from Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-37th Dist.
Committees: Utilities and Telecom, Commerce, Labor and Economic Development, ranking minority, Insurance, Financial Institutions, ranking minority.
Week 3: Jan. 28 - Feb. 1, 2013
In this newsletter:
• Bill 2083: Regarding mediation costs
• HB 2085: Collective bargaining rights of teachers
• HB 2028: An act concerning forfeiture
• Final action on HB 2022: allowing employers to withhold from final paycheck
• Final action on HB 2023: Prohibiting voluntary payroll deduction
From The Statehouse
This week saw the first legislation debated by the full House, and the House approved House Bills 2022 and 2023. New legislation continues to be introduced in committees while they continue work on bills introduced since the Legislature reconvened.
This year I will serve on the Utilities and Telecom; Commerce, Labor and Economic Development; Insurance; and Financial Institutions committees. Complete daily calendars are available at www.kslegislature.org along with other useful information. I am also working to keep constituents more informed via Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow me at www.facebook.com/ and www.twitter.com/.
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.
Bill 2083: Regarding mediation costs
Bill 2083 proposes to redistribute the burden of mediation costs. Currently the Department of Labor is responsible for the costs of fact-finding and mediation arising or resulting from an impasse in contract negotiations with public employees or their recognized bargaining agents. Proponents of 2083 noted that over the past three years the Department of Labor has spent $11,000 on mediation and fact-finding. 2083 proposes to distribute the cost of mediation equally between contracting parties.
Groups representing public employees opposed the proposal, noting that shifting the cost to employee groups would make mediation less likely. Opponents argued that mediation leads to better and more secure contracts for public service professionals. Opponents also expressed concerns that the bill did not specifically enough define what costs associated with mediation were targeted by this proposal.
HB 2085: Collective bargaining rights of teachers
House Bill 2085 amends certain provisions of the Professional Negotiations Act, eliminating the local teachers unions’ right to be the exclusive negotiator on behalf of teachers in the district. The bill amends most provisions of the law, striking any references to the teachers union as the “exclusive” representative, allowing for non-union member teachers to negotiate contracts individually or form other negotiating groups.
Additionally, the bill eliminates some matters that teachers may negotiate over, including the length and number of teaching periods, and the manner by which teachers are evaluated.
Two members of the Kansas State Board of Education testified in support of the bill, one of which indicated the bill was in line with recommendations from the governor’s school efficiency task force to increase flexibility.
Opponents of the proposal included multiple representatives from various education groups, including the president of the board of one of the state’s largest school districts. All opposed the bill, arguing it ends collective bargaining for teachers. Bill opponents indicated that giving teachers the option of individually negotiating their contracts would create logistical nightmares for boards of education and would greatly weaken the voices of teachers, particularly in school districts with hundreds, or even thousands of teachers.
Commerce, Labor, and Economic Development Committee Chairman Marvin Kleeb informed the committee that it could be weeks before the bill is voted on.
HB 2028: An act concerning forfeiture which would amend K.S.A. 60-4103.
The AG testified in favor of this proposal. The changes made specifically affect the venue of forfeiture proceedings. The process of such proceedings however, would remain the same. Because a change in venue may pose an inconvenience, opponents to the bill are concerned that this may impose more hardship onto those undergoing forfeiture proceedings due to the inconvenience of the venue, hence suppressing an individual's due process. Those in favor of the bill feel that this would take away the ability of individuals to commit crimes as well as offer deterrence to those inclined to commit a crime.
HB 2022: Allowing employers to withhold from final paycheck
House Bill 2022 proposed that employers would be able to adjust the final paycheck of their employees in certain cases that might include lost, stolen or damaged property, repayment of cash advances, and/or other corrections. The House passed HB 2022.
HB 2023: Prohibiting voluntary payroll deduction
HB 2023 proposes to prohibit public union members from making elective payroll contributions to their organization’s political action committee. This bill is designed to impede the ability of public union members to participate in political advocacy and exercise First Amendment rights. It would deny union members, through their elected union leadership, the right to speak out on issues that concern working families without jumping through contrived hoops aimed at weakening their voice.
Contrary to the claims of the bill’s proponents, an employee cannot be forced to fund a union’s political and legislative activities. Union members choose whether to join the union, set their own dues, opt-in to an additional contribution to their political action committee, elect their own leaders and vote on how and where their money will be spent. Workers who don’t support the political activism of their Union can choose, first and foremost, to not make the voluntary contribution to their Union's PAC. Finally, Kansas is a right-to-work state; thus, the member has the right to not belong to the Union.
HB 2023 was passed by a vote of 68-56.
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 785-296-7668 or 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 stan.Frownfelter@house.ks.gov. You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org.