses from the age of 15 to drive to and from religious activities organized by any religious organization. The House and Senate adopted the conference committee report and it is now submitted to the governor for consideration.
SB 453 establishes a legal framework for unlicensed employee training courses in adult nursing homes. And for licensees of the Behavioral Science Regulatory Board, allows board-approved postgraduate experience to count toward the supervised work experience university-level supervised clinical practicum and allows licensees current master’s and clinical-level license to take the addiction counselor test. The House and Senate adopted the conference committee report and it is now submitted to the governor for consideration.