Legislative Update from Representative Shannon Francis

Newsletter - March 28, 2021

This week marked the end of committee work for nearly every committee in the legislature. Now both houses will spend even more time on their floors debating bills.  Conference committees made up of members of both houses will also meet to try and resolve differences in the House and Senate version of bills.
The House acted on 31 bills and resolutions this week. We are headed toward the final two weeks of the regular session and there are still many issues in play. House Republicans continue to work to improve the lives and health of Kansans while respecting and protecting our freedoms.

House Advances Major Mental Health Reform Legislation

This week the House approved Senate Bill 238. The bill was one of the recommendations that came out of an interim study on how to improve and modernize the state’s mental health services. SB 238 establishes a certification process for Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) to transition into Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). This move is anticipated to increase access to services, improve care, and keep individuals in need of services out of jail and emergency rooms. Other states already have CCBHCs in operation and have seen positive outcomes:
  • Missouri saw a 36% reduction in emergency room visits; 20% reduction in hospitalizations; 13% increase in access to care/patients served; and a 19% increase in number of veterans served.
  • Oklahoma realized a net savings of more than $2 million in three years when comparing CCBHC to the CMHC model due to reductions in crisis intervention and hospitalizations. They also had a 21% reduction in hospitalizations and a 14% reduction in emergency room visits.
  • Oregon saw state hospital savings of $12.65 million and provided treatment to 17% more individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.
House Supports Rural Hospitals, Provides Innovative GrantsThis week the House voted on legislation to help create sustainable access to healthcare in our rural communities. SB 175 includes both the Rural Emergency Hospital Act and the Rural Hospital Innovation Grant Program.
  • Provide a pathway for existing hospitals with less than 50 beds to transition to a new federal designation of “Rural Emergency Hospital.” The bill also brings Kansas in line with federal regulations.  
  • Make up to $10 million in state matching grants available to qualifying rural hospitals. These grants must be used to implement changes needed at the community level to survive in the current healthcare market, such as modernizing the local healthcare model or right sizing the hospital for the size of the community.
House Passes Alternative Work Opportunity ProgramsHouse Bill 2401, allows the Secretary of Corrections to enter public-private partnerships for projects at correctional institutions. This will boost educational and workforce opportunities for incarcerated individuals, while also helping employers better meet their critical workforce needs. In addition, research shows that employment in livable wage jobs can reduce recidivism by at least half.

Federal Update on Unemployment ProgramsAs a result of federal legislation, pandemic-related unemployment packages - which were originally set to expire on March 14, 2021 - have now been extended in Kansas through September 4, 2021. Here is an overview of the most pertinent unemployment insurance programs:
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
    • PUA is the program that temporarily expands unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers.
    • Claimants filing for PUA with no previous PEUC claims should continue to file their claims each week for PUA.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
    • PEUC is the program that is utilized after an individual has exhausted traditional unemployment insurance benefits.
    • Eligible claimants should continue to file their weekly claims.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
    • FPUC is the program which supplements traditional unemployment insurance with $300 in weekly benefits.
    • If a claimant continues to file their claim each week, they are eligible for traditional unemployment insurance benefits, FPUC will automatically be added to their weekly benefits.
Additional Legislation Passed by the House This WeekHB 2078, Gives Kansas courts additional time to make it through the backlog of cases that have accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation does not
violate our 6th Amendment rights, which ensures defendants a public trial without unnecessary delay.  The bill also addresses prioritization of cases for trials based on factors such as relative prejudice to the defendant, the defendant’s assertion of the right to speedy trial, and availability of witnesses.
Without passage of this, Kansas courts would have 180 days or less to try all these cases. If not tried in that timeframe, criminal cases could be dismissed with prejudice. The House passed HB 2078 last month, sending it to the Senate for consideration. This week, the bill came back to us with a Senate change to lengthen the extension period by another year. The House approved of that change, sending the bill to the Governor for consideration.

HB 2150  Creating a definition of financial exploitation, requiring additional mandatory reporters, and increasing investigation days in the abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of certain adults. 

HB 2176  Clarify the vacation or exclusion of territory from city boundaries or release of easements. 

HB 2329  Updating the entities who are subject to the pipeline safety program of the state corporation commission.

SB 24  Prohibiting municipalities from imposing restrictions on customer’s use of energy based upon source of energy.  The bill was requested by representatives of Atmos Energy, Black Hills Energy, and Kansas Gas Service.

SB 26  Designating a portion of K-7 as the Senator Bud Burke memorial highway and designating a portion of U.S. Highway 77 as the CPL Allen E. Oatney and SP4 Gene A. Myers memorial highway.

SB 36  Requiring the Kansas highway patrol to make multiple vehicles checks within a set time for certain salvage vehicle pools and allowing salvage vehicle pools and dealers to apply for ownership documents for vehicles that are disclaimed by insurance companies.

SB 37  Updating producer licensing statutes pertaining to appointment, examinations, fees, licensing, renewal dates, continuing education, suspension, revocation and denial of licensure and reinstatement.  The bill was requested by the Kansas Insurance Department. 

SB 38  Establishing the Kansas pesticide waste disposal program and permitting up to $50,000 to be transferred annually from the Kansas agricultural remediation fund to a new Kansas pesticide waste disposal fund.

SB 52  Creating the Sedgwick county urban area nuisance abatement act. 

SB 55  Clarifying the authority of healing arts school clinics to provide healing arts services

SB 58  Prohibiting the filing of certain liens or claims against real or personal property and providing for criminal penalties.  The bill was requested by the Office of the Attorney General. 

SB 63  Enacting the back-to-school act to require school districts to provide a full-time, in person attendance option for all students beginning March 31, 2021, for school year 2020-2021. 

SB 64  Amending the private and out-of-state postsecondary educational institution act to clarify the state board of regents' authority and provide additional student protections and institutional accountability. 

SB 65  Decoupling the KIT and KIR workforce training programs from the high-performance incentive fund program. 

SB 66  Amending the angel investor tax credit with respect to the definition of qualified securities, tax credit limitations and amounts, investor requirements and extending the date that credits may be allowed.
SB 67  Expanding the definitions of all-terrain vehicles and recreational off-highway vehicles. 

SB 86  Conforming certain KPERS provisions with the federal CARES act.
SB 89  Exempting the transport of agricultural forage commodities from secured load requirements.

SB 90  Amending the Kansas rural housing incentive district act to permit bond funding for vertical residential renovation of older buildings in central business districts.

SB 95  Exempting motor vehicle odometer reading recording requirements when such recording requirements are exempted by federal law.

SB 99  Increasing the bond amount required for a vehicle dealer license and providing for display show licenses under the vehicle dealers and manufacturers licensing act.  The bill was requested by the Kansas Department of Revenue, Division of Vehicles.  The bill passed 121-2

SB 103  Amending the Kansas power of attorney act regarding the form of a power of attorney and the duties of third parties relying and acting on a power of attorney. 

SB 107  Enacting the uniform fiduciary income and principal act (UFIPA). 

SB 118  Providing for the dissolution of special districts and the assumption of responsibilities by a city or county. 

SB 143  Updating definitions and increasing maximum functional unit license and storage fees relating to grain and public warehouse laws.  The bill was requested by Senator Kerschen.  The bill passed 117-5.

Constituent Services

Thank you for the opportunity to continue serving working families in Seward County. Please reach out to me any time I can assist you with a state agency concern. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. This ensures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with.  You can reach me when I am in Topeka by email, by phone (785) 296-7466, or by mail at 300 SW 10th Avenue, 274-W, Topeka, KS 66612

Contact Shannon

At the Legislature

Room: 274-W
State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-7466

At Home:

1501 Tucker Court
Liberal, Kansas 67901
Phone: 620-624-9571

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