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Newsletter from Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-37th Dist.
Committees: Utilities and Telecom, Commerce, Labor and Economic Development, Ranking Minority, Insurance, Financial Institutions, Ranking Minority
Week 11: March, 2013
In this issue:
○ From the Statehouse
○ House Sub for SB 22: Private School Tax Credit fails
○ 3rd grade reading amended, passes Senate
○ New law gives governor more control over courts
○ Budget update
○ Constituents in the Capitol
○ Keep in touch
From the Statehouse: Week 11
It was a short week filled with long days. As First Adjournment approached on April 5th the legislature took final action on 57 pieces of legislation.
The House adjourned for the week late on Tuesday evening, giving conference committees a chance to begin work on Wednesday. We will convene again on Monday, but the schedule will fluctuate as conference committees will be busy meeting all week to iron out differences between House and Senate versions of bills.
Complete daily calendars are available at www.kslegislature.org along with other useful information.
I am privileged and honored to be your voice in the Kansas Capitol. If I can ever be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact me at home or in Topeka.
House Sub for SB 22: Private School Tax Credit fails
HB 2400 sub for SB 22 was defeated in the House. This bill would have created a tax credit program for Kansas corporations that donate to a Scholarship Granting Organization. Under this proposal corporations will receive a $70 reduction in income tax liability for every $100 given to the SGO. This proposal carries a fiscal note of up to $100 million per year.
The SGO then uses the funds to grant scholarships valued up to $8,000. The recipient may attend any school of his/her choice, including private, religious, and non-accredited institutions.
Proponents argued that in would decrease corporate taxes and increase access and enrollment to private schools.
Opponents called the proposal irresponsible, noting that the bill contained no accountability related to the academic standards of the schools receiving the scholarship funds.
3rd grade reading initiative amended, passes Senate
New life was given to the 3rd Grade Reading Initiative previously believed to be dead for the 2013 session. Following a motion to reconsider in the Senate Education Committee HB 2140 was amended to allow for a greater role for the parents in the decision to hold back a student.
After amending the bill the Senate Education Committee passed the bill. In the Senate the bill was amended to assess reading competency following first grade, rather than 3rd grade. Proponents of the amendment argued that remedial measures should begin sooner rather than later. The amendment passed, and the Senate then gave approval to the bill.
New law gives governor more control over courts
The first bill signed into law during the 2013 legislative session gives the governor greater power in the appointment of judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals.
The previous merit-based model required a non-partisan nominating commission comprised or legal professionals to submit a slate of nominees to the governor to make a selection. Now, the governor has the ability to appoint judges that pass Senate approval.
The House has approved the FY 2014 budget bill. Specifics include:
● No new funding for public education;
● Cuts higher education by $29 million;
● Robs the state highway fund of $300 million;
● Cuts $49 million from the Department on Aging and services for seniors;
● Cuts $6 million for early childhood programs;
● Depletes a $536.6 million surplus, but still fails to balance.
● This budget leaves a $156 million deficit at the end of next year.
Unfortunately, this bill passed on final action 68-55.
I always enjoy seeing people from back home visiting the Capitol during the session to share their views on issues and to learn about the legislature and the history of our Capitol building. If you are going to be in the Capitol this session, I hope you will drop by my office.
Keep in touch
It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I value and need your input on the various issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 561W, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at (785) 296-7648 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. Additionally, you can email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org.