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Contact Susan

 
In Topeka:
State Capitol, Room 149-S
785-296-7644
susan@concannonforkansas.com

At home in Beloit:
921 N. Mill Street
Beloit, KS 67420
785-738-8087
susan@concannonforkansas.com


About the 107th

Committee Appointments

Dear Friend:

Greetings! I don’t think I’ve ever felt like 17 degrees felt warm, but it happened this week! The Capitol participated in conserving energy with thermostats and lights turned down, except in committee rooms where we were working. This is a photo I took a few years ago of the Capitol in the snow:

 

It has been a very busy two weeks in committees as we work to hear and vote on bills to get them to the House floor. Rather than daily House debate, we meet in the chamber for a few hours across a day or two and churn through a lot of bills in one sitting.  

Our work to protect children and seniors has garnered some good press in recent weeks, I’m quoted in the following:

FROM THE HOUSE FLOOR - This week’s Calendar

The Corrections and Judiciary Committees have been very productive, so you will see a theme in the early bills which passed the House. I voted YES on all of these:  

Victim Protection 

  • HB 2071 would increase the criminal penalties for stalking a minor.
  • HB 2029 would “count” any crime with a domestic violence designation as a prior conviction under domestic battery offenses, which would allow for harsher sentences.  
  • You have likely heard the term “triggering” when an event or situation triggers violent memories of a crime. A crime victim may not have asked for mental health assistance immediately following a crime. HB 2082 would waive the time restriction to request counseling, to allow the crime victims’ compensation board to provide help. 
  • HB 2001 would create the crime of sexual extortion and require offender registration. 
  • HB 2062 allows the state to participate in the State Child Death Review Board national database, and for information to be shared with appropriate law enforcement and county or district attorneys for investigation and prosecution.  
  • Current law gives one spouse the privilege of not testifying against the other. HB 2120 would remove that rule in the case of sexual battery.  
Criminal Justice Reform 
  • HB 2077 extends the Kansas criminal justice reform commission’s work beyond December 2020 and adds topics to its scope, including diversion and supervision programs, and the task of monitoring implementation of its recommendations. 
  • HB 2030 would allow for early release for inmates likely to die within 120 days.
Children and Seniors 
  • HB 2114 establishes the senior care task force. This will allow legislators, along with professionals and stakeholders, to look deeper at issues impacting our senior citizens. The task force will give its final report to the legislature in January of 2023. 
  • HB 2115 establishes the joint committee on child welfare system oversight. 

I have worked very hard on both of these bills for two years and happy to see them pass the House with widespread support. 

Economic Recovery 

SB 15 which would create the KS Economic Recovery Loan Deposit Program as an incentive for Kansas financial institutions to offer agricultural and commercial loans by deducting the interest income received on such loans when that interest is also included as taxable income of a corporation.  

Just for Fun 

HB 2165 allows all vehicles over 35 years of age to qualify as antique. While House Transportation Committee Chairman Rich Proehl's cool '59 Ford with a retractable hard top has had antique plates for decades, now vehicles built in the '80s qualify... 

COMMITTEE WORK

Children & Seniors
Listen Live

I have been very pleased with the robust schedule of presentations and bill hearings as our committee has kept its nose to the grindstone!  

Secretary of Health & Environment, Dr. Lee Norman provided an update of the state’s vaccine rollout. If you are 65+ and have not received your first vaccine dose, please schedule as soon as you can! 

My friend and former House colleague, Melissa Rooker, is now the Executive Director of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet & Trust Fund, whose primary role is to manage the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement funds, which the state has dedicated to improving the lives of all Kansas children. The Cabinet’s work is a benchmark for children’s services coordination efforts across the country. You might find their work interesting:  

Bill hearings: 

  • HB 2004 would create the right to appeal an involuntary discharge or transfer from and adult residential care facility. 
  • Currently, there is a 20-hour/week work requirement to receive subsidies to help pay for childcare. HB 2116 would exempt foster parents from this requirement and allow the State to use federal funds to help cover childcare costs. 
  • Certain offenses come with a restriction on where an offender can live related to childcare facilities, and there are no exceptions under the statutes for those crimes. HB 2149 would allow the Secretary for Children & Families limited flexibility to make an exception when in the best interest of the child and has no public safety ramifications. 
  • HB 2150 would change the term “fiduciary abuse” to “financial exploitation” and add more mandatory reporters to the list of those required to report abuse. 
  • HB 2151 would require the Attorney General to establish an elder and dependent adult abuse teams in each of the state’s 31 judicial districts. The teams would coordinate abuse investigations and make recommendations on policy and procedure changes.  

Social Services Budget 
Listen Live

We received budget presentations from agencies and departments:  

Departments of:  

  • Health & Environment – this one was particularly interesting due to their work over the last year in the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Children & Families 
  • Aging & Disability Services 
  • Healthcare Stabilization Fund 
  • State psychiatric hospitals 
  • Board of Pharmacy 
  • Board of Nursing 
  • Veterans’ Affairs 

We will accept the proposed budgets or make recommendations for change and then report to the Appropriations committee, where the entire budget will come together. 

We also held a hearing on HB 2250, which would expand newborn screening to meet more current guidelines. The bill would provide for broader universal newborn screening for a variety of newer conditions, and $2.5 million to cover the increased expense. 

Appropriations

Listen Live

We spent the last two weeks receiving budget reports from the following subcommittees: 
  • Agriculture & Natural Resources 
  • Transportation & Public Safety 
  • Social Services – with a special presentation on the continuation of state institutions for mental health, as well as the departments and agencies listed below in my committee notes. 
  • K-12 
Bill hearings:  

When the Beloit Juvenile Corrections Facility closed in 2009, the land was transferred to the City of Beloit, which is now home to the Law Enforcement Center, Library, Parks & Recreation office and shop, community garden, and USD 273 Early Learning Center and Transitional Learning Center. However, one small tract of land (east side of Walnut where the water tower is located) was omitted from the transfer and HB 2214 corrects that oversight and transfers the remaining plot to Beloit.  

HB 2195 which would provide liability protection for employers who are the victim of unemployment insurance fraud.  
Please wear a mask and stay safe!

Sincerely,

Rep. Susan Concannon
Serving North Central Kansas
Copyright © 2021 Paid for by Concannon for Kansas, Tamarah Pruitt, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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