from Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-37th Dist.
Committees: Utilities and Telecom, Commerce Labor and Economic Development, Ranking Minority, Insurance Financial Institutions, Ranking Minority
Week 2: Jan. 22-25, 2013
In this newsletter:
• House Bill 2022 allows employers to withhold the final paycheck
• Conceal and carry
• Kobach supports moving spring elections to the fall
• House Bill 2023 prohibiting voluntary payroll deduction by unions
From The Statehouse
This week members of the Legislature began service in their committees, which started hearing new proposed legislation. Throughout the coming weeks committees will continue to hear and work new bills. 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.
House Bill 2022 allows 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. In order for such a situation to be authorized there would have to proof of a written notice between the employer and employee.
Proponents argue the bill is designed to provide employer leverage in the event that a former employee retains employers assets, benefits or property. 2022 would allow employers to deduct from employees paycheck any amount as long as it does not drop below the current minimum wage. The employer may hold that amount until his equipment had been received.
Proponents also argue that this proposed change would benefit employees by allowing employers and employees a great degree of flexibility to resolve unique compensation needs. For example, the employer could advance pay needed by the employee, and recover the advance by deducting smaller amounts from the employee’s following paychecks until the balance is returned. Finally, the bill would allow the employer to fix mistakes such as overpayments.
The AFL-CIO expressed concern that said that the ability to manipulate an employee’s paycheck could lead to greater abuses in the future. In this event, a small claims suit against the employer may be required for the employee to recover their earned wages. The AFL-CIO requested more consideration on behalf of the employee.
HB 2022 was passed out of committee.
Conceal and carry in Kansas
The Federal and State Affairs Committee was given a presentation on Concealed Carry and the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act by Assistant Attorney General C.W. Klebe. Klebe reported that there has been a recent spike in Concealed Carry permits, saying that there are currently around 200 plus applications each day. Klebe pointed out this rate is higher than past years, and that permits historically begin to peak in April.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach supports moving spring elections to the fall
Secretary Kobach testified before the Elections Committee arguing to move spring municipal elections to the fall. Primarily, he argues that such a move will simply the election calendar and reduce costs.
Opponents of the proposal express concern that such a move would increase the partisanship of local elections. Currently, most Kansas municipal elections are non-partisan and spring elections are insulated from the partisanship of fall elections. Additionally, local elected officials serve terms that correspond to the current election calendar. Opponents expressed concern that the proposed move would create new reorganization costs to local units of government.
House Bill 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.
Union political action is transparent, democratic, and optional. Corporations, by contrast, don’t give shareholders, employees or customers any say in their political activities. This bill muzzles the representatives of working families, but does nothing about the political influence of corporate special interests.
The bill singles out our most trusted public employees, such as teachers, nurses and firefighters, and denies them the freedom to use payroll deductions to make voluntary political donations.
The Brownback tax plan is not a tax cut, it's a tax shift. As of Jan. 1, 2012, Kansas had the 12th highest sales tax rate in the nation. Gov. Brownback has repeatedly hinted that he will propose a sales tax hike in January in order to help fill the budget deficit created by massive income tax cuts.
Gov. Brownback is attempting to portray a sales tax increase as a means of protecting public schools, but that is far from the truth. This budget crisis was self-inflicted, caused by a reckless tax plan that requires workers to pay income taxes but lets bosses go tax free. A sales tax increase is only a means of protecting the wealthy and big corporations.
In addition to a sales tax hike, Gov. Brownback proposed eliminating the home mortgage deduction in his original tax plan as way to help pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations. Many anticipate that he will offer this up again in 2013 as the state works to fill the $300 million budget deficit that his tax plan is projected to create. Kansas homeowners receive an average of almost $400 by deducting the interest they pay lenders on their home loans.
According to the nonpartisan Kansas Legislative Research Department, in order to supplement the revenue that will be lost from this tax cut (that is, in order to avoid further cuts to schools), the private sector must create 423,175 new jobs in 18 months. Even Gov. Brownback admitted that he only anticipates this tax cut to create around 23,000 new jobs by 2020.
According to the nonpartisan Kansas Legislative Research Department, the Brownback tax plan will cost $3.7 billion over the next five years ($800 million annually), leaving Kansas with a $2.5 billion deficit by 2018. This means that the funding cuts your local schools have been forced to endure over the last few years will not be restored any time soon.
According to the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the Brownback tax plan will raise taxes on the poorest Kansans by about $148 a year, while the top 1 percent will enjoy a 2 percent tax cut (an average tax cut of about $20,000 a year). Simply put, this is "Robin Hood In Reverse."
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 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. You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org.