March 8, 2013
In this issue:
· Legislature begins second half of session
· February revenue falls short of estimates
· Senate passes ‘innovative’ bill
· Nominations open for business appreciation awards
· District happenings
· Kansas State Parks
· Legislative pages
· Kansas Department of Commerce/Hostess employees
· Business of Year recipient
· Unclaimed property
· Important state numbers
Legislature begins second half of session
Senators were back on the floor this Wednesday, following a four-day unpaid recess. My time will continue to be split between committees and floor debate for the next few weeks. At the end of March, we hit the deadline for non-exempt bills to be out of their second chamber. With little time left in the session, I encourage you to contact me with any concerns or questions you have about bills or committee meetings.
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.
I am honored to serve as your Senator. My office is located in room 125E. Please feel free to visit or to contact me at 785-296-7375 if you should have any questions.
February revenue falls short of estimates
The Kansas Department of Revenue reported last week that February’s tax-only revenue fell short of estimates by about $30 million. KDOR attributed much of the shortfall to the federal government delaying various tax filing deadlines.
Senate passes 'innovative' bill
Members of the Senate passed SB176, which proposes to create the Coalition of Innovative Districts Act. The bill would authorize a process where a school district board of education could apply for authority to operate as a “public innovative district,” which allows the districts to opt out of most state laws and rules and regulations in order to improve student achievement.
An amendment offered on the Senate floor would change the original 10 districts outlined in the bill to 10 percent of school districts. There are 285 school districts in the state. With the new amendment, 28 districts could be deemed “innovative” and not be required to follow state laws and rules and regulations. Kansas City, Kan., District 500 testified in favor of this bill but the district does not support removing all references to working with teachers under state law.
Senate voted 31-7 in favor of the bill.
Nominations now open for annual Business Appreciation awards
Nominations for the Kansas Department of Commerce’s annual Business Appreciation Month awards are now open. The awards serve as a statewide tribute to businesses for their contributions to Kansas and their local communities.
Nominations are accepted from chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, small business development centers, organizations and individuals. Companies may also nominate themselves.
Nominations are accepted through 5 p.m. April 3 and will be evaluated during the following month, with regional winners selected in the manufacturing/distribution, service, retail and hospital/non-profit categories.
Join the Sunflower Garden Club (Gardeners of America) for its program “Growing your Own Vegetables” at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, March 12, at the Eisenhower Community Center, 2901 N. 72nd St., Kansas City, Kan. The program will discuss the comeback of the World War II Victory Garden. For more information, call 913-287-7045.
Yard House Restaurant presented a gift for $8000 this week to the nonprofit group Cross-Lines, an agency that aims to fight poverty in the community. The gift reflects proceeds from the Yard House “Round It Up America” program.
The Wyandotte County Lake will officially open for fishing this Saturday, March 9. The Parks and Recreation Department states that lakes in the county will be stocked with 15,000 pounds of trout and 26,000 pounds of catfish for this year’s fishing season.
Kansas State Parks
On Saturday, March 9, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will serve as host for a free entrance day and open houses at all state parks. Visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of events at most parks.
During the open houses, park visitors can take advantage of low, off-season camping permit prices. March 31 is the last day annual camping permits are priced at off-season discounts. On April 1, the prices increase to their regular prime-season levels. Visitors can purchase annual camping permits and make cabin or campsite reservations during the open houses, as well. For pricing information, or to purchase permits online, go to the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com. For online permit purchases, click the License/Permits icon. For campsite and cabin reservations, click the Reservations icon.
Kansas motor vehicle owners can now buy an annual park vehicle permit as part of their vehicle registration process. The permit – called a Kansas State Parks Passport-will cost $15.00 (county treasurers can elect to add a .50 service fee). This lower-price, non-transferable permit will be available only during the vehicle registration process at a motor vehicle registration office, though the online vehicle registration site (www.kswebtags.org) or when registering by mail. The Kansas State Parks Passport will expire when the vehicle registration expires a year later.
On March 6 pages from Argentine Middle School: Makenze Nimmo, Juan Madreno, Karen Hernandez, Jaime Aguayo-Guzman.
Todd Boyer from Merriam, Chris Coffman.
Maureen Mikinski, Ally Wagner, Mia Dufek from KU.
Donna Higbee and Bobbi McClellan with Bonner Springs Parents as Teachers.
Kansas Department of Commerce announces Hostess employess may apply for benefits
The Kansas Department of Commerce announced that employees working in a Hostess/Interstate Brands site (including on-site leased workers) at the time of closure are eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program services.
The Department of Commerce is scheduling informational meetings across the state for Hostess/Interstate Brand workers. Topics will include explanations of TAA benefits, program enrollment information and identification of deadlines to participate in the program.
Employees of Hostess/Interstate Brands may apply for TAA benefits through their local Kansas Works Workforce Center. When making a Workforce Center appointment, affected employees should request to speak with a TAA case manager, or identify themselves as a laid off Hostess employee. At the time of scheduling an appointment, a list of required documents needed for enrollment will be explained to the applicant. A list of Workforce Centers can be obtained at KANSASWORKS.com or by calling 877-509-6757.
Business of the Year recipient
On March 12, Mid Star Lab, Inc. in Edwardsville, Kan., owned by Kari and Ron Wagner, will be recognized as a Business of the Year recipient, awarded by the Kansas Small Business Development Center.
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 the 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