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Dear Friend: 

So that didn’t quite go as expected … I must admit to you that I missed a lot of votes the week before last, and I am deeply sorry. My job is to be in Topeka to vote for Lenexa, Shawnee, and Overland Park, and to be your voice. My appendix decided to speak up instead.
 
After a few days of pain, I made what I thought would be a quick trip to the Urgent Care over the lunch hour on Feb. 20, and ended up in surgery that night. Thank you to the talented medical team at Stormont-Vail Hospital in Topeka for their skill (and their patience as I fretted about missing votes at the Capitol). I hated to miss all but a half day of the three days the House spent debating and voting on more than 50 bills ahead of the Turnaround Deadline (more on that below). The legislature was on a break from Feb. 23-27, and I used that time and the rest of last week to rest and recuperate.

My newsletter was also a casualty of me feeling under the weather, so I’m moving some of that info to this newsletter. 

About Linda

8-term Republican Precinct Committeewoman
5th Generation Kansan
30+ year Lenexa resident
913-631-3512
Email Linda
Visit LindaGallagher.org

Action on bills I’ve introduced:
  • My bill (HB 2232) to allow residents or families of those in elder care facilities to install electronic monitoring devices passed the Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee and the full Senate, 38-0. Since it already passed the House last year, I hope to encourage the House to agree with changes made in the Senate so it can go straight to the governor’s desk.
  • I’ve introduced a bill (HB 2593) to provide a sales tax exemption for building materials to renovate and expand 12 group homes operated by Johnson County Developmental Supports. It is scheduled for a hearing this Thursday afternoon, March 8, in the House Taxation Committee. Sen. Dinah Sykes introduced a similar bill on the Senate side, which already had a hearing. Although it's a tough sell to add to the long list of sales tax exemptions already in place given our tight budget, this is a worthwhile cause. 
  • I worked with the Alzheimer’s Association on HB 2744, which would establish a task force to study dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in Kansas and produce recommendations for action. Kansas is one of only two states without a state Alzheimer’s Care Plan. The bill was not heard in committee. It is expected that Gov. Jeff Colyer will issue an Executive Order to set up such a task force. 
  • I cosponsored legislation (HB 2704) to require prescribers to obtain written informed consent of the patient or guardian before administering antipsychotic medications to adult care home residents. Kansas is 50th in the United States for use of strong drugs to control behavior in difficult patients. Informed consent is a best practice used broadly across the country. The bill was blessed and will hopefully move forward in the coming weeks.
  • I cosponsored HB 2666 to repeal destructive restrictions on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) aid. A study released by KU shows there’s a direct correlation between reduced access to TANF benefits and increases in child abuse and neglect. The bill was not heard in committee.
There are quite a few “Jargon Alerts” in this newsletter, so I hope these explanations will help:
  • Turnaround: Feb. 22 was the “Turnaround” deadline, meaning bills must be heard and passed from their original chamber and turned over to the other chamber. Bills not achieving passage are considered dead for the remainder of the session. The content of the bills is always available to be amended into another bill, but the bill number itself cannot be used.
    • The legislature adjourned Feb. 22, after passing dozens of bills. We had a few days off to give legislative staff time to complete the paperwork and website updates for bills that passed.
  • Blessed: As with any rule, there are exceptions. The House Federal & State Affairs, Appropriations, Taxation, and Calendar & Printing, as well as the Senate Federal & State Affairs, Ways & Means, and Assessment & Taxation Committees are called “exempt” committees. If at any time, a bill is referred to one of these committees, the bill is exempt from deadlines.
    • House or Senate leadership can refer a bill to one of these committees and rerefer the bill back to its original committee to “bless” it, to keep it “alive” and protected from deadlines.
Around the District
I was honored to be on the panel for the Johnson County Public Policy Council’s legislative breakfast on Feb. 17.
 

In the News
I thought you would enjoy this helpful graphic from the League of Kansas Municipalities that gives you a good idea of the breakdown of the legislature by party, gender, and population.
To view the graphic click here 


I was honored to receive this Compassion Award from the Alzheimer's Association last week on Alzheimer's Advocacy Day in the Capitol. I have been working with the association on two pieces of legislation.

Floor Action
This week’s legislative calendarlive stream
This week, the House continues to hear bills sent over from the Senate, as well as House bills that are exempt from legislative deadlines.
 
If you’ve watched the drama unfolding in the race to be Kansas’ next governor, you know there are no rules regarding age (or species, for that matter) to file. HB 2539 passed the House, 94-28 , and would require every candidate for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer and State Insurance Commissioner to be a qualified elector of Kansas, which means candidates must be at least 18 years old to run. The bill also would require a candidate for Attorney General to be licensed to practice law in Kansas. View hearing testimony here.
 
Mayors do not have voting rights in some forms of local government. HB 2505 would require the mayor to be considered part of the city governing body in all matters in cities with a commission or commission-manager form of government. In cities with a mayor-council, modified mayor-council or mayor-council-manager form of government, the mayor would be considered part of the city governing body for voting on charter ordinances. In addition, the mayor would be considered part of the governing body for voting on any other matter upon passage of an ordinance by a two-thirds majority of the council. The bill passed the committee and the House unanimously. You can read testimony here.
 
HB 2506 would change the definition of abandoned property and blight for purposes of cities and nonprofit housing corporations taking possession of properties. Cities could file a petition with the district court seeking an order of temporary possession of abandoned property. The bill passed 90-32, and I voted yes.
 
HB 2465 would designate Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Office employees as “safety sensitive employees,” making them subject to drug testing if drug use is suspected. Hearing testimony is available here. The House voted to approve this legislation, 101-17..
 
Golf Cart Getaway: We heard HB 2486 in Transportation Committee. It would allow golf carts to be driven on certain streets at night provided they are equipped with lights required by law for motorcycles. Current law restricts golf cart driving on certain streets and highways to only daylight hours. Testimony is available here. The legislation passed, 84-29, and I voted yes.
 
Current law requires drivers carrying hazardous materials licenses (HAZMAT) to renew those licenses every five years. HB 2511 would make commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) renewable every five years instead of every four years so they could be renewed at the same time. Hearing testimony is available here. I carried this bill on the House floor, and it passed unanimously.
 
Corrections officers are currently in short supply and are difficult to recruit due to the low rate of pay. HB 2448 would move corrections officers from the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) and into the Kansas Police and Firemen’s (KP&F) retirement system, which is a more attractive pension system and should help with recruiting efforts. The bill passed the House 113-9. Hearing testimony is available here.
 
Current law specifies the salary to be paid to a county election commissioner and one assistant, and how those salaries should be paid. HB 2509 would leave the amount paid to an election commissioner up to the county. The bill passed the House 77-40.
 
Committee Work
Children & Seniors
We held hearings but did not have time to work these bills. I’m grateful they were “blessed” by being withdrawn from this committee, sent to Appropriations (a committee exempt from legislative deadlines) and then referred back to our committee.
  • Kansas is ranked #50 in terms of overuse of medication to control patients in nursing facilities. HB 2704 would require prescribers to obtain written informed consent before administering an antipsychotic medication to an adult care home resident. This is a best practice used across the country.
  • If you have a child with special needs, the transition out of high school can be difficult – or non-existent, due to the gap in services. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) doesn’t necessarily translate to community colleges or other skilled labor programs. HB 2745 would create a task force to discuss a “transition bill of rights” to educate parents and students regarding their rights and resources related to transition services for students receiving special education.
The following bills passed the committee and were debated by the full House:
  • HB 2530 would add certified emergency medical services attendants to the list of “required reporters” for suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of residents in adult care homes, medical facilities or state psychiatric hospitals. The bill would make failure to report suspected abuse a class B misdemeanor. The bill passed the House 117-0.
  • HB 2639 would allow the Department of Health and Environment to collect a fee for fingerprinting individuals maintaining, residing, working or regularly volunteering at child care facilities. The bill passed the House 111-6.
We also heard presentations from: Social Services Budget
The committee took public testimony regarding budget issues and made supplementary budget recommendations for:
Government, Technology and Security
The committee passed HB 2700 to change law to require the redaction of an individual’s social security number on any document or record before it is made available for public inspection or copying. The provisions of this bill would not apply to documents recorded in the official records of any county recorder of deeds or in the official records of the courts. The bill passed the House 117-0.
 
The committee heard a briefing on government technology opportunities, as well as a cybersecurity briefing from the Kansas Corporation Commission.
 
Transportation
The committee has been busy holding hearings, and the following bills passed the committee and the full House as noted below:
  • You likely remember the tragic story of Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Collins, who had 21 years of service when he died on Sept. 11, 2016. He was killed when a suspected drunken driver hit the rear of his patrol car during a traffic stop. HB 2436 would designate a portion of U.S. Highway 69 as the Brandon Collins Memorial Highway. When highway signs are posted honoring someone, current law requires the family or supporters of the sign to raise the funds necessary to have the sign created, posted, and maintained. It passed unanimously.
  • The House Transportation Committee combined HB 2678 into HB 2599   to create distinctive license plates for the Special Olympics and a “Choose Life” plate. During debate in the House SB 273 was amended onto it to create a distinctive City of Wichita plate. Creating the new plates is estimated to cost almost $3,500. Current law states that a sponsoring organization is responsible for paying up to $20,000 in initial production costs. The Department needs a list of 500 initial customers for each plate before production can begin. It passed unanimously.
HB 2606—This bill would change existing requirements to exempt individuals who renew their driver’s licenses online from taking a vision exam. However, individuals renewing online would be required to certify that their vision meets the requirements for driving under Kansas law and that they have undergone a vision examination by a licensed eye doctor within the last year. The bill was blessed for further consideration.
Please do not hesitate to contact me about legislative issues. I would love to help your HOA, Sunday School, civic group, or even your Bunco group understand how state government impacts them, so don't hesitate to ask! I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,

Linda Gallagher
State Representative, District 23
Serving Lenexa, Shawnee, and Overland Park
Copyright © 2018 Paid for by Gallagher for Kansas, Joyce Thompson, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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