In this issue:
· Scheduling changes due to snow storm
· School funding amendment passes senate, heads to House
· Good news bills pass: Kansas Children’s Internet Protection Act, Native American Legislative Day
· First anti-labor bill passes out of Senate
· Hearing scheduled for Hire Kansans First Act
· Legislative Pages
· Kansas Voices
· Unclaimed property
· Important state numbers
Scheduling changes due to snow storm
The Kansas Legislature was closed Thursday due to the snow storm. As a result, the session is pushed back by one day. This means all committees can meet Monday, Feb. 25, with the last day for afternoon committees to meet will now be Feb. 26, and the last day for morning committees to meet will be Feb. 27. The rest of the week is intended for debating on the floor.
All House and Senate sessions are open to the public. And live broadcasts of Senate and House proceedings can be found at www.kslegislature.org. To hear legislative proceedings, just click on the “Listen in Live” link.
I am honored to serve as your senator. My office is located in room 125E. Please feel free to visit or contact me at 785-296-7375 if you should have any questions.
School funding amendment passes Senate, heads to House
In a vote of 27-13, members of the Senate approved the passage of a constitutional amendment that would remove courts from school finance decisions. It would give the Legislature sole authority to determine what is “suitable” funding for schools.
This amendment is in retaliation to the three-judge panel ruling in January that stated the Legislature isn’t meeting its constitutional responsibility to provide funding for K-12 education.
The state currently pays $3,838 per pupil. In just three school years, statewide funding for K-12 education has been cut by nearly $442 million, or a cut of $620 per child. These cuts are forcing schools to lay off teachers, increase class sizes, and eliminate support services.
The judges ruled the funding needs to be increased to $4,492 by FY2014, which begins July 1, 2013. This means approximately $440 million would need to be allocated to the budget. Gov. Brownback’s two-year budget proposal issued the first week of session does not include any funds to comply with this ruling. Instead, he and other Republicans are focused on getting this amendment through.
The amendment now goes to the House. If passed, it will be on the August 2014 ballot for the public to decide whether the Kansas Constitution should be amended.
Good news bills pass; Kansas Children's Internet Protection Act, Native American Legislative Day
This week Senate unanimously passed the Kansas Children’s Internet Protection Act, which requires schools and public libraries to install technology or implement processes that would filter out any pornographic images and other obscene or harmful content.
Senate also unanimously passed a bill that would allow the first Wednesday of February to become known as “Native American Legislative Day at the Capitol.” This would start 2014. The House already passed an identical bill, so this is headed to Gov. Brownback’s desk.
First of anti-labor bills passes out of Senate
Senate Bill 73 passed out of Senate this week. This bill tilts workers compensation to favor employers, not employees. As the Senate passed, it would shorten the amount of time an employee has to file a report with their former employer from 20 days to 10 days. It would also require doctor’s to use the sixth edition of the American Medical Association Guides for Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, which has a reputation of being biased. Plus, many doctors are unfamiliar with it.
Several attempts were made to amend the bill including changing reporting time from 10 days to 15 days and changing the sixth edition back to the fourth edition. Unfortunately, after much debate, the amendments failed.
This is just the beginning of anti-labor bills making their way through the Senate.
Hearing scheduled for Hire Kansas First Act
Members of the Senate Commerce Committee are scheduled to hear testimony from proponents and opponents of the Hire Kansas First Act next week. The Hire Kansas First Act would require the employment of Kansas workers for certain state contracts. The purpose is to help put Kansas workers back to work and not bring out-of-state workers in to complete the contract. The hearings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at 8:30a.m. in room 548-S.
Click on the link below to like us on Facebook for continual updates and photos about what Senator Pettey is accomplishing in Topeka:
Keith Fontenot – General Manager with Schlitterbahn Water Park.
Chuck Stites – Director of Development – Schlitterbahn Development Group.
Mary Lou Jaramillo, Aude Negrete, Irene Caudillo – El Centro
Jay and Brenda Miller – Convoy Systems
Judge Dan Duncan
Judge Wayne Lampson
On Feb 20 pages from J C Harmon were: Emma Villegas, Amy Tiscareno, Zachary Harrell. These students are all juniors in Phil Webb's AP US History Course. Mr. Webb drove these students to Topeka.
Kansas Voices 24th Annual Contest for Writers Living in Kansas. $1,000 in prizes. Prizes: Adult Division-$275 best poem, $275 best prose Youth Division: $100 best poem, $100 best prose Honorable Mentions: $250 total. Deadline: postmarked by March 15, 2013. Eligibility: Entrants must live in Kansas. There is no requirement for subject matter. Writers competing in the Youth Division must be currently enrolled in high school or under the age of 18. For information call 620-221-2161, ext. 10, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web page: www.winfieldarts.com
Each year Kansas businesses send the State Treasurer the names of people with bank accounts, wages, stocks and dividends that have been abandoned. The Unclaimed Property Division seeks to return various forms of unclaimed property to the rightful owner or heirs. The State Treasurer has the authority to take possession of specified types of abandoned personal property and become custodian in perpetuity which preserves the right of the original owner or other persons to claim the property. Go to: http://www.kansasstatetreasurer.com to find out if State Treasurer is holding any unclaimed property for you.
Important state phone numbers
Here is a list of numbers I often receive requests for during session. I hope you will find this information helpful.
Child Abuse Hotline
Crime Tip Hotline
Crime Victim Referral
Driver’s License Bureau
Department on Aging
School Safety Hotline
Children’s & Fam. Svcs (SRS)
Tax Refund Status Info