Preliminary estimates reported show the April seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent. This was down from 3.8 percent in March and down from 4.1 percent in April 2016. (Kansas Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics)
This week, applications for weekly unemployment aid fell 4,000 to 232,000 – the lowest level in nearly three months. (U.S. Department of Labor)
Senate President Wagle appointed a Senate Select Committee on Education Finance early in this legislative session. The committee, chaired by Majority Leader Denning, has been working hand-in-hand with the House’s K-12 Education Budget Committee and the legislature’s outside legal counsel to produce a new school finance formula. The committees have made great strides forward this week, and we look forward to continuing that momentum into next week.
The Senate Select Committee on Education Finance heard testimony from a variety of stakeholders this week and expects to pass a bill out of committee early next week, and we anticipate a vote on a school finance formula bill next week.
Debating firearms in state hospitals
Early this week, we began discussion on the Senate floor about whether guns should be allowed in state hospitals and mental hospitals. Kansans on both sides of this issue feel very passionately about this topic.
Senators engaged in a healthy conversation before ultimately voting to send the bill in question back to committee for further review. Kansans representing hospitals and the Second Amendment are actively communicating with the legislature and are working to strike a compromise to ensure Kansans feel safe and protected in hospitals and mental hospitals without infringing on your Second Amendment rights.
Thank You for Engaging
Thank you for all your calls, emails, and letters regarding your thoughts and concerns about happenings in Kansas. Constituent correspondence helps inform my decision making process and is taken into great consideration when I cast my vote in the Kansas Senate. I hope you’ll continue to engage with me on the issues that matter most to you, your family, and our community. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka.
Please know that I am fully committed to addressing the current issues in our state, and am proud to be your voice in the Kansas Senate.
PORT AUTHORITIES (Senate Substitute for House Bill 2132): Senate Sub. for HB 2132 allows port authorities to sell real or personal property in a negotiated sale at less than its appraised value. In order to make such a sale, the port authority would be required to declare the sale would be in the public interest due to the return of new jobs, capital investment, or increased tax revenue. Current law prohibits port authorities from selling property below its appraised value. This bill passed the Senate Tuesday May 16, by a vote of 37-3
RULES AND REGULATIONS (House Bill 2280): HB 2280 requires that prior to July 1, 2018 each state agency review its rules and regulations to determine the impact those rules and regulations have on business and economic development, including those that negatively impact or create any barrier to success for business and economic development. Prior to October 1, 2018, after review and determination of rules and regulations each state agency must prepare and submit a report to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and Regulations (JCARR) identifying those rules and regulations having a negative impact on businesses and economic development, whether the public purpose served outweighs any negative impact, and alternatives to the identified rules and regulations. The bill would require JCARR to submit a report to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate summarizing the JCARR findings prior to January 14, 2019.
In addition, the bill alters the Rules and Regulations Filing Act by adding a new requirement to the continuing mandate that each state agency submit an economic impact statement when drafting a proposed rule and regulation or amending any rule and regulation. The bill would require the economic impact statement to include a description of businesses that would be directly affected by the proposed rules and regulations, the benefits of the proposed rules and regulations, and measures taken to minimize the impact of the proposed rules and regulations on businesses and economic development. This bill passed the Senate Tuesday May 16, by a vote of 32-8
COMMON CONSUMPTION AREA (House Bill 2277): HB 2277 allows a city or county to establish one or more common consumption areas by ordinance or resolution, designate the boundaries of any common consumption area, and prescribe the times during which alcoholic liquor may be consumed. This bill passed the Senate Tuesday May 16, by a vote of 35-5
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORTS:
KANSAS SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR ACT (HB 2128): HB 2128 revises law regarding procedures for annual review, transitional release, and conditional release for persons civilly committed under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act.
The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Wednesday May 17, by a vote of 39-0
KANSAS CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE (House Substitute for SB 120): House Sub. for SB 120 adjusts the Kansas Code of Civil Procedure. The bill provides the code shall be employed by the court and the parties to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. Current law requires the Code to be liberally construed and administered for the same purpose.
The bill also amends the law granting an additional three days for action after being served via certain kinds of service. The bill clarifies it applies to a party “after being served,” rather than simply “after service.” Additionally, the bill removes service by fax and electronic service from the list of kinds of service that allow additional time to act.
In the statute listing matters on which the court must take appropriate action at a case management conference, the bill adds issues related to preservation of electronically stored information. Additionally, in determining issues related to claims of privilege or protection as trial-preparation material, the bill requires consideration of agreements made under state law controlling the effect of disclosure of information covered by the attorney-client privilege or work-product protection.
The Senate Concurred with amendments in conference Wednesday May 17, 39-0
SECURITIES COMMISSIONER OF KANSAS (Senate Bill 23): SB 23 establishes the Office of the Securities Commissioner of Kansas as a division under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Insurance and amend law by consolidating certain prosecutorial functions of the Attorney General.
The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday May 18, by a vote of 30-8
LOTTERY TICKET VENDING MACHINES (House Bill 2313): HB 2313 would allow the Kansas Lottery to use vending machines to sell lottery tickets. Lottery ticket vending machines would dispense a printed physical ticket, such as a lottery ticket, a keno ticket, a pull tab ticket, an instant bingo ticket, or a coupon. Machines will allow purchasers to manually check the winning status of a Kansas Lottery ticket and display advertising, promotions, and other information pertaining to the Kansas Lottery.
Furthermore, the bill would authorize moneys in the Lottery Operating Fund be used for transfers to the Community Crisis Stabilization Centers Fund and Clubhouse Model Program Fund of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. The Community Crisis Stabilization Centers Fund would receive 75 percent of the money deposited into the Lottery Operating Fund, while 25 percent would go to the Clubhouse Model Program Fund. These transfers could not exceed $4.0 million aggregate for FY 2018 or $8.0 million in the aggregate for FY 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
The bill would also repeal the sunset provision for the Kansas Lottery. Under current law, the Kansas Lottery will be abolished on July 1, 2022.
The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Thursday May 18, by a vote of 21-16
SB 14 – Provides for limited line insurance coverage of self-storage units.
SB 16 – Enacts new insurance holding company regulatory law and corporate governance annual disclosure law.
HB 2085 – Amends the law regarding ignition interlock devices and expungements.
HB 2153 – Establishes law within the General Corporation Code related to public benefit corporations.
HB 2301 – Amends the law related to public records and public meetings.
The Governor has now signed 73 bills into law this session and vetoed two. By law, the Kansas governor has 10 calendar days to sign the bill into law, veto the bill or allow the bill to become law without his or her signature.
Next week is the fourth week of Veto Session. We will continue working on our three big ticket items: taxes, budget, and school finance. I hope you’ll reach out with any comments, questions, or concerns regarding these issues or others. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka as we work to wrap this legislative session up.