Copy
For more information, visit JoyKoesten.com!
View this email in your browser
Dear Friend:
 

They say in the legislature there are only three important numbers: 63, 21, and 1. That is unless you are working to override the Governor’s veto. Then, it’s 84 and 27. On Monday, the House failed to find the three votes necessary to override the Governor’s veto on the expansion of Medicaid. The measure failed, 81 to 44. I voted YES to override the Governor’s veto, as did forty (40) other Republican members of the House. I voted to override the Governor’s veto not only because most people in my district support the expansion of Medicaid, but also because over 160 organizations in Kansas, all my local Chambers of Commerce and my local hospitals supported the expansion of Medicaid. It was a sad day for Kansans.

Guns on Campus
By the time you read this newsletter, we will have killed a motion on the House floor that would have brought HB 2042 above the line for floor debate and a vote. Among other things, HB 2042 would require the State of Kansas recognize all valid concealed carry licenses and permits issued by other states to non-Kansas residents (basically a reciprocity bill). So, it was a prime vehicle for all kinds of amendments that were perceived to be germane to the issue of guns on campuses.

About the 28th District

Contact Joy

JoyKoesten.com

At the Capitol: 
Room 268
joy.koesten@house.ks.gov

At home in Leawood:
jkoesten@gmail.com
913-972-7883
3310 W. 137th St
Leawood, KS 66224

Voter Resources


Legislative Information

I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but I also acknowledge that the right secured by the Second Amendment isn’t unlimited. As the late Justice, Antonin Scalia, explained in his opinion in the District of Columbia vs Heller case (2008), the Second Amendment is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Consequently, like many of my constituents I believe responsible public policy includes restricting guns in sensitive places such as schools and hospitals. So, while this motion might have yielded some heated debate and a lot of “postcard amendments,” it would not have created anything resembling good public policy. Remember the important numbers, 63, 21, and 1. It is unlikely we would be able to craft legislation through this method that the Governor would sign into law and even more unlikely that we could garner a veto proof vote in both houses and senate.
 
We have been assured by leadership that there are serious discussions going on to find a sensible solution on this issue; one that both chambers and the Governor could agree to (remember 63, 21, and 1). But, these types of negotiations can’t be hashed out productively on the House floor in the way of an amendment (or a dozen). So, for now, know that I am working with leadership to make sure we can craft a sound policy that has a chance of being put into law. Stay tuned. 

School Finance
The House K-12 Budget Committee has introduced “The Chairmen’s Bill” (HB 2410), compiled by the chairmen of the House Education and K-12 Budget Committees, Reps. Clay Aurand (R-Belleville) and Larry Campbell (R-Olathe). The Kansas Department of Education created the following resources about the bill. Please keep in mind, this was the starting point, and not the final bill, but this is where negotiations began. These links will download documents: Representatives from the Blue Valley School District were on hand to testify to the committee last week and have recommended several improvements to the bill. The committee met until 8:30 p.m. last Thursday evening significantly amending HB 2410 to resemble the 1992-2014 formula, with several significant tweaks and improvements. At least we know that formula IS constitutional, IF adequately funded. The key components now include: 
  • Fully funded all-day kindergarten beginning in the fall of 2018
  • $2 million per year dedicated to at-risk 4-year-olds
  • Local Option Budget (local property tax commitment which stays with local school districts) remains at 33%.
  • Flexibility in enrollment counts: Per Pupil funding is based on the student headcount on September 20. The new bill allows flexibility to use that number or the previous year’s count, whichever is higher.
  • Maintained the military “2nd Count” on February 20, and allows for a funding increase based on the net gain or loss of student population.
  • Restored funding for English Language Learners programs, with funding based on student contact hours or the number of ELL certified teachers, leaving the choice up to the school district.
  • $4,170 base state aid + Transportation Funding
    • The Chairman committed to working the policy provisions of the bill first, and then moving to the underlying cost, the biggest of which is the base amount provided to districts for each student. The committee was tired and broke for the weekend for research staff to produce district-by-district “runs” (spreadsheets) for the policy provisions so far, without amending the underlying base state aid amount.
Unfortunately, Monday and Tuesday committee meetings were cancelled. No word has been given as to when they will meet to work the bill. I continue to stay in touch with leadership at Blue Valley School District to ensure I know what to fight for in the new school finance formula and will keep you updated with how the bill changes over the next week.
 
Committees
My committees have completed their work for the session and last Friday was the deadline for bills to be heard and voted out of their committees. April 7 is the deadline for non-exempt bills to pass out of their secondary chambers (Senate bills must have passed the Senate and the House and vice versa). So, we are working furiously to debate and pass bills before we adjourn this Friday. As a reminder, bills are exempt if they were introduced, heard, or referred to the:
House Committee:
  1. Appropriations
  2. Taxation
  3. Federal & State Affairs
  4. Calendar & Printing
Senate Committee:
  1. Ways & Means
  2. Assessment & Taxation
  3. Federal & State Affairs
All other bills are “dead” for the session and not available for consideration, unless they passed the House or the Senate. In that case, a bill can be added into a conference committee report. Conference Committees have begun meeting on several bills, and we will have our first Conference Committee Report (CCR) to consider next week when the rescission (edited current year budget) bill is debated.
 
On the Floor

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of having a few more people shadow me! Charles Laird (CEO, Menorah Medical Center) and Dr. Tracy Russo (KU) spent time with me on the House floor learning about the legislative process and listening to debates. In addition, Rabbi Jeffery Shron and Hedy Shron came to testify on a bill that was being worked in the Appropriations committee. It’s always great to have visitors, so let me know if you want to join me one day!
I was proud to welcome Ken Thomas and his students from Blue Valley Northwest High School! These students were State Champs in this year's "We the People" program that promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students. I was so proud to acknowledge their hard work and commitment to civic education!

In addition to the bills mentioned above, there have been dozens of bills debated and voted on the floor these two weeks. I’ve summarized a handful of broad interest or local impact below. For more information, the complete listing of bills debated is provided in the House Calendar.


Around the District
In addition to our monthly listening session, the Johnson County League of Women Voters held their Legislative Forum on March 25th and they had a terrific turnout! I served on a panel with Tom Cox (District 17), Cindy Holscher (District 16), Stephanie Clayton (District 19), and Nancy Lusk (District 22). It was a pleasure to speak to a full house of well-informed voters!

Finally, I want to send a special shout out to Principal Amy Farthing and all the staff, faculty and students at Prairie Star Elementary School, for being named 2017 Kindest School! They do amazing work and I am so proud to represent all of them here in the legislature!

We are likely to adjourn the regular session tomorrow, a day early without completing work on the budget, school finance, or taxes. We will reconvene on May 1st for veto session. We could be in for a long slog after we return. In the meantime, see you around the neighborhood!
Warm regards,

Representative Joy Koesten, PhD
Kansas House District 28
Serving Leawood and Overland Park


PS – if you like my newsletter, please share it with your friends!!
Copyright © 2017 Paid for by Joy for Kansas, Bob Regnier, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list