Legislative Update from Brenda Dietrich

March 2, 2020
Turn Around Up-date

We have now completed the 7th week of the 2020 Legislative Session and are on a short break after we made it to the Turnaround deadline.  Turnaround is the mid-point of the session and it is the first major legislative deadline which marks the movement of bills from their originating chamber to the opposite body. That means the House’s focus is now shifted primarily to working bills that were passed by the Senate during this first half of session, while the Senate takes up bills that were passed by the House.
Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 25-26) were exclusively devoted to debating bills and moving the process forward.  A total of 38 bills were worked and approved on the House floor and will now go to the Senate for consideration.
Bills that did not get voted on by the full House are considered “dead”, although 37 bills were  “blessed” by leadership and introduced into exempt committees (Taxation, Federal and State Affairs, and Appropriations). They are still available for debate and potential passage if leadership so desires.
We will have plenty of work to do when we return on Wednesday, March 4th.  Many important issues have not been resolved so when the second half of the session starts I would anticipate  action on the state budget, taxes, and the Governor’s Executive Reorganization Orders, among other things. You probably know that the Constitutional Amendment regulating abortion did not pass the House and is controlling a lot of what is, or is not, happening with  many pieces of legislation, including the Senate’s work on Medicaid expansion.  Just keep in mind that the Legislature’s next deadline is First Adjournment on April 3rd.

On the Floor

Important bills that have passed the House so far:
  • As a 4-year member of the Financial Institutions and Pensions committee, I carried HB 2452 on the floor of the House on February 25.  This bill provided certain KP&F spousal and children's benefits for death resulting from a service-connected disability.  It passed the House unanimously.
  • The House debated HB 2503 this week, which was the Governor’s plan to re-amortize the KPERS retirement plan. During the debate, Rep. Jim Kelly proposed an amendment to delete the re-amortization plan from the bill and instead continue down the fiscally-responsible path of paying off current debt.  HB 2503, as amended, will fully pay the states deferred KPERS obligations, ultimately saving the state $209 million in interest. It passed the House unanimously. 
  • HB 2506 will allow veterans, military service members and their spouses to continue to work in their chosen professions while their families are stationed or relocating to Kansas. This would allow individuals who are licensed for a specific profession in another state to apply for and receive that same occupational or professional license in Kansas. This includes regulated professions such as accountants, cosmetologists, Realtors and pharmacists. The bill was approved by the House on a vote of 123-2. I voted Yes. 
  • HB 2546. The bill would create the crime of sexual extortion, which is defined as threatening to injure the property or reputation of a person, commit violence against a person, or distribute an image or video of a person that is of a sexual nature or depicts a person in a state of nudity. Additionally, it would place any individual convicted of sexual extortion on the Sex Offender Registry if the crime involved a minor. This bill passed the House unanimously.
  • The House overwhelmingly passed HB 2516, legislation enacting First-Time Homebuyers accounts on a vote of 123-2. I voted Yes. The bill encourages individuals to set aside funds for costs associated with the purchase or construction of a first home. Structured like 529 college savings accounts, contributions to the savings accounts are tax deductible. Communities can also establish the accounts to attract professionals to make the move to their community.  During debate on the bill, the House added an amendment to have annual reports made to the Legislature on the implementation and usage of the tax credit provided for in the act.
  • HB 2469  - Extending terminal medical release to inmates in the custody of the Department of Corrections with a condition likely to cause death within 90 days. Passed 120-5.  I voted Yes.
  • HB 2480 – Updating the definition of long-term care insurance contained in the long-term care Insurance Pact. Passed unanimously.
  • HB 2495 – Authorizing the Crime Victims Compensation Board to waive application time restrictions for a victim of a sexually violent crime in order to receive compensation for mental health counseling.  Passed unanimously.
  • HB 2518 – Counting any crime with a Domestic Violence designation as a prior conviction under domestic battery.  Passed Unanimously.
  • HB 2646 – Requiring the Attorney General to coordinate training for law enforcement agencies on missing and murdered indigenous people. Passed unanimously.
  • HB 2585 – Exempting the retail sale of electricity for electric vehicle charging stations from the jurisdiction of the state Corporation Commission and requiring a siting permit from the Commission for the construction of certain electric transmission lines.  Passed 123-2.  I voted YES.
  • HB 2702 – Decoupling the KIT and KIR workforce training programs from the high-performance incentive fund program and enhancing the workforce training tax credit.  Passed unanimously.
  • HB 2618 – Establishing a state broadband grant program under the Department of Commerce to encourage the deployment of broadband in the state. Passed unanimously.
  • HB 2540 – Requiring moneys attributable to at-risk student weighting be expended for approved at-risk educational programs.  Passed 111-14.  I voted YES.

Visitors in the Capitol

On February 4, 2020, I had a LOT of visitors for Credit Union Day at the Capitol!  I have two credit unions in the 52nd House District…..Azura and Envista…..with 14,000+ members.  It’s such a large group we took a picture in the hallway outside my office!

We were not in session on Wednesday, February 5th (Chief’s Super Bowl Parade), but the 8th graders from Smoky Valley School District in Lindsborg came to the Capitol to spend the day and learn more about Government.  My niece is an 8th grader in that class, so I spent some time “tagging along” with the group and it was my honor to introduce Chief Justice Marla Luckert to the group in the Old Supreme Court Room at the Capitol.  Chief Justice Luckert is a constituent in my House District.

On Feb. 11th, I had the pleasure of visiting with two local high school athletic trainers in my office to discuss the concept of Concussion Teams in our school districts and a bill that was introduced in the House Education Committee.  Thanks for stopping by my office Mike Longhofer and Todd Gaddis!!


February was my lucky month for Pages!  On February 12th  I had two young men who spent the day with me and had their pictures taken with Governor Kelly.  Much thanks to Josh Parr, Washburn Rural Middle School and Clifford Ball, Auburn. Clifford is home schooled.

On February 20th I had two students from Jay Shideler Elementary, Dylan Willingham and Tanner Haddock, who had a great learning experience!  Pages have the opportunity to come to my Committee meetings, take a quick historical tour of the Capitol, Page on the floor of the House, and walk 296 steps up to the top of the Dome!  It’s always a fun day.

Goodwill Industries celebrated 125 Years of Service by providing a coffee and cookies reception on the 2nd floor of the Rotunda on February 19th.  Pictured with me are Representatives Jim Karleskint (Tonganoxie), Jason Probst (Hutchinson) and Marty Long (Ulysses).  It was a bi-partisan and suburban-rural coffee break!

Advocates from the Alzheimer’s Association stopped by to visit with me to solicit support for an Alzheimer’s Statewide Task Force and other issues of importance to those with Dementia.  This organization is a great resource for families and I am 100% in support of their initiatives.

My office is on the first floor and I get to see a lot of displays that are in the Capitol during the week because I have to walk through them to get to my office!  This display during Mental Health Week was a special one.  Zero Reasons Why is the initiative of six School Districts in Johnson County who are joining together to launch the #ZeroReasonsWhy community mobilization campaign to prevent teen suicide– because there are zero reasons why we cannot come together to make a difference on this community issue.  It is a motivated group of teenagers that are working on this….and, coincidently, one of the students in this picture is the granddaughter of the former Superintendent of Auburn-Washburn, my predecessor, Howard Shuler, who sadly passed away on March 1st.

The House Education/K-12 Budget Committees sponsored the Public Schools Week Resolution on February 24th.  All Legislators who had some connection to public schools as either teachers, administrators or School Board members were asked to come forward.  We have a large group in the House who are pro-education supporters!

February also focused on Technical Education in Kansas.  I ran into Tim Clothier, Dir. Of Business and Industry at Wash Tech in the Rotunda  on February 17th and right across from his area was DECA Club Sponsor and Business Education teacher at WRHS, Brian McFall!  Brian oversees the student-run coffee shop, Common Grounds, and the WRHS Bank!  Those programs are great models of “on the job” training. 

Out and About

It was my pleasure to visit with Boy Scout Troop 110 on February 11th to talk about the Legislature and learn about what we do and how we are organized.  It was a great time spent with these young future voters who are very interested in how we make laws! 

As you may know, I have filed for the 20th Senate District seat, which includes 4 precincts in Wabaunsee County.  On Saturday, Feb. 15th I visited Harveyville to have coffee at the Senior Center and talk about legislative issues that are important to their town.  What a wonderful community who truly supports one another! 

Reminder of Dates

Wednesday, March 25th
Last day to consider non-exempt bills not in originating chamber.
April 3rd

Drop Dead Day/First Adjournment.  No bills considered after this date except bills vetoed by the governor or Omnibus Appropriations bills.
April 27th

Veto Session begins.

Wednesday, May 13th Day 90.

Contact Me

It is an honor to serve you in the Kansas Legislature.  I am always available to talk to you personally, or answer your emails and phone calls.  I am here to serve you and take that responsibility seriously.

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 165-W State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th St.
Topeka, KS     6612

Contact Brenda

Room 165-W
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66610
Phone: 785 296-7648
Email Brenda

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