Notes from the 14th Kansas Senate District

Issue 6  


Notes from the 14th Kansas Senate District

Issue 6  


April 2018


And I thought March was madness.  April started with snow and sleet here in Topeka - on Easter.  That should have given me a clue what would happen in the upcoming week.  This has been a crazy week – with a lot accomplished.

On April 3, the Senate Majority Leader announced that the Senate would not take up a school finance bill until a constitutional amendment is passed.  Please note:  even if we were to pass a constitutional amendment this week, it would not help us meet the current deadline set by the Kansas Supreme Court for this year.  The court gave the legislature a deadline of April 30, 2018 to have a bill for them to review.  We are supposed to adjourn on April 6th and reconvene on April 26th.  It would be irresponsible to adjourn without taking action on the school issue.  The House has passed a bill that at first glance looks like it would meet the courts approval.

Current language in the Kansas Constitution:  “The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.”

Regarding a constitutional amendment.  The one that is being considered is a clear denouncement of the Kansas Supreme Court.  The proposed wording states that funding is “exclusively a legislative power” that decides what “suitable” funding is and no court can alter it.  I will agree that suitable needs to be defined better in our constitution.  However, I do not support this bill nor the timing of this bill.

The Senate passed SB 423. It was not what I wanted for Kansas schools.  However, there does not seem to be a path to bring a richer plan to the Senate floor.  I voted for it to move the process along.  A vote against it was going to send us home with nothing to give the Kansas Supreme Court.  The court may very well recall us to work on this issue.  I believe we can do better than the current SB 423.

Senate Bill 427 will bring back horse racing in Kansas.  Indirectly, there would be funds to reopen the track in Eureka (because Eureka would get a small percentage of the Woodlands take. To get this all done, the dog track North of Wichita would have to reopen with slot machines.  I’m not excited about that part but will swallow it to reopen Eureka.  The House Bill 2793 does the same thing with a bit different language.  I’m hoping for a vote on this issue very soon.  Representative Hibbard has worked very hard on the issue.

A summary of the bills passed is on my website! It is 50 pages long!  Very soon I will post my voting record on the website.

 If you have any questions, please contact me!

Senator Bruce Givens

300 SW 10th St.  225 E

Topeka KS 66612

Topeka Office:785-296-7678

Cell: 316-377-6605



From Your State Library

April is Financial Literacy Month. Check out Financial Literacy for Kansans for a list of trustworthy resources put together by the State Library of Kansas and organized by age group. Available from the State Library, Learning Express Library has added a new facet to their tutorials.  The Student Success Skills Center helps high school and college students develop health money habits including managing debt  and investing for life. To get to those tutorials, click on the LE link above, and then click on Skills for SuccessUniversal Class offers online courses such as Personal Finance 101, Investing 101, and Retirement Planning. Select “Finance” under the Areas of Study tab. Both resources require easy registration and self-supplied password to allow you to resume your work. Questions: kslc@library.ks.gov or 785-296-3296

Job & Career Accelerator is an integrated online career and job search resource.  With this job hunting system provided by the State Library of Kansas, you can create professional resumes and cover letters, practice and master interviewing skills, and get job search tips and advice. Using Career Match take a quiz to learn what occupations are the best matches based on your skills and interests. Students have easy access to job and internship opportunities. https://www.kslib.info/JCA

Explora is an online resource available from the State Library’s web site: http://kslib.info/students. Click on the grade appropriate icon for assistance with Middle School or High School homework or class assignments. Explora delivers high-quality articles from reputable publishers with no pop-ups or ads.  Reading level indicators allow selection of material that matches students’ reading abilities.  Broad topic overviews provide students with a starting point for their research.  Easy registration and self-supplied password is necessary to use these resources and allows you to resume your work.  If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas. Most people will be automatically recognized as inside Kansas and will not need this step.  Questions: contact the State Library at kslc@ks.gov or 785-296-3296.

The Kansas Talking Books program, a division of the State Library of Kansas, provides library materials in a specialized format to any Kansas resident with a visual impairment, physical impairment, or reading disability.  A signature from a certifying authority such as a medical doctor, optometrist, or librarian is needed.  This no-charge service includes fiction and nonfiction audiobooks, magazines such as Kansas! and Reader’s Digest, plus descriptive videos.  A simple application is available at https://kslib.info/talking-books .  If you would like information or an application, please visit the Kansas Talking Books website https://kslib.info/talking-books or call 620-341-6280 or 1-800-362-0699.

Givens Appointed to Energy Council of North America

Senator Givens has been appointed to represent Kansas on The Energy Council,-North America, a legislative organization comprised of 12 state and two international affiliates drawn from the major North American energy producing regions of the United States and Canada.  The Energy Council provides an international forum for discussing government policies regarding energy and the environment, both issues close to the heart of Kansas District 14, the proud home of the great Kansas Flint Hills and the Kansas oil fields.

Entities that work cooperatively with the The Energy Council include the Pacific Northwest Economic Council, the Embassy of Canada and the Government of Alberta.  Topics addressed by the Energy Council include America’s infrastructure, coal, energy and environmental policy, energy research, federal regulations, reliability, resiliency and the power grid.  The broad Energy Council works with energy uses and producers on all continents.




The Senate recently recognized the 2018 Kansas Master Teachers.  Senators, including Bruce Givens (R-El Dorado) introduced Senate Resolution 1781, congratulating and commending this year’s Master Teachers.

Emporia State University established the Master Teacher awards in 1954. The awards are presented annually to teachers who have served the profession for at least five years and exemplify outstanding qualities. Candidates are nominated by their school district and the selection committee decides on seven recipients. Only one person from a USD can be selected.

The 2018 Master Teachers are:

  • Connstance Allmond- El Dorado
  • Deanna Burton- Manhattan
  • Abby Cornelius- Overland Park
  • Todd Flory- Andover
  • Chitra Harris- Wichita
  • Matthew Irby- Emporia
  • Kimberly S. Schneweis- Hays

Connstance Allmond,, is an El Dorado Middle School teacher working in an interrelated classroom.

This year’s Kansas Master Teacher Recognition Day was held on April 4th at Emporia State University.

Colyer signs 5 bills

Gov. Jeff Colyer recently signed five additional bills into law. That takes him to 41 this session.

Here they are, as described by his staff:

HB 2516: Provides civil immunity for damaging a motor vehicle in the process of rescuing an animal or person in danger.

 HB 2524: Allows wireless telephone number transfers to be included in protection from abuse orders.

HB 2590: Amends law relating to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

HB 2628: Allows the City of Pratt to dissolve its airport authority by adopting an appropriate ordinance.

SB 279: Amends the Gas Safety and Reliability Policy Act.


Circle Middle School Students


Seven 8TH grade social studies students from Circle Middle School earned the

 opportunity for a day in the Capital with their teacher, McKenzie Smithson.  



Senator Givens sponsored four students as Pages.

Jackson Bumgarner, Remington Middle School, was a Page for Senator Givens


  • According to the State General Fund Profile for FY 2016-2022, Kansas will have a $300.7 million deficit. This does not include additional funding to K-12 education and continues to transfer sales tax from the State Highway Fund. (Kansas Legislative Research Department).
  • Kansas is one of seven states with decreasing unemployment rates as of February 2018 (S. Department of Labor).
  • According to unemployment insurance weekly review, weekly claims for the week for March 23rd are 24.9 percent less than last year (Kansas Department of Labor).
  • In 2017, Kansas had 88,000 veterans in the civilian labor force. The Kansas veteran unemployment rate was 2.5% (Kansas Department of Labor)
  • Four of the five metropolitan areas reported positive job growth since December 2017 with Kansas City reporting the largest gain of 800 jobs (Kansas Department of Labor).
  • Service Master DSI will move its headquarters to Shawnee. It is estimated this will generate 100 new jobs in the area with an average salary of $67,000 (Kansas Department of Commerce).
  • For each dollar earned as a result of vocational rehabilitation placement, there is about $1.66 in total earnings generated through the economy (Kansas Department for Children and Families)
  • The agriculture industry employs nearly 247,000 Kansans, accounting for 13 percent of the state’s workforce (Kansas Department of Agriculture)
  • In Kansas, there are 46,137,295 acres of farmland, which accounts for 88 percent of all Kansas land. More than 21 million acres in Kansas is harvested for crops and over 16 million acres is pasteurized for grazing animals (Kansas Department of Agriculture).
  • From 2000 to 2015, Kansas soybean farmers have increased no-till acres planted by 41 percent (Kansas Soybean Association).


Governor Jeff Colyer signed an executive order covering all 105 counties in Kansas on the hazard of severe drought and wildfires. He placed 28 counties in emergency status, 29 in warning status, and 48 in watch status. The executive order comes after several wildfires took place over the past week. The most severe region in the state includes Hamilton, Barton, Rice, Reno, Sedgwick, and Sumner counties. The least threatened areas include counties on the Nebraska line and Northeast Kansas along the Missouri border. 


India Day at the Kansas Capitol was held on Wednesday March 14th. The event was sponsored by Governor Colyer, Senate President Wagle, Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman, and Senator Rob Olson. The event promoted Indian culture and recognized prominent Indian decision makers from across the state. There were numerous tables in the Capitol rotunda that showcased different regions, religions, arts, and culture of India.


On March 15 the legislature received the highly anticipated Legislative Coordinating council requested 156-page report by Dr. Lori Taylor on K-12 education funding in Kansas., Dr. Taylor presented the report to the House K-12 Education Budget Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance.  The study provided three recommendations of either $451 million, $1.7 billion, or $2 billion.

The $451 million scenario would be enough to maintain current student achievement targets in reading and math while improving graduation rates toward 95 percent as set by the Kansas State Board of Education. The $1.7 billion scenario would increase achievement further and the most expensive scenario, $2 billion, calls for even higher achievement standards toward the 95% rate.

The study explained that the additional money is needed to reach a 95 percent graduation rate.  Iowa ranks at number one with a graduation rate of 91 percent. The national average is 84.1 percent. Kansas has a graduation rate of 86.1 percent placing it 22nd in the nation.

Dr. Taylor was hired by the Legislative Coordinating Council after the Supreme Court ruled in October that last year’s increase of $300 million in state aid, paid for with a tax increase, was not enough. The


The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee held hearings on SB 401, the Adoption Protection Act. The bill works to protect faith-based adoption agencies from being forced to place children in homes that violate their religious beliefs. The bill would ensure that faith-based organizations cannot be denied permits, licenses, or authorizations due to their refusal of placing children in certain homes.

There are currently no laws that restrict organizations that do not receive state funding from their placement criteria, but SB 401 is meant to act as a proactive measure. Proponents of the bill want to ensure that faith-based organizations are free to serve and protected from any future policies that might target them.

Opponents of the bill say it is discriminatory against same-sex couples since faith-based adoption agencies would be allowed to deny child placement to those couples.

The Kansas Department of Children and Families supports SB 401, saying that it allows for more adoption agencies to help place the 7,000 children that are currently in DCF custody.

The 2018 Senate



March 22nd was Armed Forces Appreciation Day at the Capitol. Outside the statehouse, members of the Kansas National Guard showcased military equipment including specific equipment used to help fight wildfires.

Governor Jeff Colyer signed two proclamation recently, the first officially declared March 22nd as Armed Forces Appreciation Day in Kansas. The second proclamation declares Thursday, March 29th as Vietnam War Veterans Day, honoring Kansans who fought in the Vietnam War.


Kansas school children led the way for the

DESIGNATION OF THE STATE ROCK, MINERAL, GEMSTONE, AND FISH (HB 2650): House Bill 2650 designates the state rock as greenhorn limestone; the state mineral as galena; the state gemstone as jelinite amber; and the state fish as the channel catfish. This bill passed the Senate 38-0.


MOTORCYCLE APPROVED SAFTEY TRAINING CURRICULUM (SUB HB 2194): Substitute for House Bill 2194 would exempt applicants for Class M (motorcycle) driver’s licenses who have completed curriculum recognized by the Kansas Department of Education and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation from completing further written and driving testing by the Division of Vehicles. The bill would require an applicant who completes a motorcycle safety curriculum to provide a copy of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation completion form to the Division of Vehicles prior to receiving a Class M license. The bill would also clarify the driving examination required for licensure shall be administered by the Division of Vehicles, the U.S. Department of Defense, or as part of a recognized curriculum. This bill passed the Senate 40-0. 

ALCOHOLIC CANDY (HB 2476): House Bill 2476 defines “alcoholic candy” as any candy or other confectionery product with an alcohol content greater than 1.0 percent alcohol by volume. Alcoholic candy would be subject to regulation by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Kansas Department of Revenue, and retailers would be required to have a liquor license to sell such products. The bill also would increase an exemption for the alcohol allowed in confectionery products under current law regarding adulterated foods from less than 0.5 percent to not more than 1.0 percent.

The bill would also allow licensed microbrewers in the State to produce beer containing up to 15.0 percent alcohol by weight. Current law prohibits microbrewers from producing beer with more than 10.0 percent alcohol by weight. A microbrewery licensee would be allowed to sell beer manufactured by the licensee in refillable and sealable containers to consumers for off-premises consumption if containers do not contain less than 32 fluid ounces or more than 64 fluid ounces of beer. Licensees would be required to affix labels to all containers sold, which would include the licensee’s name and the name and type of beer in such container. This bill passed the Senate 38-2.  I voted yes.

EMERGENCY OR CATASTROPHE (HB 2469): House Bill 2469 prohibits local units of government from imposing restrictions or enforcing local licensing or registration ordinances on insurance claims’ handling operations during any catastrophic event threatening life or property. The bill would require insurers to notify the city or county prior to establishing a claims handling operation. Under the bill, a political subdivision would not be prohibited from exercising its police power when necessary to preserve public health and welfare, including, but not limited to, enforcing its building, zoning, and fire safety codes.  This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

OFFENDER’S CRIMINAL HISTORY CLASSIFICATION (HB 2567): House Bill 2567 modifies a statute governing determination of criminal history to replace references to “another state” with “the convicting jurisdiction,” clarify the comparable offense to be used for comparison for misdemeanor crimes in another jurisdiction is the offense under the Kansas Criminal Code in effect on the date the current crime of conviction was committed and standardize terminology.

The bill also would add a provision that if a crime is not classified as either a felony or misdemeanor in the convicting jurisdiction, the comparable offense under the Kansas Criminal Code in effect on the date the current crime of conviction was committed shall be used to classify the out-of-state crime as either a felony or misdemeanor. If Kansas does not have such comparable offense, the out-of-state crime would not be used in classifying the offender’s criminal history. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

TRIBAL REGALIA AND OBJECTS OF CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE AT PUBLIC EVENTS (HB 2498): House Bill 2498 would prohibit state agencies and municipalities from prohibiting any individual from wearing tribal regalia or objects of cultural significance at an event held or sponsored by a state agency or municipality, including, but not limited to, an award ceremony, a graduation ceremony, or a meeting of a governing body. Kansas Legislature declares the purpose of the bill is to help further the State’s recognition of the distinct and unique cultural heritage of Native Americans and the State’s commitment to preserving Native Americans’ cultural integrity. On the effective date of the bill, the Secretary of State would have to send a copy of the bill to each tribal government on the four reservations in Kansas on the effective date of the bill. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

CHANGING LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR CHILD CARE FACILITIES (SB 428): Senate Bill 428 changes the licensure requirements for a child care facility operating in a public recreation center or school. A public recreation center means any building used by a political or taxing subdivision of the state, and does not include child care facilities located in an individual’s residence. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

CAMPUS FREE SPEECH PROTECTION ACT (SB 340): Senate Bill 340, the Campus Free Speech Protection Act, forbids public universities from creating free-speech zones, requiring students from adopting certain beliefs, and prevents schools from banning speakers based on the content of their speech.

SB 340 was introduced to protect all students’ First Amendment rights and helps to prevent unfair treatment due to students’ individual beliefs. Censorship on college campuses has been an issue throughout the nation in recent years, growing even more common since the 2016 election. The implementation of free-speech zones act as restrictive measures where students are only allowed to express their beliefs or host tabling in designated areas on campus. Legislators argued during debate that as state institutions, students should be allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights throughout the entire campus. This bill failed 20-20 (21 votes are needed to pass). I voted for the bill

CLARIFYING JUVENILE OFFENDER REVIEW REQUIREMENTS (HB 2454): House Bill 2454 would amend the statute in the Revised Kansas Juvenile Justice Code governing detention hearings to expand the permitted use of two-way electronic audio-visual communication between the juvenile and the judge. The bill would further amend law related to detention review hearing by adding a provision stating that hearings are not required for a juvenile offender that is held in detention awaiting case disposition. If a juvenile is being held in detention, HB 2454 would require sentencing to take place within 45 days after the juvenile has been adjudicated. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

PROHIBITING GUN OWNERSHIP TO THOSE CONVICTED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (HB 2145): House Bill 2145 would prohibit gun ownership to those convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense within the last five years. HB 2145 would also amend state law by adding throwing star with intent to harm as a crime. Before this amendment, an individual could be held accountable for simply possessing a throwing star. This amendment clarifies that individuals can only be held accountable if they possess a throwing star and have an intent to harm another person. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

FIREARM RECIPROCITY (HB 2042): House Bill 2042 allows for the recognition of out-of-state concealed carry permits. HB 2042 requires individuals with out-of-state concealed carry permits to abide by Kansas law while in the state. This bill passed the Senate 25-15.  I voted for the bill.

DESIGNATING THE STATE ROCK, MINERAL, GEMSTONE, AND FISH (HB 2650): House Bill 2650 designates the state rock as greenhorn limestone; the state mineral as galena; the state gemstone as jelinite amber; and the state fish as the channel catfish. This bill passed the Senate 38-0.

AIRPORT AUTHORITY DISSOLUTION PROCEDURES (HB 2628): House Bill 2628 allows the City of Pratt to dissolve, via adoption of an appropriate ordinance, any airport authority created and established by the city. If such an airport authority is dissolved, the city would acquire the property of the authority subject to any leases or agreements made by the authority. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.

MODIFYING CERTAIN FEES IN THE KANSAS POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION ACT(HB 2542): House Bill 2542 removes the June 30, 2018, sunset on a statute authorizing the Kansas Board of Regents to fix, charge, and collect fees for state institutions domiciled or having their principal place of business outside the state of Kansas. The bill would also remove fees concerning program modification; om-site branch campus reviews; renewal of registration of a representative; and changes in institution profiles. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.

SELF SERVICE OF BEER FROM AUTOMATED DEVICES (SB 433): Senate Bill 433 allows licensed public venues, clubs, and drinking establishments to provide self-service beer to customers from automated devices in the same manner as is permitted for wine under current law. The licensee must monitor the dispensing of beer and must be able to control such dispensing. This bill passed the Senate 37-3.  I voted for the bill.

PROVIDING COMPENSATION FOR THE WRONGFULLY CONVICTED (HB 2579): House Bill 2579 creates a civil cause of action allowing claimants to seek damages from the state for wrongful conviction. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

REGULATING ACCESS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT RECORDINGS(HB 2571): House Bill 2571 modifies the statute governing disclosure of video or audio recordings made and retained by law enforcement using a body camera or a vehicle camera. HB 2571 would add a provision requiring the agency to allow the listening or viewing of the recording within 20 days after the request is made by the person who is subject to the recording or any parent or legal guardian if the subject is under 18 years old. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

URGING THE KCC TO LOWER RETAIL ELECTRIC RATES (SCR 1612): Senate Concurrent Resolution 1612 urges the State Corporation Commission (KCC) to have regionally competitive retail electric service rates and urges the KCC to take any and all lawful action to reduce Kansas electric rates to such levels and maintain the rates and such levels. This concurrent resolution passed the Senate 30-9.

AMENDING THE KANSAS STANDARD ASSET AND FORFEITURE ACT(HB 2459): House Bill 2459 amends the Kansas standard asset seizure and forfeiture act and establishes the Kansas asset seizure and forfeiture repository. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.

UNFAIR TRADE AND CONSUMER PROTECTION (HB 2580): House Bill 2580 eliminates consumer reporting agencies’ authority to charge certain fees related to consumer report security freezes. HB 2580 amends current law to allow a consumer to place a security freeze on the consumer’s consumer report by written request, sent by certified mail or regular mail, through a secure website if made available by a consumer reporting agency, or by telephone, if the consumer reporting agency does not have an available secure website. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

REPEALING RESTRICTIONS FOR KPERS INVESTMENTS WITH COMPANIES IN SUDAN (HB 2444): House Bill 2444 repeals requirements of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) Board regarding new investments and divestment of current investments in companies with business operations in Sudan. The bill would also repeal the associated indemnification for the KPERS Board and its employees, research firms, and investment management. This bill passed the Senate 38-2.  I voted for the bill.

RAINY DAY FUND (HB 2419): House Bill 2419 concerns transfers to and expenditures from the budget stabilization fund. HB 2419 outlines that the rainy-day fund would earmark any excess revenue or over-projected estimates to be split in half, with 50 percent to pay off debt to the PMIB loan and the other 50 percent to be stored in a rainy-day fund for when projected revenues are short of projections. Historically, the legislature spends available money rather than set aside money to meet the statutory requirement of a seven percent remaining balance. This bill failed the Senate 21-19. 

I voted for the bill.

AMENDING THE UNIFORM ANATOMICAL GIFT ACT(HB 2472): House Bill 2472 amends the uniform anatomical gift act to give drivers license applicants’ authorization to be listed as an organ, eye, and tissue donor in the Kansas donor registry. HB 2472 would require the word “Donor” be placed on the front of the driver’s license or identification card of an individual who provides authorization on an application for a driver’s license or an identification card to be listed in the Registry. The gift would become effective upon the death of the donor. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

HEALTH OCCUPATIONS CREDENTIALING FEE FUND (HB 2501): House Bill 2501 would create the Health Occupations Credentialing Fee Fund to be administered by the Secretary for Aging and Disability Services. Fees collected under provisions of the Adult Care Home Licensure Act, Dieticians Licensing Act, Operator Registration Act, and the act regulating speech-language pathologists and audiologists would be deposited into the fee fund instead of the State General Fund. This bill passed the Senate 39-1. I voted for the bill.

OMBUDSMAN LONG-TERM CARE PROGRAM (HB 2590): House Bill 2590 amends the state long-term care ombudsman program, activities, and access to certain records. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT AND RADIATION CONTROL ACT (S Sub HB 2600): Senate Substitute for House Bill 2600 provides for the assessment of fees by the Department of Health and Environment for noncontiguous sites where radioactive material is stored or used. S Sub HB 2600 also directs the Secretary of Health and Environment to study and investigate maternal deaths in Kansas. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

WORKERS COMPENSATION DEATH BENEFITS (S Sub HB 2184): Senate Substitute for House Bill 2184 amends workers compensation death benefits. The act allows for an initial payment to be shared between the surviving spouse and the dependent children. This bill passed the Senate 35-5.  I voted against the bill.

INCREASED PENALTIES FOR FAKE POLICE CALLS (HB 2581): House Bill 2581 increases the criminal penalties for the crime of giving a false alarm in certain circumstances. The practice which is known as “swatting,” is when a person makes a call to the police with a false story of an ongoing crime in attempt to draw police officers to a particular address. Any false call for emergency help would be at least a misdemeanor, becoming a felony if the person uses a fake identity or electronically masks their identity. HB 2581 would make fake calls that result in death a felony comparable to second-degree murder. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

HUNTING GUIDES AND OUTFITTER REGISTRATION (SB 301): Senate Bill 301 requires hunting guides and outfitters to register with the Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. This bill passed the Senate 31-9.  I voted for the bill.

EXEMPTING DIVISION OF LEGISLATIVE POST AUDIT FROM PAYING MONUMENTAL BUILDING SURCHARGES (S Sub HB 2129): Senate Substitute for House Bill 2129 exempts the Division of Legislative Post Audit from paying any monumental building surcharge charged and collected by the Department of Administration or any other state agency that is levied against all state agency-leased square footage in Shawnee County. This bill would permit the Secretary of Administration to approve a new lease or renew or extend an existing lease without an energy audit being performed if the Secretary determines an energy audit is not economically feasible. This bill passed the Senate 33-7.  I voted for the bill.

INTEROPERABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (Sub HB 2556): Substitute for House Bill 2556 establishes the state interoperability advisory committee. In 2007, the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee was created by Executive Order to provide governance and guidance pertaining to the interoperability of public safety communications systems. The committee’s focus has been on radio frequency communications and data interoperability. HB 2556 would take the current statewide council and put it in statute. The bill would direct the committee to make recommendations to the Adjutant General’s Department (TAG). This bill passed the Senate 37-3.  I voted for the bill.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS, CHOOSE LIFE, WICHITA LICENSE PLATE (HB 2599): House Bill 2599 provides for the distinctive plates for Special Olympics, Choose Life, the Wichita city flag. The bill also authorizes special license plates for veterans of the Korean War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. This bill passed the Senate 36-2 . I voted for the bill.

COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE RENEWAL (HB 2511): House Bill 2511 would make commercial driver’s licenses renewable every five years. The bill would extend the period of time before expiration from four years to five years. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

RENEWAL OF DRIVER’S LICESNES; VISION REQUIREMENT (HB 2606): specifies vision test requirements for qualifying applicants for electronic online driver’s license renewal. The bill would waive the requirement currently that a driver’s license examiner administer an eyesight exam prior to the electronic online renewal of a driver’s license only under certain conditions. An applicant for an online renewal must be at least 21 years old but less than 50 years old and confirm under penalty of law that their vision meets requirements currently in law of 20/40 or better in at least one eye as tested by the driver’s license examiner, or 20/60 or better in at least one eye submitted in a vision report from an ophthalmologist or optometrist. The applicant must certify they have undergone an examination by a licensed ophthalmologist or a licensed optometrist within the previous year and must authorize the exchange of vision and medical information between the Division of Vehicles and the applicant’s ophthalmologist or optometrist. This bill passed the Senate 35-5.  I voted for the bill.

DESIGNATING SEDGWICK COUNTY AS URBAN AREA (HB 2597): House Bill 2597 designates Sedgwick County as an urban area, concerning nonprofit cemetery corporations in certain urban area counties. The designation would allow the Kansas Legislature to pass laws specific to those areas. Currently, Johnson, Wyandotte, Shawnee, and Greeley counties already have this designation. The designation only allows for a county to make a request for specific legislation. This bill passed the Senate 39-1.

 QUALIFICATIONS FOR LICENSING OF PROESSIONAL OCCUPATIONS (S Sub HB 2386): Senate Substitute for House Bill 2386 implements restrictions on requirements for licensing of professional occupations. S Sub HB 2386 would require any person, board, commission, or similar body that determines the qualifications of individuals for licensure, certification, or registration to revise their existing requirements to list the specific civil and criminal records that could disqualify an applicant from receiving a license, certification, or registration. The revision would occur within 180 days after the effective date of the bill. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

NURSE LICENSURE COMPACT (HB 2496): House Bill 2496 creates the Nurse Licensure Compact and amend the Kansas Nurse Practice Act to enable the Board of Nursing to carry out the provisions of the Compact and establish the duties of registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) under the Compact. The Compact allows RNs and LPNs to have one multi-state license, with the privilege to practice in the home state of Kansas and in other Compact states physically, electronically, and/or telephonically. This bill Passed the Senate 40-0.

THE CHILD CARE CRIMINAL BACKGROUND AND FINGERPRINTING FUND (HB 2639): House Bill 2639 requires local and state law enforcement officers and agencies to assist the Secretary of Health and Environment in taking and processing fingerprints of persons residing, working, or regularly volunteering in a child care facility and to release all records of adult convictions and non-convictions and adult convictions or adjudications of another state or country to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. KDHE would be required to adopt rules and regulations on January 1, 2019 to fix a fee for fingerprinting such persons as required to reimburse KDHE for the cost of fingerprinting. The bill would create the Child Care Criminal Background and Fingerprinting Fund in the State Treasury to be administered by the Secretary. All fingerprinting fees collected would be deposited in the Fund for use in paying local and state law enforcement officers and agencies for the processing of fingerprints and criminal history background checks. This bill passed the Senate 36-4.  

I voted for the bill.

APPROPRIATION REVISIONS (Sub SB 269): Substitute Senate Bill 269 creates appropriation revisions for FY 2018 and FY 2019 for various state agencies.

In FY 2018, Sub. SB 269 recommends expenditures of $16.3 billion, including $6.7 billion from the State General Fund. The recommendation is an all funds reduction of $3.0 million and a State General Fund increase of $1.6 million from the Governor’s Recommendation for FY 2018.

Some key components for the FY 2018 appropriation revisions:

  • Add $1.5 million, all from the State General Fund to fully fund the Technical Education Incentive for the Department of Education.

For FY 2019, Sub. SB 269 recommends expenditures of $16.8 billion, including $6.8 billion from the State General Fund. The recommendation is a reduction of $79.2 million, including $80.7 million from the State General Fund, from the Governor’s Recommendation for FY 2019. The bill also reduces State General Fund revenue by $11.7 million for FY 2019.

Some key components of the FY 2019 appropriation revisions:

  • Add $22.1 million, including $10.0 million from the State General Fund, for an increase in nursing facility reimbursements rates.
  • Add $4.7 million, including $2.1 million, from the State General Fund, to provide a salary adjustment to all employees who did not receive a salary adjustment as part of the 2017 Legislative Pay Plan.
  • Add $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 for the Department of Children and Families.

 This bill passed the Senate 34-6.  I voted for the bill.

DEFENDANT’S COMPETENCY AND COMMITMENT FOR TREATMENT (HB 2549): House Bill 2549 creates judicial determinations of defendant’s competency and commitment for treatment. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE ON DYSLEXIA (Sub HB 2602): Substitute House Bill 2602 establishes the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia and Other Reading Comprehension Impairments (Task Force), which would advise and make recommendations to the Governor, Legislature, and the Kansas State Board of Education regarding matters concerning the use of evidence-based practices for students with dyslexia and other reading comprehension impairments. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

RESCUING VULNERABLE PERSON OR ANIMAL FROM A VEHICLE (HB 2516): House Bill 2516 provides immunity from civil liability for damage to a motor vehicle for a person who enters the vehicle, by force or otherwise, to remove a vulnerable person or domestic animal if they are in imminent danger. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

SCRAP METAL THEFT REDUCTION ACT (SB 429): Senate Bill 429 delays certain provisions of the Scrap Metal Theft Reduction Act until January 1, 2020. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE OFFICE OF SHERIFF (HB 2523): House Bill 2523 amends the statute setting forth the qualifications required of sheriffs. Specifically, the bill would narrow language disqualifying a person from holding the office of sheriff if the person has been convicted of a violation of any federal or state laws or city ordinances relating to gambling, liquor, or narcotics. The bill would disqualify only for a misdemeanor related to gambling, liquor, or narcotics within five years immediately proceeding election or appointment. HB 2523 would remove a specific 320-hour training requirement and clarify the training and testing required of sheriffs. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING (SB 352): Senate Bill 352 requires transportation funding for school districts from the state general fund, not the state highway fund; making and concerning appropriations for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

LOCAL OPTION BUDGET (SB 422): Senate Bill 422 requires a minimum local option budget and requires school boards to notify the state board of education of their intent to increase local option budget authority. Any resolution increasing a district’s local option budget adopted prior to July 1, 2017, that was not subsequently submitted to an approved by a majority of the district’s qualified electors, would expire June 30, 2018. Districts that desire to increase their local option budget authority for the next school year would submit written notice of such intent to the State Board of Education by March 1. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

REFERENCES RELATED TO KDADS AND DCF (S Sub HB 2028): Senate Substitute for House Bill 2028 updates statutory references related to the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and the Kansas Department for Children and Families in accordance with 2-12 Executive Reorganization Order No. 41. The bill would make conforming and technical amendments to law. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

STATEWIDE BROADBAND EXPANSION PLANNING TASK FORCE (S Sub HB 2701): Senate Substitute for House Bill 2701 creates a broadband expansion planning task force. The purpose of this task force is to develop a group to evaluate and expand broadband throughout Kansas. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

ALLOWING CRIMINAL CASES TO BE STAYED DURING STATE APPEAL OF WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (HB 2479): House Bill 2479 allows criminal cases to be stayed during state of appeal of writ of habeas corpus relief. HB 2479 creates procedures and limitations concerning contact with jurors following a criminal jury trial and clarifies grand jury proceedings. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

COUNTERFEIT CURRENCY, MISTREATMENT LAWS, AND DEFINING LAW ENFOCEMENT OFFICER (HB 2458): House Bill 2458 defines counterfeiting currency as anything intended to defraud through forging currency. Another element of this bill combines the two laws into one that deal with mistreatment of a dependent adult and elder person. HB 2458 also amends the definition of law enforcement officer to include uniformed or properly identified while on duty. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

GOLF CARTS ON CERTAIN STREETS AT NIGHT (HB 2486): House Bill 2486 allows golf carts to be driven on any public street or highway between sunset and sunrise if the golf cart has lights as required by law for motorcycles and has a properly mounted slow moving vehicle emblem. This bill passed the Senate 36-4.  I voted for the bill.

AMEND CERTAIN SALES TAXATION FOR MOTOR VEHICLES (SB 367): Senate Bill 367 amends current sales tax law that includes the value of a rebate from a manufacturer of a new vehicle to the potential buyer. Current law includes this amount to calculate sales tax liability. SB 367 requires the rebate to be paid directly to the retailer. This bill passed the Senate 38-0.

KANSAS RIGHT-TO-KNOW FEE FUND (HB 2577): House Bill 2577, as amended creates a maximum annual fee for the Right-To-Know Program that would only be used for the administration of the Program. Current law allows the fees to go into a general fund. The Program deals with hazardous substances.  This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

CONTROL AND ERADICATION OF NOXIOUS WEEDS (HB 2583): House Bill 2583 clarifies definitions for terms related to noxious weeds. This legislation allows the Secretary of Agriculture to declare an emergency for noxious weeds that can be potentially harmful because of a natural disaster. This bill passed the Senate 36-4. 

I voted for the bill.

HIGH-PERFORMANCE INCENTIVE PROGRAM TAX CREDIT (SB 430): Senate Bill 430 extends 50 percent of the unused High-Performance Incentive Program tax credits beyond the current carryforward limit, from 16 years to 25 years, for those taxpayers who initially claimed a HPIP credit prior to January 1, 2018. In any tax year after the 16th year, the amount of tax credits used by a taxpayer would be limited to 10 percent of the reduced amount. Taxpayers would be required annually to certify under oath to the Secretary of Commerce that they continue to meet HPIP requirements. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR CANDIDATES SEEKING CERTAIN STATEWIDE OFFICES (HB 2539): House Bill 2539 would amend qualifications for certain state offices. This legislation would clarify require these positions to be a “qualified elector.” A qualified elector must be at least 30 years old when becoming a candidate for the office of the governor or lieutenant governor. Another provision is a candidate must be licensed to practice law in Kansas for the office of the attorney general.

The House’s original age requirement for the office of governor and lieutenant governor was 18 before the Senate changed it to 30. The final age requirement will be settled in conference. This bill passed the Senate 29-9.

I voted for the bill. 

CORRUPT POLITICAL ADVERTISING (HB 2642): House Bill 2642 amends the “corrupt political advertising” statute. Currently, social media communication is exempt from the requirement to include “paid for” or “sponsored by” information if the limit of characters is 200. The amended bill increases that limit to 280 characters. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

KANSAS ADOPTION AND RELINQUISMENT ACT (HB 2481): House Bill 2481 provides several provisions to the Kansas Adoption and Relinquishment Act. Senator Molly Baumgardner (R-Louisburg) placed an amendment on the bill which protects faith-based adoption agencies. This bill passed the Senate 28-12.  I voted for the bill.

KANSAS PET ANIMAL ACT (HB 2477): House Bill would create several changes to the Kansas Pet Animal Act pertaining to licensure of those providing temporary care of dogs or cats, maximum license fees, notice of inspections, requested inspections, no-contact inspections, failed inspections, and license renewal dates. This bill passed the Senate 34-6.  I voted for the bill.

INCOME TAX REFUND FOR CERTAIN NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS (Sub HB 2147): Substitute House Bill 2147 would create a process by which certain Native American military veterans would be able to apply for a refund of state personal income taxes improperly withheld from such veteran’s federal military income in the amount of income taxes paid plus interest. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

REMOVING ALCOHOL AS A SPECIAL FUEL (HB 2488): House Bill 2488 would remove the word “alcohol” from the definition of “special fuels” under the motor-fuel tax law. The bill clarifies how fuels are taxed. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.

SALES TAX AUTHORITY FOR THOMAS COUNTY (HB 2492): House Bill 2492 increases the maximum local sales tax rate that can be imposed by Thomas Country from 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, provided all taxes levied in excess of 1.00 percent remain earmarked for financing a courthouse, jail, law enforcement center, or other county administrative facility. An election would be required for an increase in the current Thomas County sales tax, which is 1.5 percent. This bill passed the Senate 38-2.

I voted for the bill.

STATE FAIR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS FUND (SB 415): Senate Bill 415 creates a diversion of state sales tax receipts so that collections by the Kansas State Fair and retailers on the fairgrounds would be deposited into the State Fair Capital Improvements Fund, effective July 1, 2018. Current law allocates 83.8 percent of collections go to the State General Fund and 16.2 percent go to the State Highway Fund. This bill would repeal an existing statutory transfer from the State General Fund to the State Fair Capital Improvements Fund. This bill passed the Senate 40-0.