Legislative Update from Representative Shannon Francis

Newsletter - January 21, 2019

In Topeka

Legislative Session begins:  On Monday, we opened the 2019 Legislative Session. The House re-elected one of Southwest Kansas’ own - Ron Ryckman, Jr. - as Speaker of the House.  Speaker Ryckman represents the community of Olathe, but grew up in Meade. In his acceptance speech, he said we need long-term solutions that include: “A stable budget & tax policy that doesn’t overspend Kansas into a fiscal crisis. Safe havens for our most vulnerable. And, successful communities across our state where families and local business owners – whether they live in Mission or in Meade - have the opportunity to thrive.” I look forward to working with the Speaker and my fellow legislators from across the state on priorities that will do just that. I’m also encouraged by the Speaker’s creation of a Rural Revitalization Committee. Though a lot of short-lived efforts have been undertaken over the years to address the unique challenges that we face in rural communities like ours, I’m hopeful that this will be the start of a more in-depth approach. The committee is led by two Western Kansas guys - Rep. Don Hineman from Dighton and Rep. Adam Smith from Weskan – which gives all of us in the Western half of the state a strong voice in where this effort goes.
This year I was named Chairman of the Transportation & Public Safety Budget Committee. Completing the two delayed T-Works projects on Highway 54, as well as future improvements for Highway 54 and 83, are priorities of mine. It will be a busy committee as we work the budgets for all of the following: Kansas Department of Transportation, Adjutant General, Highway Patrol, State Fire Marshal, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, EMS, CPOST, Department of Corrections and all correctional facilities, Board of Indigents' Defense Services, Sentencing Commission, Abstracters Board of Examiners, and Board of Technical Professions.
I will also serve on the Transportation and Appropriation committees this year, two key committees that help determine the state’s investment in our transportation system and builds the overall state budget.

I’m very glad to welcome Leslie Wolfe as my new committee and office assistant. Leslie can be reached by phone at 785-296-7466 or by email at

Governor’s Budget DetailsOn Thursday, Governor Kelly released her proposed budget. The complete budget can be found online here, or you can read the overview here.  Some key points in the Governor’s proposal:
  • It’s primarily a one-year budget, whereas the state had recently transitioned to a two-year budget process in order to help agencies plan farther ahead.
  • For K-12 schools, the Governor included a five-year funding outlook. Her proposal would add an inflation rate of 1.44 percent to existing education funding in an attempt to address the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on school finance. Kelly’s plan would increase education funding by $363.6 million on top of the $4.4 billion that is currently being allocated to K-12 schools.
  • While the Governor’s budget does not address comprehensive transportation funding, it does reduce the amount being swept from the State Highway Fund. It would sweep $238 million from the fund to cover shortfalls in the state budget, with a projection to end the highway fund transfers by 2023.
  • The Governor included $14.9 million in her budget for Medicaid Expansion, along with $12.4 million for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Many lawmakers have expressed concern about the $14.9 million amount as previous cost projections show expansion costing more than that in the first year. The federal government is reducing funding for state CHIP program, which leaves the state with the decision to either increase state funding to fill the funding gap or decrease coverage/eligiblity for children in the program.
  • Pays off the Pooled Money Investment Board (PMIB) loan five years early, requiring a transfer of $264.3 million to fully pay off the $317.2 million loan in 2019.
  • The Governor proposes re-amortizing KPERS, which the KPERS Board has expressed opposition to. Re-amortization would bring in approximately $145 million each year in the short-term, but would cost Kansas $7.4 billion more over the long-term, negating the gains we’ve made in recent years to reduce the unfunded liability in KPERS.
  • Includes a 2.5% pay increase for Executive Branch employees (the Governor cannot propose increases for the Legislative and Judicial Branch).
  • Restores remaining cuts totaling $8.9 million to the Board of Regents in 2020.
  • The Governor’s budget includes the Judicial Branch’s request without recommendation, which is how the judicial request is traditionally handled. The Judicial Branch has requested an increase of $4 million for 2019, and $26 million more in 2020.

KPERS Reamortization:
Unstable Financial Obligations

The re-amortization of KPERS in Governor Kelly’s budget quickly raised concerns in the legislature.  This 2018 table from KPERS is a comparison of current law versus what re-amortization would do.  An updated chart is being prepared.  Re-amortizing the unfunded actuarial liability over a new 30-year period would cost the taxpayers of Kansas an additional $7.4 billion while lowering annual KPERS payments in the short-term by $145 million.

Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." John Wayne

Constituent Services 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.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Contact me anytime with your questions, ideas or concerns. You can reach me when I’m 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 Jeff Colyer, M.D.
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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