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Legislative Update from Representative Shannon Francis
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Newsletter - March 13, 2022 

 

Katie Classen



Katie Classen spent Tuesday at the Capitol assisting in my office, attending committee meetings, and learning more about the daily operations of the legislature.  I have met many great young people, like Katie, in our community and I’m impressed with the “next generation.”  Katie and I spent a lot of time talking.  Thanks, Katie, for sharing your knowledge and insight about what is important for your generation.  
 
If you know an older high school or college student that would like to spend the day in Topeka assisting in my office, attending committee meetings, and learning more about the daily operations of the legislature please contact me for more information.


 
While we are talking about the “Next Generation” I want to give a quick shout out to Ms. Vanessa DiazDeleon.  Vanessa was a close friend of my daughter’s and an LHS Graduate that came home to serve our community after graduating from KSU.  Last week she was recognized by the USD 480 Board of Education as the February Educator of the Month.  She is currently the Seymour Rogers Middle School Band Director and student council sponsor.  The article on her award states, “She is an excellent problem-solver and shows up early and stays late to help her students. Her hard work and passion also extends to fellow educators, as she will help other teachers overcome any learning obstacles. She is also a member of the SMRS building leadership team. We are so grateful to have Ms. DiazDeleon working with our middle school students and staff, she is a true educator.”
 

The Capitol

 Response to the COVID-19 pandemic; protecting healthcare workers

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature has worked diligently to pass legislation to address concerns in both the healthcare and business industries. This week the House passed SB 286, to extend the expiration dates from March 31, 2022, to January 20, 2023, for certain portions of the governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those provisions include:
 
  • Expansion of telemedicine
  • Use of hospital beds and non-hospital space
  • Immunity from civil liability for health care providers related to the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Immunity from civil liability for COVID-19 claims for businesses in substantial compliance with public health directives
  • Retroactivity provision regarding immunity from civil liability
  • Bed usage by critical access hospitals
The House amended the bill to adjust the healthcare provider civil immunity provisions.  The House further amended the bill to add provisions of HB 2620.  HB 2620 creates the crime of interference with the conduct of a hospital and amends the crime of battery to include battery against a healthcare worker. The bill was requested by a bipartisan group of legislators and was passed by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this session.
 
SB 286 goes back to the Senate for consideration of the House amendments.  
 
Overwhelming support for ensuring long-term stability of state retirees’ plan

This week the House passed out  SB 421. It uses the budget surplus to stabilize the KPERS system, bringing KPERS above the recommended 80 percent funded level, lowering future costs for taxpayers by reducing the state’s share of employer contributions, and saving taxpayers $429 million over the next five years.
 
During debate, Rep. Steven Johnson reminded the body about why it is essential to direct stabilization funding to the KPERS Trust Fund. He provided a historical snapshot of the extreme downturn in the economy just over a decade ago and relayed the importance of keeping the fund secure. Johnson referenced the 2009 KPERS Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. In just one year’s time the funded ratio plummeted from 70.8 percent to 59 percent, while the Unfunded Actuarial Liability ballooned from $5.55 billion to $8.28 billion. KPERS’ investment returns declined by 19.6 percent over the previous year.
 
The Legislature has made huge strides to ensure that KPERS remains stable and to provide certainty so that it will be there for our teachers, our firefighters, and other public employees when they need it.
 
Other Legislation considered by the Kansas House this week
 
HB 2466 Establishing the promoting advancement in computing knowledge act to increase the availability of computer science education in Kansas schools. 
 
HB 2548 Implementing additional reporting requirements for informational technology projects and state agencies and requiring additional information technology security training and status reports. 
 
HCR 5027 Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention of the states.  The resolution fell short of the 2/3 vote required, with a vote of 76-43.
 

Next Week

Committee activity will be in overdrive next week with the March 18th deadline for non-exempt committees fast approaching. Committees are finishing legislation that will be acted upon during a busy week of floor action the week of March 21.
 
  • House Appropriations finalizes its work on the budget, with discussion and possible action scheduled for the budget bills, HB 2588, and HB 2592. The Committee has received and acted upon all budget subcommittee recommendations and will be looking at more global issues, like proposed salary increases and setting aside a portion of the budget surplus in the Rainy-Day Fund.
  • House Taxation will take final action on HB 2711, the comprehensive tax plan that reduces the state food sales tax rate from 6.5 to 3.5 percent, while creating a path to zero if funds are sufficient in the Budget Stabilization Fund. The plan also lowers the state sales tax rate from 6.5 to 6.3 percent, addressing the totality of sales tax relief, rather than a limited focus like the Governor’s proposal. The food sales tax income tax credit becomes a refundable tax credit, effectively taking food sales tax to zero for those that we have heard need it most – families with children, seniors, disabled citizens. 

Legislative Prayer

Each House session is opened with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. The House is blessed to be served by Chaplain Eunice Brubaker, who has served as House Chaplain since the 2007 Session.  She is a cancer survivor and unfortunately is amid another bout with cancer. In her absence this week, Rep. Steven Johnson delivered the following prayer:
 
Gracious God,

We have so much for which to be thankful.

We are thankful to be here.

We are thankful for all you have given us.

We pray that your providence be with
those fighting in Ukraine,

that your kingdom may be established and prevail
there and throughout the world.

May we all continually consider how our actions and
words serve your kingdom above our earthly kingdoms.

Today, we pray again for our sister Eunice,
that your healing hand is upon her.

In our journey together to the stars, we can only
make it with Your great love and guidance.

When hate, envy, or deceit wells within or around us, help
us to instead reflect Your love, understanding and truth.

Amen.
 
 
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” - Abraham Lincoln
 

Pages and other Student Opportunities

This year, the Page program is active again. The Page program is designed for students in middle school, junior high or the first years of high school. Working as a page in the Kansas Legislature is an excellent way to learn more about the legislative process. Older high school and college students can contact me about spending the day in Topeka assisting in my office, attending committee meetings, and learning more about the daily operations of the legislature. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact me for more information.

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’m in Topeka by email Shannon.francis@house.ks.gov, 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
shannon.francis@house.ks.gov

At Home:

1501 Tucker Court
Liberal, Kansas 67901
Phone: 620-624-9571
sfran83384@aol.com

Useful Resources

State of Kansas Website

The Kansas Legislature

Legislative Bill Reports

Listen Live to Proceedings

Find a State Agency

Kansas Unclaimed Property

Current Road Conditions

National Do Not Call List

Kansas Charity Check

Useful Phone Numbers

Department On Aging
800-432-3535

Child/Adult Abuse Hotline
800-922-5330

Child & Family Services
888-369-4777

Consumer Protection
800-432-2310

Crime Tip Hotline
1-800-KSCRIME
(1-800-572-7463)

Crime Victims'
Information Referral
800-828-9745

Disability / Social
Security Fraud Hotline
800-269-0271

Edler Abuse Hotline
800-842-0078
Governor Laura Kelly
Constituent Services
785-368-8500

Highway Road Conditions
1-866-511-5638
In-State Dial 511

Housing Hotline
800-752-4422

KanCare Clearinghouse
800-792-4884

Kansas Lottery
800-544-9467

Legislative Hotline
800-432-3924

Mental Health Services
888-582-3759

National Suicide
Prevention Lifeline
800-273-8255

School Safety Hotline
877-626-8203

Taxpayer Assistance
785-368-8222

Tax Refund Status
800-894-0318

Unclaimed Property
800-432-0386

Unemployment Insurance
800-292-6333

Voter Registration
800-262-8683

Welfare Fraud Hotline
800-432-3913

Workmans Compensation
800-332-0353

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Shannon Francis for State Representative · 1501 Tucker Court · Liberal, KS 67901 · USA

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