1 of 1
Newsletter from Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-37th Dist.
Committees: Utilities and Telecom, Commerce, Labor and Economic Development, Ranking Minority, Insurance, Financial Institutions, Ranking Minority
Adjournment and April Recess: April, 2013
In this issue:
○ From the Statehouse
○ Zero support for Brownback Tax Plan in House
○ Cuts to higher education avoided
○ House Approves KDOT / Turnpike merger
○ House bill seeks to nullify local control
○ Gun mega-bill passes House
○ HB 2253: abortion bill passes House
○ New alcohol rules rejected
○ Governor signs flurry of new laws
○ Constituents in the Capitol
○ Keep in touch
From the Statehouse: Adjournment and April Recess
It was an exciting week of activity as conference committee met to conclude their work as first adjournment approached. Legislators worked late into the night Thursday and Friday and voted on adoption of nearly forty Conference Committee Reports and motions to concur with Senate Amendments.
Complete daily calendars are available at www.kslegislature.org along with other useful information.
Zero support for Brownback tax plan in House
The House unanimously rejected Gov. Brownback’s proposal to permanently raise the sales tax six-tenths of a percent in July. Brownback has proposed the sales-tax increase to recover revenue lost to pay for his income tax reductions, and to create the ability for additional income tax cuts.
This sales tax extension translates to a $800 million dollar tax increase, and marks a regressive shift in the tax burden away from the wealthy and onto ordinary Kansans.
The Senate plan seeks to immediately buy down the income tax with an increase in sales tax. The House prefers a plan that would make increased state revenue a prerequisite to further income tax cuts, so they could allow the sales tax to drop from 6.3 percent to 5.7 percent.
The tax plan and budget issues will take center stage when the legislature reconvenes in May.
Cuts to higher education avoided
Senate and House negotiators abandoned proposed cuts to higher educations. House Republicans were pushing for a 4 percent cut, and Senate Republicans urged a 2 percent cut. Instead, education funding was held at current levels when negotiators agreed to transfer $30 million dollars from state highway funds.
House approves KDOT / Turnpike merger
The House passed HB 2234 related to contracts between the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) and the Kansas Department of Transportation. This bill would put operation of KDOT under the supervision of the Kansas Secretary of Transportation. Critics of the proposed merger were successful in reaching a compromise that requires toll revenue remain designated solely for KTA projects
The governor is expected to sign this bill.
House bill seeks to nullify local control
The House gave approval to HB 2069, which declares void certain city ordinances and county resolutions. HB 2069 prohibits Kansas counties and municipalities from enacting laws that make some specific requirements of employers. This bill wouldn’t permit ordinances that require employers to provide a wage higher than the federal or state minimum wage, provide paid or unpaid leave, or provide benefits to employees.
This bill currently awaits approval from the governor.
Gun mega-bill passes House
The House passed Senate Sub for HB 2052 to allow concealed firearms in public building unless the building provided adequate security. This bill also allows schools and colleges to permit employees to carry concealed weapons. Senate Sub for HB 2052 also seeks to nullify federal authority to enforce certain regulations relating to guns and ammunition if manufactured and kept in Kansas.
This bill currently awaits approval from the governor.
HB 2253: abortion bill passes House
The House approved a sweeping abortion regulation bill that will be the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. The 73 pages bill contains the following changes to current abortion laws:
● HB 2253 contains a “personhood” measure that states life begins at fertilization, prior to conception, and that the laws of Kansas should be interpreted to apply to fertilized eggs.
● This bill prohibits the use of taxpayer money or agencies to administer an abortion.
● This bill redefines the medical terms “medical emergency,” “bodily function” and “fertilization.” Under this bill “bodily function” will not include mental or emotional functions.
● This bill included the controversial change in the law that, contrary to medical science, requires doctors to tell the mother that abortion risks breast cancer and premature birth in future pregnancies.
● The bill prohibits performing or inducing an abortion in the instance that the doctor knows the sole reason the woman is seeking an abortion is based upon the gender of the child.
Gov. Brownback is expected to sign this bill.
New alcohol rules rejected
A proposal that sought to create rules for wine tastings, and allowed alcohol in the capitol and home home-brewing contests met procedural objections in the House. The portion of the bill regulating home-brewing contests was included in the bill after the House and Senate agreed on the rest on the bill.
Under this bill, the authority to permit alcohol in the statehouse would be given to the Legislative Coordinating Council. The bill is expected to be reworked after the April recess.
Governor signs flurry of new laws
To date, Gov. Brownback has signed 46 new laws this year, many this week. Below are a few of the bills that became law this week. With the legislature on recess the governor will sign many, possibly all, of the bills approved before adjourning for the April recess.
● SB 21 amends several firearms-related statutes including authorizing official recognition of any valid concealed carry permit from another state for individuals traveling through or visiting Kansas.
● SB 58 restructures penalties for unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance and clarifies a special sentencing rule for a second or subsequent conviction of the same crime.
● SB 68 allows all locations for driver's license examinations to be established by the Secretary of Revenue, by removing a requirement that a commercial driver's license also be issued at certain locations.
● SB 75 prohibits a recycler from purchasing "plastic bulk merchandise containers" without first obtaining certain information about the seller and details about the containers.
● SB 113 amends statutes governing the loan approval process and certain reporting requirements for credit unions.
● SB 118 amends statutes related to missing persons including creating a “high-risk missing person” category.
● SB 135 moves responsibility for administering the Boiler Safety Act to the State Fire Marshal from the Department of Labor.
● HB 2044 creates two new crimes, distribution of a controlled substance causing great bodily harm and distribution of a controlled substance causing death.
● HB 2193 updates a federal reference in existing state law concerning disability accessibility standards for public facilities. The change would make the state law consistent with the current Americans with Disabilities Act.
● SB 85 allows people to use electronic proof of their insurance via a cellular phone or other type of portable electronic device when providing proof of insurance when registering a vehicle and when requested by law enforcement.
● S 59 authorizes the Attorney General to pay a reward of up to $5,000 to anyone who first provides information concerning a violation of the Medicaid Fraud Control Act, the False Claims Act, or any other law that protects the integrity of the public treasury.
● SB 52 amends the maximum annual interest rate established in law for first real estate mortgage loans and contracts for deeds.
● SB 51 adds a trade organization of banks to the Insurance Code list of associations providing health insurance coverage exempted from the jurisdiction of the Kansas Insurance Commissioner. Enactment of the bill would allow this designated banking organization the ability to self-insure, offering health coverage through a self-funded group plan.
● SB 28 allows the Adjutant General’s department to accept the federal land where the Crisis City facility is located.
● HB 2181 authorizes a licensing body to waive educational requirements towards certification or licensure for any former military service member who completes a distance education course through an accredited educational institution. The waiver does not apply to the practice of law or the regulation of attorneys.
● HB 2318 allows a motorcycle’s headlamp to be wired with a federally approved headlamp modulation system and allows certain types of lights on the sides of motorcycles.
● HB 2028 amends the Kansas Standard Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Act concerning venue in forfeiture proceedings brought by the Attorney General.
● HB 2205 streamlines the adoption petition process by eliminating language that prevents a hearing from being scheduled within 30 days from the date the petition is filed and allows the hearing to be scheduled anytime within 60 days of the filing date.
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
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.
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 e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org.