Newsletter - February 25, 2018
I enjoyed hearing about the Liberal High School project to redesign education. Austin King, Larry Moore, Jillian Hawley, Kathy Croy, and Ashley Kappelman and I talked about the process, course offerings, scheduling and how it will improve education in our school system. USD #480 is on the cutting edge.
John Stossel speaking at a dinner I attended. Mr. Stossel is a true libertarian on both social issues and government regulation. I agree with him that many of the problems we face are from the unintended consequences of government regulation. In a search for accountability the bureaucratic burden drives up cost and drives down performance. I see this daily in education and healthcare.
At the local Rosa Parks Scholarship Banquet, I got to hear Rob Brown play the piano. I’ve known Rob for years but didn’t know how well he played the piano. Deja Webber was the recipient of the scholarship and her winning essay was amazing!
Lisa, in this inspirational story, is my office assistant. Her husband Rob, also works at the Capitol. Both are wonderful people and retired teachers. If you call the capitol for me she is the voice on the other end of the phone.
Last week was turn around week. Nonexempt bills cannot be passed out of the legislative body of origin after this. Most of January and February my time is spent in committee hearing and working bills. This week, we were on the floor passing the bills we had heard in committee. When we return, committee work will start up again and we will focus on the bills the Senate passed. Below is a little bit about some of the more important bills we passed. They still have a long way to go and may never become law or they may change quite a bit, but they have the opportunity to make an impact.
The House passed HB 2674 on Thursday, which would create the Kansas Telemedicine Act, to establish coverage parity between in-person and telemedicine-delivered healthcare. Under the provisions of the bill, telemedicine must meet the same standard of care as an in-person interaction and would increase access to healthcare services for patients in both rural and urban areas.
Not only would patients have increased access to services that aren’t readily available to them in their community, but also affords them greater convenient access, which may reduce long term health care costs associated with treatment due to a lack of services. In addition, HB 2674 provides coverage parity because the healthcare services provided could not be denied for reimbursement solely because of having been delivered via telemedicine or based on the lack of a physical location. Physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, and licensed mental health professionals alike would be able to dispense their services via telemedicine to patients in a more convenient manner, thereby improving the health and lifestyle of many who have difficulty accessing immediate healthcare. The bill also prohibits any authorization of delivery of any abortion procedure via telemedicine, and such language in the bill is nonseverable.
Swatting, Body Cameras, Compensation
for the Wrongfully Convicted
This week, the House passed three corrections-related bills that present commonsense solutions, including harsher penalties for those who make false 911 calls, require the release of law enforcement body camera footage to those who are involved, and to provide monetary compensation to individuals who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. HB 2581
, also known as the “swatting” bill, was originally drafted in response to the rising frequency of false 911 calls resulting in the unnecessary deployment of swat and law enforcement, but more specifically due to a death last year in Wichita. A California resident named Tyler Barriss disguised his phone number and called the authorities of Wichita, and claimed he was armed and dangerous, and resided in a Wichita household. Swat members were deployed under such impressions, and a resident named Andrew T. Finch was killed at the scene. This bill would significantly increase the criminal penalties for individuals who make these prank calls. Should such calls result in a fatality, the sentencing level would be a severity level 1, person felony, the harshest penalty on record in Kansas.
Additionally, the House passed HB 2571
which would require a law enforcement agency to allow designated individuals to hear or view any audio or video recording made by a body or vehicle camera within twenty days of receiving a request for information. Such designated individuals include the subjects of the recording, a parent or legal guardian of a minor who is involved, a legal heir to those involved, or an attorney representing any of these individuals mentioned. Lastly, HB 2579
entitles individuals who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned to receive $80,000 for each year of imprisonment, as well as $25,000 for each additional year served on parole or post release supervision. Claimants would be entitled to receive reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred as well, and such wrongfully convicted crimes would be expunged from their records.
Statewide Broadband Expansion
Task Force HB 2701
The mission of the Task Force would be as follows:
“A plural Legislature is as necessary to good Government as a single Executive. It is not enough that your Legislature should be numerous; it should also be divided. Numbers alone are not a sufficient Barrier against the Impulses of Passion, the Combinations of Interest, the Intrigues of Faction, the Haste of Folly, or the Spirit of Encroachment. One Divison should watch over and controul the other, supply its Wants, correct its Blunders, and cross its Designs, should they [be] made up of the Portions of Sense and Knowledge which each Member brings to it.” Benjamin Franklin
- Work collaboratively to evaluate the broadband needs of Kansas citizens, business, industries, institutions, and organizations;
- Consider any recent actions by the FCC relating to broadband services including, but not limited to
- The 2018 Broadband Deployment Report;
- Recommendations of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee; and
- Any actions to implement broadband initiatives using the Connect America Fund Phase II or the Remote Areas Fund; and
- Identify opportunities and potential funding sources to:
- Expand broadband infrastructure and increase statewide access to broadband services;
- Remove barriers that may hinder deployment of broadband infrastructure or access to broadband services;
- Enable the creation and deployment of new advanced communication technologies; and
- Prioritize expansion of broadband services first to unserved areas of the state and then to underserved areas of the state.
Please reach out to me regarding issues with our state government that I can help with. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. This insures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Please contact me anytime. My email is: Shannon.firstname.lastname@example.org
. Topeka Office Phone: (785) 296-7466 Office at the Capitol: 561W (fifth floor west wing) 300 SW 10th
Ave., Topeka KS 66612.