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The Proehl Perspective

Dear Friend:
 
Thanks to all who attended our town hall meeting on Saturday, March 25, and to the Parsons Sun for covering the event. It was a packed house and an engaging crowd.

Please join me for a conversation about legislative issues at the Parsons Kiwanis Club on April 19th. They meet at noon at Peter's Chinese, 2424 Main.


Friday was the deadline for bills to be heard and voted out of their committees, and April 7 is the deadline for non-exempt bills to pass out of their secondary chambers (Senate bills must have passed the Senate and the House and vice versa). So we are working furiously to debate and pass bills before we adjourn next week. As a reminder, bills are exempt if they were introduced, heard, or referred to the:
  • House Committee on Appropriations, Taxation, Federal & State Affairs, or Calendar & Printing, or the 
  • Senate Committee on Ways & Means, Assessment & Taxation, or Federal & State Affairs.
All other bills are “dead” for the session and not available for consideration, unless they passed the House or the Senate. In that case, a bill can be added into a conference committee report. Conference Committees have begun and we will have our first Conference Committee Report (CCR) to consider this week when the rescission (edited current year budget) bill is debated.

Around the District
Transportation Committee took a field trip! The first picture was taken under Willard Bridge in Shawnee County and the second picture was along Highway 24:

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

Survey Results
Your answers to my 2017 legislative survey have been very helpful, especially in the last few weeks as the bills we discuss become more controversial. To more than 300 who participated, thank you, I’m grateful to hear from you on the issues which face our state. I can’t share the results to all of the questions in one email or your email will block it, so I will share a few questions at a time. For now: Medicaid (KanCare) Expansion, Tax, Budget, Campus Carry. 
In the News
Medicaid Expansion Veto Override
The House and Senate passed Medicaid Expansion and it was sent to the governor for consideration this week. He vetoed it Thursday morning and the motion was tabled until yesterday. With your support as survey respondents, and the strong support of the Chambers of Commerce and hospitals, I voted to override Governor Brownback’s veto but the vote failed 81-44 (84 required for override).
 
School Finance
The House K-12 Budget Committee introduced “The Chairmen’s Bill” (HB 2410), compiled by the chairmen of the House Education and K-12 Budget Committees, Reps. Clay Aurand (R-Belleville) and Larry Campbell (R-Olathe). The Kansas Department of Education created the following resources about the bill. Please keep in mind, this is the starting point, and not the final bill, but this is where negotiations began. These links will download documents:
In this plan, our local districts get the short end of the stick, like the other 100+ school districts that lose money under the plan as introduced:
  • Parsons: $311,818
  • Coffeyville School District: -$375,082
  • Labette County School District: $520,299
  • Oswego: -$103,268
The committee met until 8:30 Thursday evening significantly amending HB 2410 to resemble the 1992-2014 formula, with a number of significant tweaks and improvements. At least we know that formula IS constitutional, IF adequately funded. The key components now include:
  • Fully funded all-day kindergarten beginning in the fall of 2018
  • $2 million per year dedicated to at-risk 4-year olds
  • Local Option Budget (local property tax commitment which stays with local school districts) remains at 33%.
  • Allowed flexibility in enrollment counts. Per Pupil funding is based on the student headcount on September 20. The new bill allows flexibility to use that number or the previous year’s count, whichever is higher.
  • Maintained the military “2nd Count” on February 20, and allows for a funding increase based on the net gain or loss of student population.
  • Restored funding for English Language Learners programs, with funding based on student contact hours or the number of ELL certified teachers, leaving the choice up to the school district.
  • $4,170 base state aid + Transportation Funding
    • The Chairman committed to working the policy provisions of the bill first, and then moving to the underlying cost, the biggest of which is the base amount provided to districts for each student. The committee was tired and broke for the weekend for research staff to produce district-by-district “runs” (spreadsheets) for the policy provisions so far, without amending the underlying base state aid amount.
    • The Chairman committed to returning to work next week on this piece and transportation funding, which is a very complicated matrix, so this is a temporary number.
I have been in touch with our school districts to ensure I know what to fight for in the new school finance formula and will keep you updated with how the bill changes over the next week.
 

On the Floor
Of the dozens of bills debated and voted on the floor these two weeks, I’ve included a handful of broad interest or local impact. For more information, the complete listing of bills debated is provided in the House Calendar.
 
HB 2273 expands the Kansas No-Call Act by adding new requirements to telephone solicitors who use robocalls:
  • Calls would be prohibited unless the recipient of call consents to being called or a live operator gets the person’s permission before beginning the recorded call.
  • Calls before 9 a.m. and after 8 p.m. would not be allowed.
  • Calls to hospitals, recuperation centers, ambulance services and other health, emergency and law enforcement services would be prohibited.
  • The bill does not include calls from elected officials or candidates.
It passed 121-1, I voted YES. Committee testimony on the bill.
 
H Sub for SB 40—This legislation would add new provisions to the law punishing human trafficking, including changing existing crimes related to sexual exploitation of a child, buying sexual relations, and the commercial, sexual exploitation of a child. The original SB 40, as passed by the Senate, 38-1, was a completely different bill that dealt with issuing warrants for bond revocations. The House replaced that bill with the contents of SB 179, the trafficking bill. The House approved the amended bill unanimously. A conference committee will be needed to work out differences between the bills. Testimony from the SB 179 hearing.
 
If you are an executor, power of attorney, guardian, conservator, or trustee of a deceased persons effects, SB 63 would authorize access to digital assets as well. Some easy examples are shutting down a Facebook or Twitter account and closing online banking. The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously. Testimony: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/SB63/testimony
 
SB 154 clarifies the difference between home health, a medical service and other types of home care provided to seniors in their homes so they can maintain their independence. The bill finalizes an earlier reorganization of the credentialing process for home health agencies, moving those duties from the Department of Health and Environment to the Department of Aging and Disability Services. The House passed the bill, 122-0. The Senate earlier approved it, 38-2. Committee testimony is here.
 
Currently, retirees may return to work for KPERS-participating employers if they have been separated from employment for at least 60 days with no pre-existing arrangement to return to work, and if they earn less than $25,000 per year. H Sub for SB 21 would exclude certain retirees who return to work under certain conditions (primarily university employees). It passed the House 114-9, I voted YES. The original contents of SB 21 on the Kansas Money Transmitter Act were added into SB 20 during House consideration. Differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the bill will be decided in conference committee. House Financial Institutions and Pensions committee hearing testimony.
 
Sub SB 74 would enact Joey’s Law, to authorize placards for use in vehicles to individuals who need assistance with cognition, including those with autism spectrum disorder. The bill would authorize:
  1. A decal to be affixed to a license plate,
  2. A placard, as well as
  3. Placement on a driver’s license of an indicator that the person needs assistance with cognition.
The bill passed the House unanimously, and earlier passed the Senate, 28-11.
 

Committee Work
For most of my colleagues, their committee work is complete for the session. However, I sit on the Appropriations and Taxation Committees, which create the budget and the tax plan to pay for it, so we will continue to meet.
 
For example, Tax Committee held hearings and passed a bill last week to create a flat tax at 5%. The current tax structure uses two brackets, 2.7 percent and 4.6 percent. HB 2395 would change that to a 5% tax rate for all individual filers earning more than $10,000 annually and married joint filers earning more than $20,000. Anyone earning less would pay no tax, and the current LLC exemption is repealed. This bill doesn’t come close to raising the revenue necessary to fund the budget.
 
Finally, we held a hearing and passed HB 2235, which would require retailers to report the untaxed Kansas sales to the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR), and provide a notice in each untaxed purchase that the sales tax is due to KDOR, as well as an annual report to each purchaser of their previous year’s purchases on which sales tax was not collected. The bill is based on a Colorado measure passed in 2010 but not implemented until this year due to a court battle over interstate commerce concerns. Read the testimony here.
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 © 2017 Paid for by Rich Proehl for Kansas House, Sandy Manners, Treasurer, All rights reserved.