Legislative Update from Brenda Dietrich

In Our Community

The month of March is always interesting in Topeka!  I am on the HCCI (Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc.) Board and we host the Great Topeka Bed Race every year prior to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  This year the weather was the challenge!  As you can see from the picture…..we had on winter parkas because it was 32 degrees and snowing hard by the time we finished!  This “bed” was a Best Decorated award winning entry from the Jayhawk Area Council of Boy Scouts, Troop 52.

I served “brunch” at Let’s Help on Saturday with Topeka South Rotary members and their families.  This picture was taken in the dishwashing area when we were done.  The dishwashers don’t have to wear those lovely hairnets!

At the Capitol

It was my honor to introduce the seven educators who have been selected as 2017 Master Teachers of the Year to the House on March 15th.  What a talented group of teachers!  It was especially exciting because Brandy Lane from Pauline South Intermediate in the Auburn-Washburn School District is one of the recipients. 


I had two Washburn Rural High School students join me as pages on March 14th. Thank you  Ryan Cunningham and Grant Kayser!

In The Legislature

We are rapidly approaching "First Adjournment” and Drop Dead Day.  The House will be on the floor debating bills all next week. For the most part, committees are done meeting for the year. The exceptions are the Appropriations Committee (budget), the Tax Committee, Federal & State Affairs Committee and the K-12 Budget Committee. Bills had to be worked and out of the remaining committees by Friday, March 24th. Now, the bills are ready for debate by the full House. We have two more weeks and we have lots of things happening.  Friday, April 7th is Drop Dead Day… bills will be considered after this date except bills vetoed by the Governor, Omnibus Appropriations Act and Omnibus Reconciliations spending limits bill.  Some of the most important bills and potential actions are listed below.

School Finance Bill

On Tuesday March 21, the House K-12 Education Budget Committee had an informational briefing on the proposed Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act, HB 2410.  This bill represents the work product of an entire session of public input arrived at through an open committee process. The bill encompasses components of several plans and ideas that were presented and has some components directly related to the 2006 Legislative Post Audit cost study. Hearings on the bill were held Thursday and Friday (March 23 and 24th), with action planned for early next week. The committee will continue to work on the bill to find the most reasonable, student-focused, outcomes-based formula that provides our students with the best possible opportunity for excellence.  There is still work to do as there are clearly some issues with the proposed formula and the wide disparities in the distribution of state aid. The expectation is the new School Finance Bill, with revisions, will be passed out of committee this next week.

Mega Budget Bill

On Monday, March 20th, the Appropriations Committee began its work on the Mega budget bill for fiscal year ’18 and ‘19, HB 2365, and the Judicial Branch budget bill, HB 2364.  On Tuesday, the Committee moved the contents of HB 2364 into HB 2365.  On Wednesday, the Committee chose to put off items from the A & M Efficiency Study for the Department of Education in the areas of health care and procurement for a broader, more in-depth review in the future.  On Friday, the Committee continued its work on the bill, adopting amendments to the bill.  The Committee will take up HB 2365 on Monday the 27th.

Rescission Conference Committee

A Conference Committee on HB 2052—changes to the current fiscal year budget—has begun meeting. Conference Committee is where the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Ranking Minority member of the House and Senate budget committees negotiate differences in bills passed to come up with one final piece of legislation which must pass each body. They will meet again on Monday the 27th at 1:30 PM in Room 112-N.  The Recission Bill is the budget reductions required for the current fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2017.


On Monday, March 20th the Tax Committee heard two “Flat Tax” bills with a single income tax rate. Those bills are HB 2385 and HB 2395.  HB 2385 included a 3.9% income tax rate and HB 2395 included a 5% income tax rate.  On Tuesday, the Committee heard HB 2384, which proposed a sales tax on certain services and would broaden the taxpayer base.  Those services included motor vehicle towing, investigation services, security guards and patrol services, janitorial services, barber shops, beauty salons, and nail salons.  The fiscal note had a revenue increase estimate of $25.7 million all funds ($21.55 million SGF) for FY ’18 and $51.8 million all funds ($43.43 million SGF) for FY ‘19.

On Wednesday, the Tax Committee heard HB 2400, which would require certain remote sellers to collect Kansas sales tax. The bill mirrors the 2016 South Dakota law.  The Committee has also heard HB 2235, which is based on Colorado’s law.  On Thursday, the Committee heard HB 2382, which would increase the motor fuels tax a total of 11 cents.

Simon's Law

On Tuesday, March 21st, the House Committee on Federal & State Affairs first heard testimony concerning HB 2307HB 2307, also known as “Simon’s Law,” would prohibit a hospital from withholding, withdrawing, or restricting life-sustaining measures for any patient under the age of 18, without written parental consent.  Additionally, the bill would prohibit hospitals from issuing a do-not-resuscitate order without written parental consent.  Simon Crosier, of whom the bill is named, was denied life sustaining treatment due to his unique birth.  Additionally, Simon’s doctors chose to issue a DNR without informing his parents—Simon passed without his family’s awareness of the order.  Simon’s Law has already passed the full Senate in the form of SB 85 with a final vote count of 29-9.  The committee will likely take action on the bill  Monday, March 27th.

Kansas Amusement Ride Act

On Thursday and Friday this past week, the Committee on Federal and State Affairs also held hearings on HB 2389, which would amend current law concerning amusement park inspections, permit fees, and would amend other provisions of the Kansas Amusement Ride Act.  Proponents of the bill expressed their concern for the safety of amusement park rides and would enforce inspection protocol.  In addition, the proponents noted the lack of safety measures in Kansas statute and requested greater inspection training requirements. Opponents asserted that HB 2389 would subject carnivals and traveling companies to burdensome regulations that may hamper business operations, and that National Association of Amusement Ride  Safety Officials (NAARSO) certifications act as sufficient training for inspectors.  Neutral testimony followed and highlighted potential lawsuits, age and size of different rides, and various certifications.  The Committee articulated concern for the insurance policy of $100,000, insuring the owner or operator against liability for injury—they identified the need to increase that threshold.  The committee will likely take action on this bill next week.

Cybersecurity Act

House Leadership made protecting taxpayers’ highly sensitive and private personal data a high priority with the creation of the House Committee on Government Technology, and Security. The committee worked diligently to craft HB 2331, which centralizes IT and cybersecurity for the state. It would create the Kansas Information Security Office and establish the position of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).  The bill would also replace the Office of Technology Services (OITS) to the Kansas Information Technology Enterprise (KITE).  KITE would be responsible for all functions of OITS.  These changes would reflect the need to develop and implement comprehensive information security programs, and would centralize all IT and cybersecurity operations for the state.  These efforts would protect all executive branch agencies, including the various departments, under one centralized system.  The Committee of the Whole amended HB 2331 to exclude KPERS from the bill’s provisions because of KPERS unique requirements under IRS regulations.  Even though this was not a unanimous vote on the floor of the House, most believed it was important to take this first step by creating the mechanism to allow the state to centralize technology and to have a laser-like focus on cybersecurity.

The bill passed the House 90-28, and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
To view a complete list and status of all pending legislation for the 2017 session, visit this site:

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.
Representative Brenda S. Dietrich
Room 166-W State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th St., Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-7648

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Contact Brenda

Room 166-W
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66610
Phone: 785 296-7648
Email Brenda

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