Newsletter - February 29, 2020
Why We Conduct The Census
The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.
The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
In mid-March, homes across the country will begin receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.
Here's a look at some of the key dates along the way:
- March 12 - 20: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.
- April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you'll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.
- April: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
- May - July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven't responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.
Coronavirus is in the news.
It will probably never affect you or me more than a temporary hit to the economy but we should still prepare like we would for any disaster. Below is a fact sheet from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
KPERS Reamortization Plan
The House debated HB 2503
this week, which was Governor Kelly’s plan to reamortize the KPERS retirement plan. It was amended to strip the Governor’s reamortization plan from the bill and instead continue down the fiscally-responsible path of paying off current debt. The amendment passed on a bipartisan vote of 125-0 with every Republican and Democrat voting for it
. Besides increasing the state’s pension debt by $4.4 billion, the Governor’s plan would have delayed paying off the state’s KPERS debt by another 10 years. HB 2503
, as amended, will fully pay the states deferred KPERS obligations, ultimately saving the state $209 million in interest. The bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration
. This same plan was voted down by the House last year, has been rejected by the KPERS Board of Trustees, and was denounced by the Governor herself in 2017.
Reciprocal Licensing for Military Service Members, Veterans, and Spouses
will allow veterans, military service members and their spouses to continue to work in their chosen professions while their families are stationed or relocating to Kansas. This would allow individuals who are licensed for a specific profession in another state to apply for and receive that same occupational or professional license in Kansas. This includes regulated professions such as accountants, cosmetologists, realtors and pharmacists. The bill was approved by the House on a vote of 123-2. The bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration
. This bill will help ease the transition for our veterans, military servicemembers and their spouses so they can continue their line of work when stationed or relocating to Kansas.
House Passes Legislation to Protect from Sexual Extortion
In an Internet age, sexual extortion is on the rise. Perpetrators often use the Internet and social media to attempt to extort individuals in a sexual manner. HB 2546
, approved by the House this week, aims to protect Kansans from these types of predators and provide Kansans with proper recourse in situations where they may have been extorted.
The bill would create the crime of sexual extortion, which is defined as threatening to injure the property or reputation of a person, commit violence against a person, or distribute an image or video of a person that is of a sexual nature or depicts a person in a state of nudity. Additionally, it would place any individual convicted of sexual extortion on the Sex Offender Registry if the crime involved a minor.
passed the House on a vote of 125-0. The bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
Make Kansas Work: First-Time Homebuyer Accounts Legislation Passes
This week the House passed HB 2516
, legislation enacting First-Time Homebuyers accounts on a vote of 123-2. The bill encourages individuals to set aside funds for costs associated with the purchase or construction of a first home. Structured like 529 college savings accounts, contributions to the savings accounts are tax deductible. Communities can also establish the accounts to attract professionals to make the move to their community.
The bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration
This was a Make Kansas Work
House Republican proposal that will allow the establishment of savings accounts that can assist individuals and their children and grandchildren to purchase their first home in Kansas.
Update on other Make Kansas Work Proposals
: Creating the Kansas Promise Act scholarship program. The bill passed the House on February 20 and has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.
: Creating the Rural Healthcare Innovation Fund. Was heard last week in House Appropriations Committee.
: Creating the Kansas Targeted Employment Act. Was heard earlier this month in House Commerce, Labor, and Economic Development Committee.
: Creating tax relief for Kansas seniors by raising the exemption for senior citizens receiving Social Security from $75,000 to $100,000 in annual income. Was heard earlier this month in House Taxation Committee.
Turnaround Day Has Arrived
On Thursday, the Legislature officially reached its halfway point, known as Turnaround Day. Turnaround marks the last day for non-exempt bills to be considered in their house of origin. That means the House’s focus is shifted primarily to working bills that were passed by the Senate during this first half of session, while the Senate takes up bills that were passed by the House.
Tuesday and Wednesday were exclusively devoted to debating bills and moving the process forward. A total of 38 bills were worked and approved on the House floor this week. They will now go to the Senate for consideration.
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’m in Topeka by email Shannon.email@example.com
, by phone (785) 296-7466, or by mail at 300 SW 10th
Avenue, 274-W, Topeka, KS 66612. My office at the Capitol is 274W, second floor west wing.