Legislative Update from Brenda Dietrich

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day

Visitors at the Capitol

It was Credit Union Day at the Capitol on Monday!  I was visited by Envista Credit Union CEO Ron Smeltzer and his staff outside my office.  I have been a Credit Union member for 30+ years!  Thousands of residents in Shawnee County are credit union members. They provide an invaluable service in our communities.

Contact Brenda

We had over 300 students in the Capitol on Thursday for JAG-K Day.  Jobs for America’s Graduates partners with public schools to offer an elective class that provides academic and other positive supports to ensure students earn their diploma.  By exploring career opportunities and practicing soft skills, students are prepared to successfully transition to post-secondary education, military service, or into the workforce following their graduation. These high school kids from Topeka stopped by to say hello!  Great kids!!

Thursday was a busy day!!  The Kansas Department of Commerce held its 2022 Award Event for Community Development Block Grants that were given to 40 rural Kansas communities.  The grants totaled more than $17.6 million to help support critical community development projects……specifically for improving public safety, revitalizing infrastructure, and maximizing economic opportunity for our Kansas families.  The City of Auburn received a grant for $330,765 for storm water street improvements.  Below is a picture of the “big” check we received from the Governor and Lt. Governor with Mayor Mark Brown and City Council member Dorothy Bryan.

What’s Happening

We are a week and a half away from Turnaround Day in the Legislature, which is Feb. 24th. “Turnaround Day” is the first major legislative deadline of the session and signifies the movement of bills from their originating chamber (House or Senate) to the opposite body. Non-exempt bills which have not been worked out of committee, debated, and passed on the floor of the chamber will not move forward in the legislative process after Turnaround Day.                     

On the Floor

The Senate adopted several bills the last two weeks, including:

SB 329 amends law in order to make the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) savings program compliant with the federal Internal Revenue Code and mandatory federal regulations. The program allows individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds without violating federal means tested benefit requirements. SB 329 passed the Senate 40-0.

SB 330 would place a permanent memorial honoring Kansas Gold Star families on the Statehouse grounds. “Gold Star families” are families who have lost a family member in the line of military duty. SB 330 passed the Senate 40-0.

SB 358 would allow financing from the Public Water Supply Loan Fund (PWSLF) for public water supply projects that acquire water through a water transfer. It amends the definition of “project” by removing the restriction that project does not include any project related to the diversion or transportation of water acquired through a water transfer. The PWSLF is housed within the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and is used to provide low interest loans to municipalities, rural water districts, and wholesale public water supply districts, who use moneys from the PWSLF to invest in new and replacement infrastructure projects for the delivery of drinking water. SB 358 passed the Senate 40-0.

HB 2005 amend provisions of law related to the Boiler Safety Act. The bill would increase the maximum nominal water capacity of an exempt hot water supply boiler to 120 gallons from the current maximum of 85 gallons. The bill would remove the stipulation that a 120-gallon boiler is exempt from the Act only if it is part of an electrical utility generating plant. HB 2005 passed the Senate 40-0.

SB 327 would exclude delivery charges that are separately stated on an invoice or similar document from the sales price for purposes of retail sales and compensating use tax.  SB 327 passed the Senate 40-0.

Sub for SB 300 would amend definitions in the Kansas Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (Kansas RICO Act).  The bill would add to the definition of “covered person” a person who has engaged in identity theft or identity fraud, and also would add identity theft or identity fraud to the list of crimes for which committing, attempting, or conspiring to commit or soliciting, coercing, or intimidating another person to commit a misdemeanor or felony violation would constitute “racketeering activity.” Sub for SB 300 passed the Senate 40-0.

SB 346 would allow for the on-farm retail sale of milk or milk products, regulate the labeling and advertising of such products, extend the sunset date for certain milk and dairy license fees, allow the Secretary of Agriculture to declare an imminent health hazard when necessary to protect the public health, and allow the Kansas Department of Agriculture to assess a civil penalty for certain violations. SB 346 passed the Senate 38-2. I voted YES.

HB 2109 would amend the statute governing membership of the State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services (BIDS) to raise the population threshold from 100,000 to 115,000 for a county to automatically qualify for a lawyer member of BIDS, increase from five to six the number of lawyer members of, and decrease from four to three the number of non-lawyer members. The bill was necessary in order to legally be able to fill the 9th spot on the 9-member board.  HB 2109 passed the Senate 35-5. I voted YES.

Ad Astra 2 Map

Late last week, Governor Kelly vetoed the legislation containing the Ad Astra 2 Congressional Map.  This week, the legislature overrode her veto so the map is now law, although it will be challenged in court.

Highlights of the map include:
  • The map only splits four counties. Pawnee, Douglas, Jackson and Wyandotte. Both Douglas and Wyandotte are primarily divided along natural and geographic barriers such as highways and rivers.
  • The First District contains both University of Kansas and Kansas State University, which have aligned goals, returning them to the same Congressional district.
  • The Second District includes several military installations, including Ft. Riley, Ft. Leavenworth, Forbes Field, and the Kansas National Guard.
  • The Third District keeps Johnson County together, blending the Kansas City suburbs with nearby bedroom communities.
  • The Fourth District includes Wichita and surrounding communities.
  • Indian Reservations are kept wholly within Congressional districts.
Some citizens have asked about the process of drawing the 3rd District.  Because of population shifts in the last decade, placing Wyandotte County and Johnson County both completely within the 3rd District was not possible. The decision was made to keep Johnson County whole, which then necessitated dividing Wyandotte County.  The Kansas River and I-70 provided a natural and geographic barrier, so people within Wyandotte County would easily understand which Congressional district they resided in.  The resulting population shift required adding Miami, Franklin, and Anderson Counties, followed by minor adjustments to bring the deviation between districts to 0. Historically, Anderson, Franklin, and Miami have been fully or partially within the 3rd Congressional district at some point.

The Senate overrode the veto by a vote of 27-11 after a 24 hour reconsideration.  I voted YES. The House overrode the veto by a vote of 85-37.

Apex Bill - Signed Into Law

This week, the House and Senate both adopted the finalized version of the state’s new Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX) economic growth plan, which provides a robust and responsible package of incentives to attract major economic development to the state of Kansas. The final APEX Plan includes important oversight components, including by the State Finance Council.  The APEX Plan sets the stage for thousands of new jobs and game-changing private sector investments in our state, as well as important corporate tax reductions that benefit all who do business in Kansas. Contrary to what the governor proposed, the legislature included several critical oversight provisions to ensure proper fiscal responsibility in the years ahead.  This was a Concur/Non-Concur vote in the Senate.  I voted to Concur.

In Case You Missed It


Some good news! Kansas’ Largest Pizza Manufacturer Expanding.

Schwan's Company buys flour from Kansas mills, sausage from Tyson in Hutchinson and packaging supplies from a vendor in the Kansas City, Kansas area. By increasing the company's footprint in Salina, they are increasing goods that they already buy from vendors in Kansas. The pizzas coming out of the Salina plant, Tony's and Red Baron, are ranked second in the U.S. frozen-pizza market and first for school pizza.

You can follow what is happening in Committee rooms and on the floor of the Senate Chamber on-line.  Here are the links:
Kansas Legislature YouTube – Here you can follow the legislature live as it happens, or access archives of past sessions and committee meetings.
Kansas Legislature Audio – Here you can listen in on session or committees when they are in session, or access prior committee meetings, as well.
Kansas Legislature website – - has extensive information on legislators, committees, bills, and past sessions.

Contact Me

If you have any questions about the activities in my committees or want to share your views on any of the issues before the legislature, please feel free to email me or call my office.  My Assistant is Linda Woodworth and she will be happy to help you if I am in Committee.

          Brenda Dietrich
          Room 223-E, State Capitol Building
          300 SW 10th St.
          Topeka, KS 66612
Paid for by Dietrich for Senate - Harry Craig, Treasurer
Copyright © 2022 Dietrich for Senate, All rights reserved.

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