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 9: March 11 – March 15, 2013
In this issue:
○ From the Statehouse
○ House advances multiple gun measures
○ House panel approves 4 percent cut to higher education
○ Raiding KTA reserves
○ Tax Committee approves phase out of income tax deductions
○ Constituents in the Capitol
○ Keep in touch
House advances multiple gun measures
This week the House gave approval to three gun-related measures.
The first bill requires the state to permit concealed carry in public buildings unless the building provides “adequate” security. Despite questions from legislators, the bill does not define what would qualify as adequate security. The bill provided a four-year exemption from the regulation for public hospitals, community mental healthcare facilities, and public universities. Under this legislation local schools districts are given the ability to set local policy.
The second bill would prohibit the federal government from enforcing regulations governing the firearms, ammunition or gun accessories manufactured, sold and kept only in Kansas. The bill would make it a felony offense for federal agents to attempt to enforce such regulations.
Opponents say the law doesn't pass constitutional muster. Under the U.S. Constitution, federal laws supersede state laws.
The third gun-related amends the definition of lawful discharge of a weapon to include use against attacking wild animals in self-defense, by police and law enforcement, hunting, shooting at a gun range, and in defense of property.
House panel approves 4 percent cut to higher education
Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee approved a 4 percent reduction in higher education funding in Kansas. In terms of real dollars this is a $29.2 million dollar cut to higher eduction.
• $5.48 million cut from the University of Kansas
• $4.24 million cut from the KU School of Medicine
• $6.60 million cut from Kansas State University
• $2.81 million cut from Wichita State
• $1.25 million cut from Emporia State
• $1.34 million cut from Fort Hays State
• $1.40 million cut from Pittsburg State University
• $6.03 million cut from Community and Technical Colleges.
Since 1999, per student state funding has decreased 40 percent. Universities and colleges in Kansas offset the loss of state support through increased tuition and cuts to education functions of the institution.
Raiding KTA reserves
The motive behind Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal to merge KDOT and KTA became more evident this week. Appropriations Chairman Marc Rhoades suggested in committee that current KTA reserves totaling $25 million could be used to help balance the state budget.
KTA representatives countered that KTA is an independent agency that has built this reserve through careful planning and thoughtful management, and explained that the reserves were dedicated to future turnpike improvements and maintenance.
Merging KDOT and KTA to transfer the reserves to the state general fund jeopardizes transportation projects to pay for a deficit created by the Governor's income tax plan.
Tax Committee approves phase out of income tax deductions
A proposal to reduce all current itemized deductions by 24 percent passed the Tax Committee. This amount mirrors the amount of the cut in income tax rates passed last year. As written the bill may also reduce the standard deduction by 24 percent.
Effectively tax increases; these changes would raise $108 million in 2014, $87.8 million in 2015 and $86 million in 2016. It also provides that any time the total state revenue that exceeds 2 percent in any given year, some of that money would be used to reduce the income rates by the same percentage that all revenue exceeds 2 percent and also all itemized deductions would be decreased by the same percentage. Once the individual income tax rates have been eliminated then the corporate income tax and the bank privilege tax would be phased out.
Constituents in the Capitol/Keep in touch
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.
Complete daily calendars are available at www.kslegislature.org along with other useful information.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org