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The Proehl Perspective

The legislative schedule has been amended to provide more time at the end of session. The “turnaround” deadline has been moved up a week and will be this coming Tuesday, which means we have a long weekend and I am grateful for a few more days at home after a chaotic month. I’m glad we are moving things along, we don’t need to be dilly-dallying, we need to get our work done and get home.
  • Our work in Topeka is far from complete this year or next, and I’m asking you to send me back to make sure your voice is heard. I filed for re-election last week and would be grateful for your vote on August 2nd!
  • I welcomed the Kansas Phi Theta Kappa All-State Academic Team at the Capitol a week or so ago – what an impressive bunch of students.
Under the Dome
At this point in the session, we are quickly moving bills out of committees and to the floor for full consideration. Any bills not passed out of the House and “turned around” to the Senate or “blessed” by Tuesday will not be available for consideration the rest of the year.
  • Jargon Alert: Bills are “blessed” when they are introduced or referred to the House Appropriations, Tax, Fed & State Affairs, or Calendar & Printing Committees, and are exempt from legislative deadlines. When deadlines approach, the Speaker will refer bills to these committees to “keep them alive” for the remainder of the session. 
On the Floor
In my last newsletter, I discussed the budget (H Sub SB 161) which covers the remainder of this fiscal year and the next. The Senate passed a similar budget, and a conference committee was appointed to hammer out the differences.
  • Jargon Alert: As a reminder, a conference committee consists of the Chair, Vice Chair, and Ranking Minority members of the committees in the House and Senate from which a bill was originally passed, for a total of six members, four Republicans and two Democrats. The three Senators negotiate for the parts of the bill the Senate supported (the Senate position) and vice versa. Typically, all six negotiators must sign off on the compromise bill, and the agreement goes to both chambers for a yes-or-no vote, amendments are not allowed to be offered.
    • In recent years, however, conference committees have used a procedural tool to avoid the “six signature” rule, called Agree to Disagree. This requires a majority vote of both the House and the Senate to allow just four signatures on the committee report.
    • With more than 95 Republicans in the House and more than 30 in the Senate, these are relative easy votes to achieve (63 and 21 are the majority numbers in the House and Senate, respectively.)

Contact Me:

January-May in Topeka:
State Capitol, Room 581-W
Phone: 785 296-7639

At home in Parsons:

510 Pine Ridge Road
Parsons, KS 67357
Phone: 620-421-1804
Email: rproehl@labettebank.com

This budget bill includes a number of very good provisions, though I wouldn’t say it is a good bill. It is a bill that I hope will prevent across-the-board cuts, but it’s not pretty. The conference committee report passed both the House and the Senate this week and is awaiting the governor’s signature. Here are a few of the items to address challenges you’ve likely seen on the news:
  • $2 million for Osawatomie State Hospital and $1 million for Larned State Hospital for to help with understaffing and certification issues.
  • 2.5% one-time raises for corrections officers (there’s no money to continue the raises next year)
HB 2456 would allow Kansas to join the interstate medical licensure compact, which would allow broader recognition of medical licenses from state to state, creates a database of all licensed physicians to increase accountability, and sets up a hearing and disciplinary structure.

HB 2518 requires all birth and death certificates be filed with the state electronically beginning in 2017. Interesting change and hopefully gets a lot of paperwork out of the way during these traumatic times.

Committee Work
Appropriations:
This was “efficiency” week as we heard from consultants Alvarez and Marsal on how to implement their recommendations, specifically regarding information technology changes and establishing a Grants Office with a few employees to help the state maximize grants available from the federal government. We have missed out on a number of opportunities to provide programming we could not afford, but which could be funded by federal grants.
 
Transportation:
More than 20 years ago, John Troy, Pete Hughes and Earl Seifert worked with Missouri officials to coordinate the numbering of Highway 400. HB 2520 memorializes that effort by designating the section of Hwy 400 from its intersection with Queens road in Labette county, east to the intersection with Udall Road as the John Troy, Pete Hughes and Earl Seifert highway. About $2400 will need to be raised to purchase and install the designation sign. We combined this bill with a few other highway naming initiatives into HB 2610.
 
HB 2564 would add $0.50 to your vehicle registration to benefit the Eisenhower Foundation’s work to educate Kansans about the life and legacy of Dwight Eisenhower. It’s anticipated to raise more than $1.3 million. I like the effort, but it seems vehicle registration is already expensive, and I can see this as just another fund that will be raided.
 
I’m sure you’ve been running late and end up caught behind a school bus. In fact, I think the universe only allows that to happen when you’re already running late! However, if you go ahead and pass a school bus and put children at risk, HB 2470 would increase the fines ultimately to $1,000. Plus, the bill allows school districts to equip buses with cameras to record evidence against violators.
  • Not paying turnpike tolls? HB 2605 will block your next tag registration renewal!
  • HB 2529 would add a $150 annual license fee AND a $300 annual registration fee for electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • HB 2643 would allow the secretary of KDOT to increase the maximum speed limit by five miles per hour on certain highways.
  • We had hearing with a number of ag producer groups on HB 2644 to allow for overweight vehicles for certain haulers.
Transportation Budget:
The committee welcomed the efficiency consultants Alvarez & Marsal to hear their implementation recommendations for transportation-related improvements.
The committee had a very active week of hearings on some very interesting bills. 
It is an honor to represent you in Topeka. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Rep. Rich Proehl
Kansas House District 7
Serving Labette and Montgomery Counties
Copyright © 2016 Paid for by Rich Proehl for Kansas House, Sandy Manners, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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