Legislative Update from Representative Shannon Francis

Newsletter - February 20, 2022 

Liberal at the Capitol

Pages and other Student Opportunities
This year, the Page program is active again. 

I want to thank Cody Hickox and Angie Malwitz for bringing seven Eisenhower Middle School students to the Capitol to Page for Senator Ryckman and me. We had a great day touring the Capitol, getting our picture taken with the Governor and talking about the legislative process, Kansas history and current legislation. 

It was great talking with County Commission Chairwoman Ada Linenbroker, County Administrator April Warden, and Zoning Administrator Kurt Jones. Lots of work going on in Topeka, Liberal, and Seward County to increase housing in our area.  Housing is a major consideration when businesses evaluate communities to expand into.

Water Bill Introduced

A bill overhauling water regulation in Kansas was recently introduced.  HB 2686, a 283-page bill that merges several existing water divisions and agencies into an executive branch of Kansas Department of Water and Environment, is being heard and discussed in the House Water Committee.
Key  to Southwest Kansas are the changes to Groundwater Management Districts, found in sections 10 through 14 of the bill.  We are part of Groundwater Management District 1, so I am concerned how changes would impact our area.
The first hearings were held Wednesday and Thursday last week. I have already heard from several of you about concerns you have with portions of this bill.   I am sure this bill will have substantive changes if it progresses through the legislative process so keep sending me your thoughts.
Here is quick-access to important information regarding this bill:
HB 2686 Bill Page (Bill homepage, showing scheduled hearings, history & links to other pieces of pertinent information)
House Water Committee Homepage (Lists members of the committee, committee assistant phone and email, agenda, minutes, testimony, and link to audio stream of committee meetings)
House Water Channel (YouTube channel of committee proceedings, live and archived)

Comprehensive Tax Relief Plan Introduced

This week, House Republicans introduced HB 2711, which provides comprehensive tax relief for Kansans. The bill:
  • Reduces the state food sales tax rate to 3.5 percent, from the current 6.5 percent. The bill provides a mechanism to further reduce the rate to zero if the state’s budget stabilization fund balance is sufficient.
  • Reduces the overall sales tax rate from 6.5 percent to 6.3 percent, addressing the totality of sales tax relief, rather than a limited focus like the Governor’s proposal.
  • 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 and citizens with disabilities.
The bill has been assigned to the House Taxation Committee for its consideration.

Giving Power to the People
Not Unelected Bureaucrats

During House action this week, the Kansas House debated HCR 5014HCR 5014 places a constitutional amendment on the November 2022 ballot.  The constitutional amendment will ensure legislative oversight of administrative rules and regulations.  After a bill becomes a law, often there are rules and regulations to be created.  Unfortunately, executive branch bureaucrats sometimes use the rules and regs process to essentially create their own law or circumvent the intent of the law that was passed.  Passing a constitutional amendment would allow the Legislature to establish a procedure for revoking or suspending rules and regulations that are adopted by these agencies and bureaucrats that have the force and effect of law.
If the House advances the resolution with a 2/3 vote, the resolution goes to the Senate, where if two-thirds of their members adopt the resolution, it will be placed on the November general election ballot.

House Transportation
and Public Safety Budget Committee

Last week we finished our budget recommendations for our agencies.  The Committee does a deep dive on the budgets assigned to it. The budgets include the Department of Corrections and state funding for Community Corrections.

A Performance measure that determines the effectiveness of the Department of Corrections is its re-incarceration rate (recidivism.) Below is a ranking of re-incarceration rates by state. Kansas is ranked right in the middle at 34.7% while Oklahoma is at 25.1%. We have room for improvement. We can realize substantial savings by lowering our re-incarceration rate with improved vocational programs and re-entry programs. This year, my committee recommended $6.7 million for the Pathways for Success initiative, which provides technical education equipment at prisons. Finding suitable housing and employment are instrumental for the long-term success of inmates when released from prison.
Keeping people out of prison is the most effective way to help people rehabilitate and keep costs down. If they aren’t in prison they can take care of their families, work and pay taxes. Many that eventually wind up in prison have underlying substance abuse and mental health issues. They need treatment and intensive supervision until they can stand on their own. Community Corrections is the local government entity that provides that supervision. Statewide funding for this entity has been stagnant since 2014.  Below is a chart of historical funding amounts. The Committee recommended additional funding starting this year to help Community Corrections be more effective and eventually lower our corrections costs.
“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

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

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

Child/Adult Abuse Hotline

Child & Family Services

Consumer Protection

Crime Tip Hotline

Crime Victims'
Information Referral

Disability / Social
Security Fraud Hotline

Edler Abuse Hotline
Governor Laura Kelly
Constituent Services

Highway Road Conditions
In-State Dial 511

Housing Hotline

KanCare Clearinghouse

Kansas Lottery

Legislative Hotline

Mental Health Services

National Suicide
Prevention Lifeline

School Safety Hotline

Taxpayer Assistance

Tax Refund Status

Unclaimed Property

Unemployment Insurance

Voter Registration

Welfare Fraud Hotline

Workmans Compensation

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

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