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Pat PetteySen. Pat Pettey
In this issue:
· Floor schedule changes
· Senate budget passes, heads to House
· Faust-Goudeau’s property tax relief bill passes Senate
· Senate passes bill to allow wine samples at art walks
· Senate committee tables charter school bill
· Over at the House
· Kansas unemployment rates unchanged
· Kansasworks Employer Partner Incentive Announced
· Legislative Pages
· Merriam Parent, Heather Ousley, 60-Mile Walk To Topeka
· Helen M. Graves
· First Lady Brownback Announce Winners
· Unclaimed Property
· Important State Numbers
Floor schedule changes
The 2013 Legislative Session is inching closer to adjournment. Friday was the last day for committees to meet. Next week senators will work all day on the floor to push through important legislation.
In future weeks, senators will continue meeting with conference committees. These committees differ from Senate and Joint Committees, as they include three members from both chambers. These members are appointed to iron out any differences between House and Senate versions of bills. Their compromises are then sent to both chambers for approval.
All House and Senate sessions are open to the public. Live broadcasts of Senate and House proceedings can be found at www.kslegislature.org.
I am honored to serve as your senator. My office is located in room 125 E. Please feel free to visit or to contact me at 785-296-7375 if you should have any questions.
We are interested in sharing your individual recognitions in this newsletter. If you are someone in your family has received an award or recognition at work , school or scouting or sports let us know.
Senate budget passes, heads to House
After a lengthy debate Wednesday, the Senate passed their proposed budget Thursday in a vote of 24-16. I did not vote for it.
I voted against it for a number of reasons, including:
It is premised on the permanent increase of sales tax at 6.3%, the 24% reduction in itemized deductions, and the continued cuts to income taxes.
It does not increase base state aid per pupil even though Kansas statute requires a minimum of $4,492. The budget maintains the current $3,838 per pupil, making K-12 education underfunded by $654 per pupil.
It cuts higher education by 2%, which results in a loss of more than $20 million. This includes a $1.2 million cut to technical education; a $2 million cut for aviation training at Wichita State University; and, a $3 million cut to the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Medical Education building enhancement fund. Unfortunately, this means Kansas Regents universities will have no choice but to raise tuition. Both JOCO and KCKCC are financially impacted.
It eliminates $27 million appropriated to the Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund, which would have allowed local governments to provide property tax relief. Not a single dollar has been transferred to this fund since 2006.
It fails to adequately fund community corrections programs which have been proven effective in reducing recidivism in our communities.
It neglects to fund the fifth year of the under market pay plan. $8.5 million was not appropriated to improve the pay for many of our lowest paid state employees.
It makes a 10 percent cut across the board to the Kansas Water Plan, which negatively impacts rural districts.
The bottom line with this budget is that it requires average Kansas families to carry the burden of Governor Brownback’s reckless and irresponsible income tax cuts.
Faust-Goudeau's property tax relief bill passes Senate
Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 165 on Thursday. This bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau and provides property tax relief to homeowners whose homes are destroyed or damaged by fire, wind, or other calamity. County commissioners could elect to decrease property taxes or issue a credit. The bill was amended by Sen. Carolyn McGinn (R-Sedgwick) to allow counties to participate with cities in tax-rebate programs to spur new construction. The bill will now head to the House, where a similar bill has already passed.
Senate passes bill to allow wine samples at art walks
Senate passed Senate Bill 203 Wednesday in a 27-13 vote. The bill revises and adds new provisions to laws relating to alcohol. With this bill, it would be permissible for samples of alcohol to be served by unlicensed businesses participating in an event sponsored by a nonprofit organization promoting the arts. This means events such as First Friday Art Walks could have samples of wine available for patrons. The bill now heads to the House.
Senate committee tables charter school bill
Members of the Senate Education Committee debated the Kansas Public Charter School Act several days this week. This bill would allow “the creation of innovative public charter schools that could operate independently of state laws, rules, or regulations,” with the exception of a handful outlined in the bill. This means, for example, teachers would not have to be certified, they could have any kind of school calendar, and they would not be required to teach any standard curriculum. However, they would have to administer the state assessments.
This bill would also give public charter schools a minimum of $5,700 per student per year. This figure is considered the statewide average based on the base state aid per pupil rate of $3,838 plus supplemental aid. However, the bill did not adequately define a funding source.
Due to many objections to the bill, the Senate committee has tabled it. The House equivalent of this bill failed in committee last Friday. It is highly unlikely that this bill will make it out of the Senate committee this session. I believe this bill represents poor public policy. The legislature has continued to pass laws that require more accountability and improved performance from our public schools, but is willing to pass legislation that asks for none of that and provides public dollars. Families currently can chose how they want their children educated.
Over at the House
Here’s an overview of bills over at the House this week:
· Paycheck deductions bill passes House, heads to governor In a vote of 68-54 Wednesday the House passed Senate substitute for House Bill 2022. It prohibits public employees from making voluntary paycheck deductions to political action committees for their unions. It also allows employers to garnish wages to pay for things such as overpayment of salary, loans, uniforms, or lost or stolen property. I voted against this bill last week when it went through the Senate. The bill now head to the governor’s desk.
· House passes its tax bill Members of the House passed its tax plan Thursday in a vote of 96-25. Unlike the Senate’s plan, the House proposes not to retain the 6.3 percent sales tax rate and only decrease income tax rates whenever annual state revenue grew beyond 2 percent. However, the plan does call for the same 24% reduction to all itemized deductions like the Senate’s plan. The Senate made the motion to nonconcur during its session Thursday. Both plans will now head into conference committees for negotiations.
· Children’s Internet Protections Act passes out of committee The House Education Committee passed out the Children’s Internet Protections Act on Monday. As amended by the House, the bill would now require all public schools, public libraries, and private schools to have in place a system or process of blocking obscene or hurtful content on the Internet. This bill unanimously passed the Senate back in February. The bill will soon head to the House floor.
· Drug testing bill passes out of committee This bill requires recipients of and applicants for TANF benefits and unemployment benefits to complete drug testing if deemed to be reasonably suspicious passed out of the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee. While I did not vote for this when it came through the Senate a few weeks ago, it did pass the Senate 31-8. The House will soon debate it on the floor.
Kansas unemployment rates unchanged
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January stayed unchanged from December at 5.5 percent. The Department of Labor reported that the rate improved considerably from the same time a year ago.
Kansas gained 16,900 nonfarm jobs and 19,300 private sector jobs since January 2012. Professional and business services added 8,600 jobs over the past year while leisure and hospitality businesses gained 3,000 jobs and financial services added 2,400.
Visit the link below to like us on Facebook for continual updates and photos about what Senator Pettey is accomplishing in Topeka:
Dr. Mary Redmon, DO – Kansas City – Doctor of the Day-March 15.
Trisha and Dallas Drakulich – Overland Park
Charlie and Kathy Rogers – Overland Park
Jean Goodman and teachers from Shawnee Mission
Rashanda Rhodes, Deryk Greenwood, Dr. Tyrone Bates, Tarence Maddox - Wyandotte County Young Urban Professional
Jenny Green -Turner High School
KansasWorks employer partner incentive announced
Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary Pat George and Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore announced the launching of the KansasWorks Employer Partner Incentive, which is designed to connect employers with persons with disabilities who are looking for secure, permanent, competitive and integrated employment.
A partnership between the two agencies will provide participating employers with incentives for hiring and retaining persons with disabilities who are certified as eligible by DCF.
Through the KansasWorks Employer Partner Incentive, employers will be paid $1,500 for employing a qualified employee on a full-time basis for 90 days. If the qualified individual is still employed after a year, the employer will be eligible to receive an additional $1,500.
Employers may also receive $1,000 for employing a qualified worker for a year on a part-time basis that includes a minimum of 20 hours of work per week. Jobs must offer the same level of benefits and pay as is offered to non-qualified workers.
Employers interested in participating in the KansasWorks Employer Partner Incentive should contact Jeff Schroeder with the Kansas Department of Commerce at 785-296-0658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 18 pages - Jackson Drakulich, Courtney Wagner from Hocker Grove School. Jessie Brown, Gibson Pettey Brown from Liberty Middle School.
March 19 pages - Kyle Rogers from Shawnee Mission South & Corinne Rogers - Shawnee Mission Indian Woods Middle School.
Merriam parent Heather Ousley walks 60 miles to Topeka
Heather Ousley, the Merriam, Kan., mother of three and member of Game On for Kansas Schools took three days to walk the 60 miles from her home to the Statehouse in an effort to call attention to the legislature’s failure to take care of public schools.
Ousley finished her walk Tuesday morning starting at the KNEA office and walking to the Statehouse in the company of nearly 100 teachers and parents. Once there, she and members of NEA-Shawnee Mission held a press conference calling upon legislators to step up and fund our schools.
Rep. Bonnie Sharp passing
Former House Rep. Bonnie Sharp died March 21st. Bonnie represented the 32nd district in Wyandotte County for 10 years. Her husband, Elmer, was KCK city councilman prior to consolidation.
Helen M. Graves passing
Helen M. Graves, the mother of Kansas’ 43rd Gov. Bill Graves, passed away Sunday, March 17. I had the privilege of serving in the Legislature during part of Gov. Graves tenure. He was a great supporter of consolidation and attracting the Kansas Speedway.
First Lady Brownback announces winners of 2013 Kansas Book Festival grants
Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback announced the winners of the 2013 Kansas Book Festival Grants March 20 at the Statehouse in Topeka.
“The Kansas Book Festival works year round to promote literacy and encourage a life-long love of reading," First Lady Brownback said. “These grants will help preserve and improve local and school libraries across the state” and will help libraries to purchase new technology like computers, iPads and eBooks as well as a wide range of reading materials for a wide range of reading levels.
Congratulations to Washington High School Library upon receiving a $1,000 2013 Book Grant.
The 2013 Kansas Book Festival will be held September 7th at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka. All age groups are invited to attend the free, day-long event. To learn more, visit kansasbookfestival.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
Newsletter from Sen. Pat Pettey, posted by Mary Rupert