Newsletter February 14, 2017
I’ve visited with many of you recently about issues in Topeka, and it has been great having you in Topeka telling your story. Last Monday was Pancakes at the Capitol! We had a great turnout! Afterwards, I had a meeting with City and County Commissioners and KDOT staff regarding the Six Points intersection. The meeting went well and everyone got a good briefing on timelines and responsibilities for corrective action. I also met with Kitty Romine, Seward County Treasurer, on Thursday, regarding issues affecting County Treasurers.
Lori Hensley and Sadie Madden stopped by to brief me on issues of our rape crisis and domestic violence center.
Serena Rinehart talked to me about the American Cancer Society.
I had a great discussion with the members of Groundwater Management District #3 regarding water legislation.
Mark Schepers, President of Community Bank, and Kelly Mason, Past President of the Kansas Bankers Association, met with me about their legislative priorities, Kansas’s structural deficit and declining credit ratings.
Sally Fuller with Liberal Convention and Tourism, talked to the legislature about tourism in our part of the world. Kansas has 35.4 million visitors, tourism employs 94,000 Kansans and has an economic impact of $35.4 million.
The highlight of my week was attending “High School Musical” at Liberal High School. The students, teachers, staff and volunteers did a great job. I was reminded that education is not just “reading, writing and arithmetic.” It is also teaching our children to work with others, complete projects, and to build something more than they can accomplish alone. The joy and sense of satisfaction I saw on their faces at the end was the most enjoyable part of the play for me.
This week, the House Appropriations Committee continued hearing reports from the Budget Committees on the FY ’18 and ’19 budgets. On Monday, the Committee finished hearing the Judicial Branch report, along with Department of Labor and Secretary of State reports. The Committee also received additional information on the PMIB bill. Next week the Committee will continue hearing budget reports. On Monday, the Committee will begin working the rescission bill and the PMIB bill. On Wednesday, the Committee will hear HB 2180, which involves increasing the HMO privilege fee. On Friday, the Committee will hear HB 2184, which extends the sunset date of the STAR Bonds Act.
K-12 Education Budget
The Committee has begun hearing school finance ideas, plans, and legislation and had hearings on plans former Speaker Mike O’Neal and a school finance plan developed by Rep. Scott Schwab. On Wednesday, the Committee received a briefing on the Legislative Post Audit report on the Health Insurance for School Districts audit. The audit addresses the Alvarez and Marsal study recommendation regarding savings from consolidating school district health insurance benefits. The school finance plans that have been referred to the K-12 Education Budget Committee are: HB 2242, HB 2270, HB 2324, HB 2344, HB 2346, and HB 2347. Additional resources on various school finance proposals can be found at the KSDE website: http://www.ksde.org/Agency/Fiscal-and-Administrative-Services/School-Finance/Whats-New
On Monday, the Committee heard from Kenneth Kriz, a Public Finance Professor at Wichita State University, on a framework for evaluating tax policy. On Tuesday, the Committee heard a proposal from the Rise Up Kansas Coalition. On Wednesday, the Committee had an informational discussion on state tax exempt retirement contributions by employees of the Board of Regents. The Committee also had a briefing on the Senate’s tax proposals. On Thursday, the Committee worked and passed out favorably HB 2178. Components include repeal of the pass-through income loophole, an adjustment to the tax rate brackets, inclusion of the itemized medical deduction, and repeal of the glide path to zero.
“If you haven’t fallen off a horse……. then you haven’t been riding long enough.”
I will be having my next Legislative Forum, Saturday, February 25th at 10 am at Rock Island Depot sponsored by the Liberal Chamber of Commerce. Please come by and let me know your thoughts.
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.