Senator Elaine Bowers - Senate Scene

Senate Scene 2018 Wrap-up

Legislature Adjourns Sine Die on May 4th

On May 4th, the Senate wrapped up the end of Veto Session on the 90thday and adjourned the 2018 Legislative Session.  The last 90-days session was in 2011.  The House has sent 66 bills to the Governor and the Senate has sent 52 bills for a total of 118 bills for the 2018 Legislature. At present, 40 Senate bills have been approved by the Governor, two are on his desk, and 10 await his signature. In the House, 56 bills have been approved by the Governor and 10 await his signature. There were a total of 208 Senate bills introduced in 2018, with an additional 199 Senate bills carried over from the 2017 Session. The 2019 Legislative will convene January 14, 2019 at 2:00PM.

Revenue Update – Department of Revenue

  • Total FY 2018 revenue receipts are 20 percent, or more than $1 billion higher than last year 
  • Tax receipts for April are $293.1 million above April 2017, with individual income tax accounting for $239.2 million of that total. Sales tax receipts for the month are $202.9 million, or $10.7 million above last April
  • April tax receipts came in 7.6 percent or $66.1 million above newly revised consensus revenue estimates, for a total of $932.2 million in tax collections during the month  

 

Session End – Floor activity

The last two weeks of session were spent working conference committee reports and concur and non-concur votes in the Senate chambers.  Nearly 50 reports were heard and reported out.  

 

Tax Bill - 

S Sub HB 2228Senate Substitute for House Bill 2228 was the mega tax bill put together by the Senate and House Tax conference committee and would’ve made changes to income, sales, and motor fuel tax provisions.  The bill passed in the Senate and failed in the House. The bill would’ve removed a restriction under current law preventing Kansas taxpayers from itemizing deductions for state income tax purposes unless they also itemize deductions for federal income tax purposes (de-coupling) and accelerate the restoration of certain federal itemized deductions for state income tax purposes provided by income tax reform enacted in 2017.  It would’ve also allowed for itemized deductions for medical expenses, mortgage interest, and property taxes paid equivalent to 75 percent of the federal allowable amount in tax year 2018 and 100 percent in tax year 2019.  It included nonrefundable income tax credits contributed to the Eisenhower Foundation. 

 

Final Budget 

H Sub SB 109House Substitute for Senate Bill 109, was approved and will appropriate $380 million more in the current fiscal year, $700 million more than was expended in the previous fiscal year. The legislation includes a 5 percent raise for employees who were not included in the 2017 pay adjustment law and a 2.5 percent raise for employees who received a pay increase last year. The budget also includes a 5 percent adjustment for correctional staff and a 2 percent raise for judges. The bill excludes state university staff, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and the Kansas Legislature. House Sub. for SB 109 also includes $15 million to replace funds cut from state universities, and other priorities that have been neglected such as water projects and state hospitals. 

 

FY 2018- The Conference Committee recommends expenditures of $16.3 billion, including $6.7 billion from the State General Fund.  It will add $31.1 million, including $40.5 million from the State General Fund, to fund the spring human services consensus caseload estimate. There will be an additional $3 million for the Medicaid regular medical program for the teaching hospitals associated with the Wichita Center for Graduate Medical Education program.  It will add $1 million for the tiny-k program, $1.4 million for information technology modernization and $1 million from the Problem Gambling and Addictions Grant Fund for additional substance abuse treatment services.

 

FY 2019- The Conference Committee Recommends expenditures of $16.8 billion, including $7 billion from the State General Fund.  It will add $68.6 million, including $76.9 million from the State General Fund to fund human services consensus caseload estimate.  It will restore approximately 64 percent of the 4 percent remaining FY 2017 allotment at $15 million, add $7 million, including $8.4 million from the State General Fund to adopt the spring 2018 education consensus estimate for the Department of Education.  It will also add $5.2 million from the Children’s Initiatives Fund for early childhood programs. This includes Pre-K Pilot ($4.2 million) and Parents as Teachers ($1 million). H Sub for SB109 will add $1.4 million for disaster relief, $2.7 million for information technology modernization, $22.1 million for an increase in nursing facility reimbursement rates, $1 million from the Problem Gambling and Addictions Grant Fund for additional substance abuse treatment services, $5.5 million, including $3.3 million from the State General Fund to increase payments for foster care kinship placements from an average of $3 per day to an average of $10 per day.  It will also add $27.7 million to provide salary adjustments equivalent to two steps on the Statewide Pay Matrix for employees who did not receive a salary adjustment as part of the 2017 Salary Initiatives, one step for employees who did receive a salary adjustment, two steps for uniformed corrections officers, two steps for non-judge employees with the Kansas Judicial Branch, and a 2 percent salary adjustment for judges and justices.  The Department of Administration budget includes $300,000 for the demolition of the grain mill elevator in Clyde in the 2018 budget and the Department of Education budget includes funding for a juvenile transitional crisis center pilot program at the Beloit Special Education Cooperative for 2019.  H Sub for SB 109 will now go to Governor Colyer’s desk.

 

S Sub HB 2028- Senate Substitute for House Bill 2028 would establish the Kansas Telemedicine Act. The bill also provides for coverage of speech-language pathologist and audiologist services via telehealth under the Kansas Medical Assistance Program (KMAP), if such services would be covered under KMAP when delivered via in-person contact. This is an important bill for Kansas especially rural Kansas for both providers, hospitals and patients.  

 

HB 2642-House Bill 2642 would maintain an exemption for attributions on certain social media providers (Twitter characters), remove the requirement to include the name of the chairperson or treasurer of a political or other organization in an attribution, establish new penalties for late-filed candidates’ campaign finance report, address lobbyists’ reporting format and penalties, and require the Office of the Secretary of State to publish precinct level primary and general election results for certain races. 

 

H Sub SB 336- House Substitute for Senate Bill 336 amends statute in the revised Kansas Code for Care of Children governing access to information concerning a child alleged or adjudicated to be in need of care and child fatalities. It requires the Kansas Department of Children and Families (DCF) to release within seven days information about abuse or neglect of a child who has died. The information released would include a summary of previous reports of abuse or neglect of the child, as well as DCF recommendations. Under H Sub SB 336, law enforcement agencies would be required to release video after a shooting death within 20 days of a request being made by an heir of the person who died.

 

HB 2539 - House Bill 2539 would require every candidate for the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, or State Commissioner of Insurance to be a qualified elector of Kansas by the deadline for filing. The bill would also require the candidate to be at least 25 years or older. It would also require a candidate for Attorney General to be licensed to practice law in Kansas. It also allows State verification of the voter’s signature by the county election official on an application for an advance ballot not be required if the voter has a disability preventing the voter from signing.

 

HB 2579- House Bill 2579 creates and amends law regarding compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment. A claimant entitled to damages would receive $65,000 for each year of imprisonment, as well as no less than $25,000 for each additional year served on parole or post-release supervision. 

 

H Sub for SB391House Substitute for Senate Bill 391 would establish the Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force. It will consist of forty-four members including members of the legislature and private industry.  The committee will report back to the legislature in 2019 with evaluations on the 2010 Transportation Works Program, current conditions of roads and bridges, funding and future projects.  

 

SB 217- Senate Bill 217 would update several statutory references in accordance with enacted 2016 SB 449 and Executive Reorganization Order No. 41. The bill would replace the term “mentally retarded and other handicapped persons” in statutes with “individuals with intellectual or other disabilities” in accordance with current law.  

 

SB 307- Senate Bill 307 would make amendments to the Kansas Amusement Ride Act. It defines Limited-use amusement ride as an amusement ride that is owned and operated by a nonprofit, community-based organization and is operated for less than 20 days a year, at only one location each year. An “Amusement ride” would specifically exclude: antique amusement rides, limited-use amusement rides, registered agri-tourism activities, any ride commonly known as a hayrack ride, or a ride commonly known as a barrel train andAmusement rides owned by an individual and operated solely within a single county for strictly private use. It also defines water slide as a slide that is at least 30 feet in height and uses water to propel the patron through the ride. The bill would require an attendant to be stationed at each water slide 15 or more feet in height - water slides under 30 feet in height would not be subject to the requirements of the Amusement Ride Act. However, all slides 15 feet or morein height would still be required to have an attendant stationed at the slide while in operation.

 

SB 331- Senate Bill 331 would add to the list of designated state parks the Flint Hills Trail State Park located in Miami, Franklin, Osage, Lyon, Morris, and Dickinson counties, and Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park located in Logan County. SB 331 would also establish the Flint Hills Advisory Council, which would study and assess the development, staffing, maintenance, and promotion of the Flint Hills Nature Trail. 

 

Law Enforcement Memorial and Valor Awards

The Annual Law Enforcement Memorial was held at the Statehouse on May 4thon the Capitol grounds. No Kansas law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty over the past year, but four officers from previous years were inducted into the memorial. National Law Enforcement Memorial Week is May 13-19.  

 

The Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police held their Annual Valor Awards ceremony in Wichita on May 9th. Fifty-six men and women serving with sheriff departments, city police departments and the Kansas Highway Patrol across Kansas were recognized for their actions of bravery and heroic efforts in 2017.  Kade Odell from the Republic County Sheriff’s office, William Schwindamann, Leslie Jeter, Roberta Price with the Marshall County Emergency Management office, Police Chief Todd R. Ackerman, Todd D.R. Packett, James M. Leis and Timothy N. Anderson of the Marysville Police Department were all recognized with the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards from Senate District #36.  

 

 

Norton County Honor Hunt – Disabled Veterans

The Norton County Honor Hunt organization is accepting applications for the December 7th-10th, 2018 event.  Thethree-day event held every Decemberis inconjunction with the start of deer season in Kansas.  The organization select Veterans who are at least 30% disabled and reside in the state of Kansas.The trip is an all-expense paid rifle or muzzleloader deer hunt throughout Norton County.  There is no requirement on previous hunting experience and this isn’t a “trophy hunt” but a way to show respect and hospitality to our men and women who protect our country.The hunt includes all meals from Wednesday evening to Friday evening, hotel, deer processing and packaging, hunting license and deer permit and gun & ammunition (if needed). For additional information, contact Tara Vance, Executive Director of the NortonCounty Community Foundation at 785 874-5106 or 874-8115.  Their website is:  www.nortoncountyhonorhunt.com

 

Governor’s Office of Appointments

The Office of Appointments assists the Governor with the appointment of over 1,000 individuals to serve on Kansas’ boards and commissions. All qualified and service-minded Kansans are encouraged to participate in our state's government by offering to serve on a board or commission or by recommending qualified candidates.  Additional information can be found at https://governor.ks.gov/serving-kansans/office-of-appointments.  If you are interested in the opportunity to serve or would like to nominate someone, please call the office at 785 368-7097 or email to boardsandcommissions@ks.gov.  

 

From the State Library

Summer Reading – Libraries Rock!  

Traditionally, summer reading programs in libraries are designed to encourage elementary-aged children to keep reading during summer vacation. Increasingly, teens and adults are included in these programs as well. This year’s theme, Build a Better Worldencourages children and families to read for pleasure through activities and programs centered around building, construction, and community. Starting June 2, the State Library of Kansas will post a new kids’ digital book of the week every Friday morning on our Summer Reading page http://kslib.info/srp.   Each book stays linked on that page for easy access throughout the summer. Teens and adults can find downloadable audio and ebooks by visiting http://kslib.info/digitalbooks.  No login is needed as long as you access the books from the SRP (Summer Reading Program) page. All of the books promoted are used in the internet browser. There is no need to set up apps or download files to enjoy these books. 

 

NFWL/NRA Bill of Rights Essay Scholarship Contest 

The National Foundation for Women Legislators and the National Rifle Association are co-sponsoring the 21thAnnual NFWL/NRA Bill of Rights Essay Scholarship Contest for college-bound female high school juniors and seniors.   The contest’s six winners will each receive a $3,000 college scholarship and an all-expenses-paid trip to NFWL’s Annual Conference November 13-17, 2018 in Washington DC where they will network with, be mentored by, and speak to hundreds of women lawmakers from across the United States.  For more information and to apply online go to www.womenlegislators.orgor call my office for additional information.  

 

Off Session Contact Information

The 2019 Kansas Legislative Session will begin January 14, 2019 when we will be back in our offices in Topeka.  Over the summer and fall, I can be reached at my legislative email at elaine.bowers@senate.ks.govor my work email elaine@concordiaautomart.com.  My work address in Concordia is 212 E. 6thSt., Concordia, KS  66901 and if you are in Concordia, drop by.   My daytime work number is 785 243-3325x2 or email me questions, concerns or ideas for legislative bills for the next session.  It is an honor to serve you in the 36thKansas Senate District and please feel free to contact me anytime.

 

Senator Elaine Bowers

Kansas State Capitol Building

Room 223-E

300 SW 10thSt.

Topeka, KS  66612 

elaine.bowers@senate.ks.gov

elaine@concordiaautomart.com

785 243-3325x 2 or 785 296-7389

www.kslegislature.org