Legislative Update from Brenda Dietrich

Wrap up of Week 9
in the Kansas Legislature

The legislature returned on Wednesday, March 10th after a short break.  Even though this was a 3-day week, our Committees met and we debated Bills and Confirmations on the floor. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Marla Luckert swore in our newest Senator, Ron Ryckman, Sr. (R-Meade) to take the seat of the late Senator Bud Estes.  Ron Ryckman, Sr. was in the House for 2 terms and his son is Speaker of the House, Ron Ryckman, Jr.

Contact Brenda

Virtual Meetings for the Week of March 8th

  • Wednesday, March 10th – KMEA Board members regarding Music in our Schools month.
  • Wednesday, March 10th – Early Learning Caucus – learning more about how ECH programs are funded.
  • Wednesday, March 10th – Northern Flyer Alliance Rail Caucus – Working on expanding rail service in Kansas….and see the Good News below!
  • Wednesday, March 10th – Guest speaker for Baker University Educational Leadership Class….presenting on Legislative Advocacy and Legislative Process.
  • Friday, March 12th    -      Commissioner’s Task Force on distributing ESSR II and  EANS funds  (Federal funds).  This meets every Friday from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Some Good News

Amtrak plans to bring daily service back to the Southwest Chief and 11 other long-distance routes by May 31st

The Southwest Chief runs from Chicago to Los Angeles with stops in Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, Newton, Hutchinson, Dodge City and Garden City.

The service was cut to three times a week last October in response to falling ridership stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

My Committee Work

All Committees met and had Hearings and Briefings

  • Briefing on Kansas Dept. of Revenue – Division of Vehicles.
  • Hearing on HB2007 — Updating motor carrier laws and the     regulation of motor carriers by the state corporation commission.
Financial Institutions and Insurance
  • Confirmation hearing on: Member, KPERS Board of Trustees  Kathleen VonAchen, term ends January 15, 2025 (Passed out of Committee without recommendation)
  • Hearing on:
    • HB2243 — Adjusting the frequency of the KPERS actuarial experience study.
    • HB2063 — Providing certain KP&F Tier II spousal and children's benefits for death resulting from a service-connected disability.
    • HB2064 — Making DROP elections revocable and allowing DROP members who first elected a DROP period of less than five years to extend such DROP period. (DROP is a deferred retirement option for Troopers and KBI)
Federal and State Affairs
  • Hearing on:
    • HB2066Substitute for HB 2066 by Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development - Expanding the military spouse and service member’s expedited licensure law to all applicants who have established or intend to establish residency in Kansas.
    • Discussion & Final action on: HB2066 — Substitute for HB 2066 by Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development - Expanding the military spouse and service member’s expedited licensure law to all applicants who have established or intend to establish residency in Kansas. (Passed out of Committee).
    • Discussion and Final action on; SB2 — Allowing consumption of beer and wine on the Kansas state fairgrounds and crediting a portion of moneys collected from the liquor enforcement tax to the state fair capital improvements fund.  (Passed out of Committee)
  • Briefing on: Foster Child Report Card
  • Hearing on:
    • HB2124 — Clarifying the authority of healing arts school clinics to provide healing arts services.
    • HB2070 — Allowing certain private not-for-profit postsecondary educational institutions to recoup credit card fees by permitting a surcharge for credit card transactions in the same manner as municipal universities, community colleges, technical colleges and vocational educational schools.

This Week at the Statehouse

Final Action the Week of March 8

SB 13 –  The  Senate passed this bill in January, 34-1. This bill establishes notice and public hearing requirements prior to approval by a governing body to exceed its revenue neutral rate for property tax purposes. It also discontinues the city and county tax lid, prohibiting valuation increase of real property solely as the result of normal repair, replacement or maintenance of existing structure and establishing a payment plan for the payment of property taxes. The House amended the bill to include all local taxing jurisdictions in the state, including school districts, and funding to cover the cost of the notices for 2 years.  On Thursday, the Senate accepted those amendments in a vote of 30-5, which was a vote to concur on the House’s changes.  As a result, the bill is now headed to the governor. I voted YES.
SB 50 -.  This bill would mandate the collection and remittance of sales and compensating use tax by most marketplace facilitators beginning July 1, 2021. Such entities with annual gross receipts from sales sourced into Kansas in excess of $100,000 would be subject to the mandate, which also would apply to out-of-state retailers with annual receipts from sales sourced into Kansas in excess of $100,000.   This simply means that out-of-state online businesses, like Amazon, have to pay the same taxes as our in-state brick and mortar businesses.  This bill levels the playing field for our Main Street businesses here at home. It passed 35-3.  I voted YES.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program

On Thursday, the Governor’s Office announced the expansion of the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program. Effective immediately, the Kansas Department for Children and Families is extending the application deadline for LIEAP to May 28. Additionally, the agency is expanding the income requirements from 130% of the federal poverty level to 150%. DCF also will review all previously denied applications during the 2021 LIEAP program year. Any cases that now qualify under the new income threshold and meet other eligibility criteria will receive the benefit.
LIEAP applications are available at local DCF offices and through partnering agencies. They can be requested by calling 1-800-432-0043. To apply online, click here. For more information, click here. 


COVID Vaccination Information

The Kansas Vaccine Dashboard shows that 525,926 Kansans are reported as vaccinated as of Friday, March 12th. . You can find the COVID-19 vaccine dashboard here.
There are some changes in guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  for those who have been vaccinated.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is issuing similar guidance in Kansas.

      1.)  Two weeks after Kansans receive their completed vaccination…the second dose for Pfizer and Moderna and two weeks after the single dose for Johnson & Johnson,,,,  Kansans may begin to gather in their private homes with other fully vaccinated people, in small groups, without masks or social distancing.

     2.) The guidance also allows for vaccinated people to gather in private homes with unvaccinated people so long as the unvaccinated people are from a single household and are at low risk for developing severe disease.

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 – - has extensive information on legislators, committees, bills, and past sessions.


Contact Me

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.
Room 223-E
State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-7648
Brenda S. Dietrich
6110 SW 38th Terrace
Topeka, KS   66610
Home phone:  785-861-7065

Copyright © 2021 Dietrich for Senate, All rights reserved.

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