Legislative Update from Brenda Dietrich

Heading to First Adjournment

The Kansas Senate completed a whirlwind three days of floor work at 1:30 a.m. in the overnight hours between Wednesday and Thursday. The legislature is now on a four-day break before returning on Monday, March 28th, for a five-day week to complete the regular part of the 2022 legislative session.

Next week, our work will primarily consist of voting on conference committee reports, which are produced by conference committees working on ironing out differences between House and Senate versions of legislation.

After the conclusion of the regular session, the legislature is scheduled to take a three week break before returning for the Veto Session in late April and early May.

As a reminder, this year the primary duties of the legislature are to adopt the maps for the next decade, in addition to the constitutional requirement to pass a budget for the next fiscal year.

Contact Brenda


On Wednesday, the Kansas House adopted a new House map for the next ten years.  Later in the day, it then passed a bill containing both the Senate map approved by the Senate last week as well as the House map.

House Sub for SB 563, which contains both the House and Senate maps, can be viewed by clicking hereAs you can see, my 20th Senate District in Southwest Topeka is only slightly changed east of Gage, but the 20th Senate District has gained all of Wabaunsee County.

This means the only map left to pass either chamber is for the State Board of Education. This week, Senate Republican Leadership introduced the Apple Map, which will be heard early next week in the Senate Redistricting Committee.  The State Board of Education has ten districts, each containing four Senate districts.

At the Capitol

Resolution Fighting Anti-Semitism
This week, the Kansas Senate adopted HCR 5030, a resolution making certain findings regarding antisemitism, and adopting a definition of the term by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA.

The resolution states the State of Kansas adopts the non-legally binding IHRA working definition of antisemitism and requires the Kansas Department of Administration to ensure the definition is available as an educational resource for all state agencies. The resolution further states nothing in the resolution shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

As the resolution states, the Jewish community continues to be targeted in the United States and is consistently the most likely of all religious groups to be victimized by incidents of hate.  The Kansas Jewish Community has tragically experienced this hatred firsthand – as it did on April 13, 2014 when three people lost their lives due to anti-Semitic attacks at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and the Village Shalom, both located in Overland Park.

HCR 5030 passed both the Kansas Senate and Kansas House without opposition.

On the Floor

Constitutional Amendments

The Senate adopted HCR 5022, which if approved by voters, would amend Article 9, Sections 2 and 5 of the Kansas Constitution to require County Sheriffs to remain elected if the county had not abolished the sheriff prior to January of this year, and would allow counties who abolished it (Riley County is the only one) to restore the elected Sheriff. HCR 5022 passed 30-2. I voted YES.

The Kansas Senate followed the Kansas House in adopting HCR 5014, which if approved by the voters, would amend the Kansas Constitution to allow for legislative revocation or suspension of rules and regulations issued by the executive branch with a simple majority vote. HCR 5014 passed the Senate 27-13.  I voted YES. Having already passed the House, it will head to the ballot this November.

SCR 1620  would require a supermajority (two-thirds of both chambers) to pass any bill creating a new state tax or increase the rate of any existing tax. I certainly support fiscal responsibility and have always taken votes concerning taxes (increase or decrease) with extreme caution. Kansas has seen the impact of going too far one way or the other. However, Kansas does not need a constitutional amendment to require this practice.  The Legislature could simply put this provision in the joint rules or the Senate rules. In recent years, the Legislature adopted a rule called "Pay Go," which required all amendments on the budget to be budget neutral, which means if you add spending, you have got to decrease it by a corresponding amount in another area of the budget.  And if the Legislature were serious about this, they could do it now, without a rule. At the end of the day it shouldn't be easier to pass a constitutional amendment than it is to work toward common sense compromise. SCR 1620 failed on a vote of 25-14. I voted NO.

SCR 1621 would reform our process for selecting Supreme Court justices. It would have moved the state to a process resembling the approval of federal jurists, where judges are picked by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.  I think we have all witnessed how controversial and partisan the Senate Confirmation process is at the federal level. Our current Nominating Commission is a much more balanced process. The majority of my constituents were against the Constitutional Amendment.   SCR 1621 failed on a vote of 26-13.  I voted NO.

SB 351 would require the Secretary of State to develop an affidavit system to be used for persons transferring ballots; provide for the use of electronic poll books in elections; authorize the Secretary to review, approve, and adopt rules and regulations regarding the use of such electronic poll books; prohibit voting systems from having the capability of connecting to the internet or other network; create the crime of electronic poll book fraud; and amend requirements related to the testing of election equipment. SB 351 passed 29-10. I voted YES.

SB 438 requires audits of any federal, statewide or state legislative race that is within 1% of the total votes cast and requiring randomized audits of elections procedures used in four counties in even-numbered years.  SB 438 passed 38-1. I voted YES.

S Sub for HB 2056 would limit county election offices to one remote ballot box for every 30,000 registered voters in the county; require remote ballot boxes to be monitored; tie the available hours of a remote ballot box to the hours of operation of a county election office; extend the advance voting period by three days; and shorten the voter registration deadline before an election by three days.  It would also require remote ballot boxes, when open, to be continuously observed by an employee of the county election office. S Sub for HB 2056 passed 22-17. I voted NO.  County clerks/election officials in our smaller counties were very opposed to this bill.

S Sub for HB 2416 - would create law regarding compensation for the use, restriction of use, loss, or destruction of property as a result of governmental actions related to the prevention of or response to contagious or infectious disease. The bill also would amend law related to property tax relief for businesses affected by governmental shutdowns or restrictions related to certain emergencies and would enact the COVID-19 Retail Storefront Property Tax Relief Act.S Sub for HB 2416 passed the Senate 26-11. I voted YES.
S Sub for HB 2239 would create the Golden Years Homestead Property Tax Freeze Program, increase the individual income tax standard deduction, enact the SALT Parity Act, amend law related to carrying forward net operating losses, create tax exemptions for federal disallowances related to certain employment tax credits, create tax credits for contributions to technical and community colleges, and provide for an income tax checkoff for state historic sites. S Sub for HB 2239 passed 36-2. I voted YES.
S Sub for HB 2597 contains several provisions related to property taxes in Kansas including the federal Grassland Conservation Reserve Program shall be classified as grassland for property tax purposes; land utilized by zoos would be classified as land devoted to agricultural use for purposes of property taxation; antique utility trailers (older than 30 years and not used for commercial purpose) will have a property tax exemption beginning in tax year 2023; and the taxable value of personal property acquired or sold after January 1 and prior to September 1 of any taxable year to be prorated based upon the number of months, or majority portion thereof, the property was owned during the year divided by 12 months. Property acquired on or after September 1 would not be subject to tax for the current year. Sub for HB 2597 passed the Senate 32-6. I voted YES.

S Sub for HB 2448 is a bill that requires non-disabled adults without dependents to complete an employment and training program in order to continue to receive food assistance.  S Sub for HB 2448 passed the Senate 27-12. I voted YES.

SB 340 would make changes to the Kansas Promise Scholarship Act. The bill would address the responsibilities of the State Board of Regents and the responsibilities of postsecondary institutions, and it would authorize the designation of additional eligible programs and fields of study.  SB 340 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2574 amends law related to awards by the Crime Victims Compensation Board. The bill would raise the award limit for funeral and related expenses from $5,000 to $7,500 and raise the award limit for crime scene cleanup from $1,000 to $2,500. HB 2574 passed 37-0. I voted YES.

HB 2510 would amend certain investment limitation requirements to increase the permissible investment options in equity interests and preferred stock for Kansas-domiciled life insurance companies. HB 2510 passed 37-2. I voted YES.

HB 2564 would amend the effective date specified in the Insurance Code for the risk-based capital instructions promulgated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) for property and casualty companies and for life insurance companies.  HB 2564 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

SB 546 would permit operation of driverless-capable vehicles without a human driver with the automated driving system engaged under certain circumstances. SB 564 passed 24-12. I voted YES.

SCR 1619 urges the adoption of the 2021 Special Committee on Taxation’s conclusions and recommendations regarding the fiscal future of Kansas. The resolution contains “whereas” clauses noting the recommendations of the Special Committee concerning the use of State General Fund ending balances and receipts in excess of expenditures, constitutional amendment proposals limiting taxes or expenditures, energy production taxation, income taxation of retirement income and Social Security benefits, and property tax circuit breakers.  SCR 1619 passed the Senate 28-11. I voted YES.

HB 2110 would require, for the next State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) coverage year (Plan Year 2023), the State Employees Health Care Commission to provide coverage for the diagnosis and prescribed treatment for pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) and pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS), for the purposes of studying the utilization and cost of such coverageHB 2110 passed 32-4. I voted YES.

HB 2363 would amend law governing compensation for services provided to indigents to require appointed counsel be paid at a rate not to exceed $100 per hour through June 30, 2023, and at a rate not to exceed $120 per hour on and after July 1, 2023. The current rate is $80.  HB 2363 passed 35-3. I voted YES.

S Sub for HB 2458 would clarify law regarding liability for optometrists and ophthalmologists who provide information required for issuance or renewal of an applicant’s driver’s license. The bill would specify no optometrist or ophthalmologist reporting to the Division or the Medical Advisory Board in good faith any information relating to vision would be liable to any person subsequent to the issuance or the renewal of a driver’s license to the applicant. S Sub for HB 2458 passed 38-1. I voted YES.

HB 2462 would amend law to remove committee membership requirements for legislators appointed to the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations. Under current law, legislators appointed to the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations must be selected only from the membership of the standing committees on Federal and State Affairs and Judiciary, the House Committee on Taxation, or the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation. HB 2462 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2476 would authorize two distinctive license plates related to military honors and four distinctive license plates related to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) for issuance on or after January 1, 2023. The military honors plates would be available to recipients of the Silver Star or the Bronze Star, and the KDWP plates would represent state parks, hunting, fishing, and nongame wildlife.  HB 2476 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2481 would authorize members of the Kansas Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (KP&F) to purchase service time credited as KP&F service for eligible prior in-state, non-federal governmental employment. Under the bill, eligible members would not be able to purchase service that is already credited as service time in another pension plan. The bill would allow the purchase to be paid through a single, lump-sum payment or through payroll deductions. HB 2481 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2489 would make several amendments to the Technology-enabled Fiduciary Financial Institutions Act (TEFFI Act) pertaining to an updated definition, fingerprinting requirement, existing application fee, governing documents, evaluation and examination, customer disclosure, and services and authorized activities. The bill also would amend the definition of “financial institution” within a statute requiring the reporting of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of certain individuals to include fiduciary financial institutions.  HB 2489 passed 37-0. I voted YES.

HH 2490 amends law governing the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) savings program to make the 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. HB 2490 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2547 would amend and enact law supplemental to the Captive Insurance Act to allow a technology-enabled fiduciary financial institution (TEFFI) insurance company to operate as an authorized captive insurance company in Kansas. HB 2547 passed 36-1. I voted YES.

HB 2559 would establish the Kansas Cotton Boll Weevil Act and create the Kansas Cotton Boll Weevil Program, which would be administered by a board of directors. The Board would have the authority, for the purposes of administering and implementing the Program, to establish and implement a cotton pest monitoring plan. The bill would allow the Board to authorize the development and implementation of an eradication plan with the Secretary of Agriculture, pursuant to the Plant Pest and Agriculture Commodity Certification Act. After considerable debate, HB 2559 passed 32-6. I voted YES.

S Sub for HB 2567 would alter the calculation of local foundation aid within the Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act (KSEEA) by removing federal impact aid from the formula. It would also exclude the Fort Leavenworth school district and virtual school students from the capital improvement state aid determination. S Sub for HB 2567 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2568 would update the Kansas Mortgage Business Act (KMBA) to allow certain mortgage business to be conducted remotely and make changes to definitions and branch licensure and other registration requirements for mortgage companies. HB 2568 passed 38-1. I voted YES.

HB 2595 makes certain antique vehicle titling procedures applicable to vehicles having a model year of 1960 or later instead of 1950 or later. HB 2595 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2605 would expand and clarify the requirements for the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine and create an advisory committee to oversee the Program. HB 2605 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2703 would amend law related to unemployment compensation regarding out-of-state reimbursing employers, fund control tables, solvency and credit rate schedules, and the My Reemployment Plan program. HB 2703 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2299 would amend the Code of Criminal Procedure to extend, from 96 hours to 240 hours, the time period within which a search warrant must be executed after it is issued.  HB 2299 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2712 would establish the Kansas Commission for the United States Semi-quincentennial Act. The U.S. Semi-quincentennial, on July 4, 2026, will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the country.  HB 2712 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2456 would authorize the Secretary of Wildlife and Parks to issue a Kansas kids lifetime combination hunting and fishing license on or after January 1, 2023, to Kansas residents of certain ages upon payment of a fee, which could be paid on behalf of the child.  For a child five years of age or younger, the license fee would be $300 and for a child six years of age or older, but not more than 12 years of age, the license fee would be $400. On and after July 1, 2027, the license fees could be increased up to an additional $100, with approval from the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission. HB 2456 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2537 would amend a statute governing hearings by the Commissioner of Insurance to add a provision allowing a person subject to any order, as defined in the Kansas Administrative Procedure Act (KAPA), issued by the Commissioner to request a hearing on such order. If such a request is made, the bill would require the Commissioner to conduct a hearing in accordance with KAPA provisions. HB 2537 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2386 would establish requirements and restrictions for the payment and reimbursement of dental services. HB 2386 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

Sub for HB 2466 would create the Promoting Advancement in Computing Knowledge Act (PACK Act), the Computer Science Pre-service Educator Program, and authorize the State Board of Education to provide grants to high-quality professional learning providers. The PACK Act would require, beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, each secondary school operated by a school district to offer at least one computer science course. Sub for HB 2466 passed 28-11. I voted YES.

HB 2228 would create and amend law related to sexual assault evidence kits and collection of evidence related to abuse or sexual assault. It would create law requiring all law enforcement agencies in Kansas to adopt a written policy requiring submission of all sexual assault kits that correspond to a law enforcement report of sexual assault to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Criminalistics Laboratory, Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), or another accredited forensic laboratory. The bill would require the policies to be adopted and implemented by all law enforcement agencies in Kansas prior to January 31, 2023.  HB 2228 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2607 would amend time limitations for habeas corpus motions under KSA 60-1507 and would amend the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) regarding the notice of release or anticipated release of sexually violent predators (SVPs). HB 2607 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2377 would create and amend law related to driving under the influence (DUI) and driving a commercial motor vehicle under the influence (commercial DUI). The bill also would make additional amendments regarding diversions and commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). HB 2377 passed 38-1. I voted YES.

SB 155 would update statutes related to newborn screening and designate those statutes as the Newborn Screening Act. The bill would also establish the Universal Newborn Screening Program (UNSP) within the Act.  SB 155 passed 39-0. I voted YES.

HB 2608 removes provisions authorizing criminal restitution to be enforced as a civil judgment and authorizing judicial districts to contract for collection services for criminal restitution. HB 2608 passed 34-5. I voted YES.

HB 2541 would shift deposit of certain fees and surcharges from Judicial Branch fee funds to the State General Fund. HB 2541 passed 34-5. I voted YES.

SB 541 is a comprehensive bill containing several provisions that would restrict local government from enacting certain public health provisions as might be needed in their communities or schools. It also allowed the public to sue the city or county if someone felt aggrieved by a local health ordinance to prevent the spread of ANY contagious or infectious disease. This bill was not good public health policy and would have significant unintended consequences, if enacted.  SB 541 passed the Senate 24-14. I voted NO.

SB 489 would amend statute concerning the powers of the Secretary of Health and Environment and local health officers to issue health orders in response to ANY infectious or contagious disease, by removing the ability of officials to issue orders that restrict or shut down businesses or gatherings, and to quarantine individuals or groups.  SB 489 passed the Senate 24-15. I voted NO.  This is not good public health policy and was not supported by our medical professionals.

S Sub for HB 2280 is a controversial bill that would allow physicians to write prescriptions for off-label medications for COVID-19 and require they will be filled by pharmacistsS Sub for HB 2280 passed 21-16. I voted NO.  This bill is not supported by pharmacists and physicians in our community and is not good public health policy.

 SB 455 is an open enrollment bill allowing students to move from one public school district to another, beginning with the 2023-24 school year. Districts would not be forced to take students beyond their capacity and local Boards are still in control of the process.  I carried this bill on the floor as a member of the Education Committee.  This bill as it was amended, was a better bill than the original bill. SB 455 passed 23-16. I voted YES.

SB 496 would require the boards of education of each school district to develop and adopt policies to guarantee parents’ rights, including curriculum transparency that provides parents the right to be informed about and review all materials related to their children's education, including educational and health records related to their child. Local school districts already have these opportunities for parents. This bill was unnecessary. SB 496 passed 24-15I voted NO.

SB 484, is the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which bans students in K-12, plus college aged students, from competing on teams that are not of their biological sex.  I objected to the elementary piece of this bill which I think is unnecessary and unfairly targets our youngest students and voted to amend it, but the amendment did not pass.  This bill applies to intramural sports sponsored by a school district for students K-5th grade.  These students, both male and female, currently play and compete together. As a former Superintendent, I have seen first-hand the skills and confidence students gain when participating in these activities. While the intent of this bill may not be to eliminate opportunities like these for students; the reality is it does. The original bill passed the Senate 27-12, which is a veto proof majority. I voted NO.
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.

          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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