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Pat PetteySen. Pat Pettey
April 5, 2013
In this issue:
· Regular session adjourns
· Tax plan stalled
· Budget update
· Governor signs bills
· Bills head to governor’s desk
· Denied request to join school finance case
· March revenues down
· District happenings
· Free state licenses for hunting and fishing
· KCAIC to hold strategic planning
· Network Kansas awards community economic gardening
· American Legion Boys State
· Sunflower Girls State
· Applicants sought for Ethics Commission
· Attorney general approves sale of Providence and St. John hospitals
· 2013 Summer youth night hoops
· Important state numbers
Regular session adjourns
The 2013 regular session adjourned this week after passing numerous bills and conference committee reports. On May 8, legislators will return for veto session, when any vetoes by the governor will be considered. I will keep you updated as these decisions are finalized in the coming weeks.
During this recess period from April 6 – May 8, I will be at home in the district and you can contact me anytime by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Tax plan stalled
The House-Senate Tax Conference Committee met the first half of the week, but concluded by close of Wednesday that an agreement would not be reached by Friday. They did not meet Thursday or Friday. They plan to meet again when veto session starts May 8. The biggest disagreement in the tax plan is whether to keep the sales tax rate at 6.3 percent or let it expire to 5.7 percent.
The budget conference committee met all week, but they did not agree on a budget with the biggest disagreement being how big of cuts to make to higher education. With regular session adjourned, the committee will have to pick up negotiations when legislators return May 8 for veto session.
As you may recall, the Senate passed a budget last week that is premised on the permanent increase of sales tax at 6.3 percent, the 24 percent reduction in itemized deductions, and the continued cuts to income taxes. It also requires a 2-percent cut to higher education and does not include any additional funding for K-12 schools.
The House’s budget, on the other hand, is premised on allowing the sales tax expire as planned, reducing itemized deductions by 24 percent, and only further reducing income tax rates in each year that overall state revenues grow by more than 2 percent. It requires a 4 percent cut to higher education and also does not include any additional funding for K-12 schools.
I support the House position on the budget, except I believe we are cutting higher education too much.
Governor signs bills
Gov. Brownback has signed a total of 18 bills into law. Bills worth noting:
· HB2019 changes the way judges are chosen for the state Court of Appeals by authorizing the governor to select appellate judges. Currently, judges are selected through a nominating process where the governor selects from a list of top candidates. I voted against this bill.
· HB2022 – the paycheck deduction bill – prohibits the voluntary paycheck deduction of contributions to union political action committees. The bill also authorizes employers to withhold wages for replacement cost or unpaid balance of employer’s merchandise or uniforms purchased by the employee; to recoup overpayment of wages; to repay loans made by the employer to the employee; or to cover the cost of lost or stolen property provided to the employee during employment. I voted against this bill.
· SB2252 eliminates the statute of limitations for rape and aggravated criminal sodomy and extends prosecution of sexually violent crimes to 10 years. It also allows for prosecution of sexually violent crime when the victim is less than 18 years old within one year of date the identity of the suspect is conclusively established by DNA testing or within ten years of the date the victim turns 18 years old, whichever is later. Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D-Wichita) co-sponsored this bill. I voted for it.
· HB 2181 authorizes a licensing body to waive educational requirements towards certification or licensure for any former military service member who completes a distance education course through an accredited educational institution. The courses must be substantially equivalent to the standards required for certification or licensure. I voted for it.
Bills head to governor's desk
As the regular session wrapped up, a host of bills passed out of Senate and are now making their way to the governor’s desk to sign into law. Here are just a few:
· SB111 establishes the first Wednesday of February beginning in 2014 as Native American Day at the Capitol. The House committee amended the bill to change the title of “American Indian Day,” which is observed as the fourth Saturday of September, to “Native American Day.” It also adds children in the custody of a federally recognized Indian tribe in Kansas to the list of individuals awarded a high school diploma upon the completion of existing requirements. This is language that clarifies a bill passed in 2011. Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D-Wichita) introduced this bill. I voted for it.
· HB2009 reinstates legislation that sunset in 2012. It allows individuals with suspended licenses that have resulted from unpaid fines related to traffic violations to submit an application with a $25 non-refundable application fee to the division of vehicles. Upon approval, applicants receive a restricted driver’s license and are allowed to drive to work so they can make wages to pay their fines. It also allows them to obtain insurance and drive legally. I voted for it.
· HB2033 prohibits municipalities from regulating the transportation, possession, carrying, sales, transfers, purchases, gifting, licensing, registration or uses of a knife or knife-making components. Also, it removes specific types of pocket knives and switchblade knives from provisions related to the criminal use of weapons and criminal carrying of a weapon and adds throwing stars to lists of prohibited weapons in statutes. The bill does not include school districts, jails, or juvenile correctional facilities in the definition of municipality. I voted for this bill.
· SB149 – the drug testing bill - bill requires recipients or applicants of TANF or unemployment benefits to complete a mandatory drug test in the event that they are deemed “reasonably suspicious.” When the bill went through the Senate earlier this month, Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley amended the bill to include members of the Senate and House of Representatives to also be subject to drug testing under reasonable suspicion. The Senate passed the bill on a 31-8 vote. I opposed it.
· SB142 protects doctors from “wrongful life” or “wrongful birth” lawsuits. This means that a doctor can withhold information from a mother pertaining to the condition of the unborn child that may result in the mother choosing to abort the pregnancy. When the child is born and the mother discovers the child’s condition, she cannot sue the doctor for withholding that information. I voted against it.
Request to join school finance case denied
The Supreme Court denied the request from Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley and House Democratic Leader Paul Davis to intervene in the mediation of the school finance lawsuit. Hensley and Davis filed the request back in early March because they believed the legislature needed to be involved to ensure that any mediation results in a solution that is truly realistic and beneficial to Kansas children.
March revenues down
The Kansas Department of Revenue reported that Kansas tax-only revenues came in at $56.5 million below estimates for March putting the state at just $8.6 million above estimates for the fiscal year to date.
Individual income taxes were reported at $32.3 million below estimates for this year, which is $47 million less than last March. Sales tax receipts were also down from estimates by $11.7 million and $5 million less than last March.
· This year the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival has more than 60 stations and 15 performances planned with the purpose of raising cultural awareness through educational entertainment. The event is hosted at the Kansas City Community College Field House on Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
· Congratulations to the Kansas City Community College Blue Devils men’s baseball team. The Blue Devils defeated Johnson County taking third seed, Wednesday, April 3. Come out and watch the Blue Devils play at home against the second seed Coffeyville team on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
· The 14th annual Original One-Act Play Festival at Kansas City Kansas Community College Thursday through Sunday, April 18-21, will benefit Hope Lodge, a motel-style facility located in downtown Kansas City where cancer patients who have to travel to Kansas City for treatment can stay free of charge for the duration of their treatment.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and children. The KCKCC Drama Club will also have refreshments for sale at each performance.
Kevin Walker – American Heart Assn – Overland Park
Free state licenses for hunting and fishing
State funding has been made available to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to provide free hunting and fishing license and park vehicle permits for the 2013 season to members of the Kansas National Guard. For more information visit their website at http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/news/State-Parks/Park-Fees.
The application cannot be faxed; it must be mailed to:
KDWPT Pratt Operations Office
512 SE 25th Ave.
Pratt, KS 67124-8174
ATTN: License Section/Guard Permits
KCAIC to hold strategic planning public input sessions
The Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC) will host a series of strategic planning public input sessions in April. Input from the public will be used by the KCAIC to help draft strategic plans and to guide activities in Fiscal Year 2014 and beyond.
Sessions will be facilitated by Kansas State University’s Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (ICDD). The purpose of ICDD is to engage in research, education and facilitation of civic communication processes that promote an informed citizenry and community-based decision making.
Public input sessions will be held at the following locations and times:
• Fort Scott – 6-8 p.m., April 10 at the Ellis Family Fine Arts Center, Fort Scott Comm. College.
• Lawrence – 6-8 p.m., April 11 at the Lawrence Arts Center.
• Shawnee Mission – 6-8 p.m., April 24 at the Indian Creek Tech Center.
All sessions are open to the public. Those interested in participating in one of the sessions are asked to register at www.kansascommerce.com/KCAICregistration.
NetWork Kansas awards community economic gardening engagements
NetWork Kansas has awarded Johnson County, the city of Parsons, and the city of Wichita with community-level economic gardening engagements through the statewide Kansas Economic Gardening Network. These community applications will support at least 16 economic gardening engagements worth more than $56,000 with second-stage businesses.
Opportunities still exist for communities to apply and receive matching funds for economic gardening engagements. The next application deadline is April 15, 2013. Communities interested in applying should visit the NetWork Kansas website http://www.networkkansas.com/about/network-kansas-programs/kansas-economic-gardening-network or contact Corey Mohn at (785) 296-6611 or email@example.com.
The American Legion Boys State of Kansas
The American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy is one of the most outstanding programs of its kind in the country. This year’s program will be held on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan from Sunday, June 9th – Saturday, June 15th. Information: contact Thane Chastain firstname.lastname@example.org Ph. (316) 371-4474
Sunflower Girls State
Dedicated to educating the youth of Kansas into the inner-workings of government through a "Learn by Doing" atmosphere.
Sunflower Girls State will be held on the campus of Washburn University in Topeka, Ks. The session will be held on June 2 - 7. Information – www.ksgirlsstate.org.
Applicants sought for Ethics Commission
Wyandotte County residents who have an interest in serving on the Ethics Commission for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas should submit a written application to the Office of the Legislative Auditor by 5 p.m. Monday, April 29.
Interested parties should send their written application to:
Thomas L. Wiss, Legislative Auditor
Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas
710 N. 7th Street, Suite 140
Kansas City, Kansas 66101
Attorney general approves sale of Providence and St. John hospitals
Prime Healthcare Services announced the completion of its acquisition of Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan. and Saint John Hospital in Leavenworth, Kan. from Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, Inc. in a news release issued by the healthcare company on Monday.
Last week, Schmidt conducted a public hearing in Kansas City to hear public input about the proposed sale. The majority of people and organizations who testified favored the sale, and Schmidt said concerns raised by others are addressed by the binding commitments to ongoing charitable care and community input. Schmidt said he found to be compelling the testimony by the hospitals' prior owner that it was not financially capable of continuing to operate the hospital stated in a news release issue by the AG's office.
The AG's release went on to say that Schmidt also commissioned an independent review of the transaction, which confirmed that the sale price was reasonable, that the purchaser was the highest qualified bidder and that all of the sale proceeds would be applied to the former owner's outstanding debt leaving none for other charitable purposes.
2013 summer youth night hoops
Parks and Recreation is partnering with the Wyandotte Athletic Association to sponsor a basketball tournament for boys and girls grades 2-12 at Sumner Academy High School located at 1610 N. 8th Street in Kansas City, Kan.
The tournament begins June 3 and the registration deadline is May 3.
For more information about the summer youth night hoops tournament, please contact Mr. Watson at 913-551-0400 or 913-551-0402 or Mr. Burton at 913-708-8325 or 913-551-0407.
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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
Tax Refund Status Info