No committees met this week. We were on the floor throughout the day and into the evening hours debating bills that had passed out of our many Committees.
This Week at the Statehouse
March 1-March 5
The Senate was on the floor each day. We gaveled in at 10:00 a.m. and debated bills on General Orders. I carried my first bill on the floor this week ….and an amendment!
Final Action the Week of March 1-5.
Monday, March 1st
SB 20designates a portion of United States highway 69 as the Senator Dennis Wilson Memorial Highway. Passed 39-0.
SB 26 designates a portion of K-7 as the Senator Bud Burke Memorial Highway. Passed 39-0.
SB 89 would amend law on securing loads on vehicles to create an exemption for trucks, trailers, or semitrailers when hauling agricultural forage commodities intrastate from the place of production to a market or place of storage. The bill states this exemption would not apply to trucks, trailers, or semitrailers hauling hay bales or other packaged or bundled forage commodities. Passed 39-0.
Sub for HB 2049 prohibits a public agency that is the subject of an audit pursuant to the statute or any other law from charging a fee for copies of or access to certain records requested by the legislative division of post audit. Passed 39-0.
Tuesday, March 2nd
SB 19 designates a portion of United States Highway 77 as the CPL Allen E. Oatney and SP4 Gene A. Myers memorial highway. Passed 39-0.
SB 51 would direct the State Department of Education and the Department for Children and Families to collaboratively prepare the Kansas Foster Care Children Annual Academic Report Card. The Report Card would contain information from the previous year for students in foster care, such as graduation rates, test scores, grade level promotions, academic progress, and other data. Passed 39-0.
SB 62 would amend state standards for free school-administered vision screenings to add new definitions and amend others; modify the frequency of the vision screenings to specify the grade levels and specific circumstances under which the screenings would occur; provide for vision screenings for students in accredited nonpublic schools; require screenings be performed by a vision screener who would follow the most recent state vision screening guidelines; and require vision screening results and any necessary referral for an examination by an ophthalmologist or optometrist be reported to the parents or guardians of the student. The bill would also establish an eight-member Kansas Children’s Vision Health and School Readiness Commission.Passed 35-4. I voted YES.
SB 172 creates a new four-tiered approach governing the protection of a wide array of critical infrastructure in Kansas. The list of facilities and infrastructure includes refineries, pipelines, electrical power, water supply and treatment, wireline, broadband and wireless telecommunications, federally licensed radio and television transmissions, dams, crude oil and gas storage, railroads, among others. Under the bill, a range of penalties would be imposed depending on the severity of the crime, ranging from a misdemeanor for simple trespassing to felonies for damaging, destroying, vandalizing, defacing, or tampering with a critical infrastructure in Kansas. Passed 29-9. I voted YES.
SB 83 would amend provisions in the statute governing the State Child Death Review Board regarding confidentiality of information acquired by and records of the Board. Passed 39-0.
SB 86 conforms certain KPERS provisions with the federal CARES act. Passed 39-0.
SB 106 would enact the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) and repeal the Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (ULONA), as well as other current laws regarding notaries.Passed 39-0.
SB 120 would establish the Joint Committee on Child Welfare System Oversight. The bill would outline the topics for Joint Committee review, provide for the appointment and compensation of Joint Committee members, establish the frequency of meetings, require an annual report to designated House and Senate leadership positions and certain standing committees, allow for professional services, and authorize the Joint Committee to make recommendations and introduce legislation.Passed 37-2.
SB 126 would amend the Club and Drinking Establishment Act by authorizing the sale of alcoholic liquor by specific organizations, such as American Legion and VFW locations, for special events. Passed 36-1.
SB 142 would require an operator of any vessel to require every person on such vessel age 12 or younger to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while aboard or being towed by such a vessel unless such person is below decks or in an enclosed cabin. Passed 36-3. I voted YES.
SB 143 would update and rearrange definitions regarding grain and grain warehouses, clarify when applications for license should be made, remove a reference regarding an independent public accountant, clarify the fee for a functional unit license, increase the maximum fee caps for storage fees, increase the allowable examination period for grain warehouses, and make technical changes.Passed 30-9.
SB 159 pays certain claims against the state submitted by the joint committee on special claims against the state.Passed 39-0.
SB 160 updates the valuation process for illegally commercialized fish and mussels and update the reference to the American Fisheries Society guidelines to the most recent special publication. Passed 38-1.
SB 175would enact the Rural Emergency Hospital Act and create a category of licensure to enable certain Kansas hospitals to receive federal health care reimbursement as Rural Emergency Hospitals. Passed 39-0.
SB 261 would establish the Asbestos Remediation Fund. The bill would also require the Secretary of Health and Environment to remit all moneys received from several sources to the State Treasurer. Passed 38-1.
HB 2022 would amend law concerning the filing of complaints and investigations pertaining to abandoned wells, responsible parties for plugging abandoned wells, and funds used by the Kansas Corporation Commission for plugging abandoned wells.Passed 39-0.
Wednesday, March 3rd
Sub for SB 88 the Kansas legislature took swift action to provide immediate relief to cities who were facing extremely high energy bills ensuring the power will remain on in those communities. The bill creates the City Utility Low-Interest Loan Program, which would provide loans to cities for extraordinary electric or natural gas costs incurred during the extreme winter weather event of February 2021.
The total aggregate amount of loans issued under the program, which would be administered by the State Treasurer, could not exceed $100.0 million of unencumbered funds.
As the Topeka Capital-Journal reported “Municipalities like Denison say they cannot afford to wait for the results of an investigation….. The tiny town of 169 residents in Jackson County is stuck with a gas bill of $241,400, which is double the $125,000 it paid for gas in all of 2020.”
Many other small towns in Kansas were faced with the similar problem and faced the prospect of having power shut down to their communities and thus to their residents. So, the legislature had to act swiftly and did so, passing the bill in a matter of a couple of hours. It went to the governor on Wednesday evening, who signed it immediately. Passed 38-1. I voted YES.
SB 23 provides for abatement of property tax for certain buildings or improvements destroyed or substantially destroyed by natural disaster.Passed 38-1.
SB 63 would amend law regarding the providing of ACT college entrance exams and WorkKeys assessments to school students.Passed 39-0.
SB 71 would authorize, for tax years 2021 to 2025, nonrefundable income or financial institutions privilege tax credits equivalent to 50.0 percent of certain contributions to the Eisenhower Foundation. Credits would be capped at $25,000 for any individual income taxpayer and at $50,000 for any corporation income or privilege taxpayer. The total amount of credits claimed in any fiscal year would be limited to $350,000. The bill is intended to support the efforts of the Eisenhower Foundation to improve the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Passed 39-0.
SB 72 concerns Appraisers and training. It would require any continuing education courses required of appraisers for retaining their status on the list of eligible appraisers that are not offered by the Property Valuation Division, Department of Revenue, to be courses approved by the Kansas Real Estate Appraisal Board. On and after July 1, 2022, the bill would require courses necessary to qualify for a registered mass appraiser designation and subsequent continuing education courses to be approved by the Kansas Real Estate Appraisal Board. The bill would require mandatory courses for members of the State Board of Tax Appeals that are not otherwise state-certified general real property appraisers to be approved by the Kansas Real Estate Appraisal Board. The bill’s provisions would ensure Kansas appraisal training and qualifications are in accord with Kansas law. Passed 28-11. I voted YES.
SB 78 would amend several provisions in the Insurance Code pertaining to service contracts, surplus lines of insurance, the Standard Nonforfeiture Law for Individual Deferred Annuities, the Utilization Review Organization Act and oversight of utilization review organizations, and risk retention groups. The bill would also amend a requirement in the Professional Employer Organization Registration Act pertaining to registration of PEOs. The bill also would repeal the Automobile Club Services Act and a statute relating to the power of the Commissioner of Insurance to examine and investigate into the affairs of persons engaged in the business of insurance to determine whether any unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice has occurred. Passed 39-0.
Sub for SB 84 is the Senate version to allow sports wagering in the state of Kansas. Under the bill, sports wagering would be operated through the state-owned casinos as part of the Expanded Lottery Act, adopted in 2007. Sports wagering would be allowed at sports books established at the facilities themselves as well as on mobile platforms in accordance with sports wagering platforms in other states. The state would retain 5.5% of sports wagers placed in person and 8.0% of wagers placed via a digital mechanism. One would have to be 21 to place a bet. The bill contains several provisions to fund programs to help those who are addicted to gambling. Passed 26-12. I voted YES.
SB 90 creates economic incentives in rural communities by allowing vertical renovations of certain buildings for residential purposes to be a permitted use of bond proceeds and amend definitions under the Kansas Rural Housing Incentive District Act. The bill would provide that, within a Rural Housing Incentive District, proceeds from the special obligation bonds may be used for the renovation of buildings that are located in central business districts and exceed 25 years of age as certified by the Secretary of Commerce. This is important to our rural communities. Passed 33-6. I voted YES.
SB 91 would allow a company to transfer up to 50 percent of the tax credits received from the High Performance Incentive Program (HPIP) to another company or individual per year. Transferability would be allowed only for projects placed into service on or after January 1, 2021. In the event a transferee’s tax liability is less than the amount transferred, the transferee would be allowed to carry forward the credits for up to 16 years. Proponents generally stated HPIP is an effective program and transferability of tax credits is necessary to compete with other states with similar transferability provisions.Passed 34-5. I voted YES.
SB 98 is in regard to any Board of Tax Appeals decision or opinion properly submitted to the district court relating to the determination of valuation of residential or commercial and industrial real property or the classification of property for assessment purposes, county appraisers would have the duty to initiate the production of evidence to demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence the validity and correctness of such determination.Passed 38-1.
SB 101 would amend the definition of and regulate the operations of electric-assisted bicycles (e-bikes). The bill is part of a national effort to create uniform state laws on the use of e-bikes, the fastest growing segment of the bicycle market, and similar provisions have been enacted by 28 states and are pending in 16. They stated having three classes of e-bikes would help make clear where e-bikes with certain characteristics may be ridden or are prohibited. Passed 36-3. I voted YES.
SB 102 requires earlier notice of anticipated release from custody of a person who may be a sexually violent predator to the attorney general and a multidisciplinary team and specifying where such person will be detained during civil commitment proceedings.Passed 39-0.
SB 104 was a very simple yet very important bill, designed to ensure runaway foster children and other children at risk are returned to a safe and secure facility, not to the foster home they ran away from, until it can be ascertained that the child was not in a harmful situation. A secure facility, as specifically defined, is not jail. We have a responsibility to care for these most vulnerable youth, many of whom have runaway multiple times. This bill gives the state of Kansas another tool to ensure the safety of these children.Passed 28-9. I voted YES.
SB 116 authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to let to construction any modernization or expansion project under the Eisenhower Program that would utilize federal stimulus funds regardless of whether at least one phase of each of the remaining Transportation Works for Kansas Program (T-Works) modernization and expansion projects has been let.Passed 39-0.
SB 119 amends several provisions regarding the appraisal process in Kansas. It would prohibit BOTA or a county appraiser from increasing the appraised valuation of property as a result of an appeal of the valuation of the property or an informal meeting concerning the property in question. It would also change the time in which aggrieved parties may request a full and complete opinion from BOTA from 14 days following the receipt of a summary decision from BOTA to 21 days following service of a summary decision from BOTA. Service would be defined according to KAPA. The bill would stipulate that the Department of Revenue’s Director of Property Valuation provide notice to certain persons and provide an opportunity for a hearing under the Kansas Administrative Procedure Act prior to removing their names from the eligibility list for the office of county appraiser for certain acts or omissions. Passed 38-1.
SB 122 would amend various sections within the Kansas Rules of Evidence related to the authentication of records and documents. Passed 38-1.
SB 124 would supplement, amend, and reauthorize the Sales Tax and Revenue (STAR) Bonds program. The bill would add rural redevelopment projects to the program for areas outside a metropolitan statistical area. Rural redevelopment projects would have a capital investment floor of $3.0 million and allow for vertical building and rehabilitation. Rural redevelopment projects would not be required to issue General Obligation Bonds but could finance projects from sales tax revenues annually up to $10.0 million. This was very important to our local Chamber. Passed 24-11. I voted YES.
SB 127 would amend laws related to driver’s licenses. The bill would add a commercial driver’s license to the driver’s licenses that could be renewed online, except if the CDL has a hazardous materials endorsement. The bill would extend the maximum age for online application for renewal of a driver’s license from less than age 50 to less than age 65.Passed 39-0.
SB 131 would allow funeral processions to pass through intersections and disregard traffic control devices, notwithstanding any state law, city ordinance, or county resolution relating to traffic control devices or right-of-way provisions.Passed 39-0.
SB 147 would provide a sales tax exemption for purchases made by nonprofit integrated community care organizations. Midland Cares will benefit from this. Passed 39-0.
SB 167 would expand the definition of “authorized emergency vehicle” in the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways to include a vehicle operated by an authorized person for an electric or natural gas public utility; a local exchange or telecommunications carrier or video service provider; or a provider of telecommunications or wireless services. Passed 39-0.
SB 170 would remove the sunset date for the Advisory Committee on Trauma of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and regional trauma councils regarding the ability to conduct closed session meetings when reviewing trauma cases and any records or findings that are privileged.Passed 39-0.
SB 178 would amend provisions governing organization and supervision in the Kansas Banking Code to permit a national bank, federal savings association, or federal savings bank to convert to a state trust company. The bill would also permit a trust company to convert its charter to one of the above-named financial institutions. Passed 39-0.
SB 185 would authorize the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to adopt rules and regulations, establish a sign language interpreter registration process that includes background checks, and provide guidelines for communication access services. Passed 24-15. I vote YES.
Sub for SB 238 would establish certification and funding processes for certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs) and prescribe the powers, duties, and functions of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment with regard to CCBHCs. The bill would also authorize a licensed out-of-state physician with a telemedicine waiver issued by the State Board of Healing Arts to practice telemedicine in Kansas. The bill would also amend the disciplinary authority of the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board and modify licensure and temporary permit requirements of professional counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, addiction counselors, psychologists, and master’s level psychologists.
Amendment for Medicaid Expansion. During the debate on SB 238 an amendment was brought to Expand Medicaid by the Senate Minority Leader. This was a surprise to many Medicaid Expansion supporters, including me. There was no preparation and several Medicaid Expansion supporters were missing from the Chamber. There was no chance for this amendment to pass and there was no reason to jeopardize the underlying bill. In my remarks on the Senate floor, I said as a House member I have voted in favor of Medicaid Expansion several times and it is important to many of my constituents, but we are risking the underlying mental health bill. I am a supporter of Medicaid Expansion, but this was not a viable amendment as you can tell from the vote. The Amendment failed 12-23.
More information on SB 283 and why it was so important :
In the statute authorizing the use of telemedicine, the bill would amend a provision allowing an out-of-state physician to practice telemedicine to treat Kansas patients, to replace a requirement that such physician notify the State Board of Healing Arts and meet certain conditions with a requirement that the physician hold a temporary emergency license granted by the Board. The expiration date of this section also would be extended for one year, from March 31, 2021, until March 31, 2022.
The bill would amend the COVID-19 Response and Reopening for Business Liability Protection Act to extend the expiration date of the statute governing COVID-19 claim immunity for persons or agents of persons conducting business in the state by one year, until March 31, 2022.
The bill would amend a statute regarding immunity for health care providers related to COVID-19 to add an expiration date of March 31, 2022.
The bill would amend a provision regarding critical access hospital bed limits to extend its expiration from June 30, 2021, until March 31, 2022. Passed 31-8. I voted YES.
The Legislature is now on a break until Wednesday, March 10th. Staff needs time to “turnaround” the bills that the Senate passed this week and send them to the House. The Senate will receive the bills passed by the House. Committees will begin meeting again on Wednesday the 10th.
Individuals that are unable to complete the survey online should call the COVID Hotline at 785-251-4949 for assistance in completing the survey. Individuals will be contacted to make an appointment when vaccine is available.
Stormont Vail has established a COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Line as another option for individuals to use. Individuals aged 65 and over can call (785) 270-0644 to schedule their COVID-19 appointment.
How Do I Get A COVID VACCINE IN WABAUNSEE COUNTY?
County Health Departments are the best source of information regarding vaccinations. www.wbcounty.org contains useful information from the Health Department and a form to complete to receive your vaccination.
Click on the COVID 19 button (this is where the Health Dept. will continue to post updates).
On the next page, look on the left side, you will see a tab labeled COVID-19 Vaccination Request For Wabaunsee Residents, click on it.
Complete the form and hit submit!
WB County has entered into vaccinating residents in their 70’s, so they are making progress. It is all dependent on the number of vaccines received each week.
Remember: You will need to complete a form for each person that is wanting on the list. PLEASE only register once for each person. If you have called the Health Dept. to be placed on the list, DO NOT complete an online form, you are already on the list.
There is a new web-site that is being updated regularly with COVID Vaccine information from KDHE that might be of interest, as well. www.KansasVaccine.gov
Follow Our Work in the Legislature
In this time of COVID and a lack of public access to our Chambers, if you are interested in actually seeing what we are doing, then I encourage you to find us “virtually.”
Here are links to help you:
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 – www.kslegislature.org - has extensive information on legislators, committees, bills, and past sessions.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything I can do for you. I am honored to represent you in the Kansas Legislature.
STATEHOUSE OFFICE: Room 223-E
State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
HOME: Brenda S. Dietrich
6110 SW 38th Terrace
Topeka, KS 66610
Home phone: 785-861-7065