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Dear Friend: 

Time is passing at warp speed in Topeka. The legislature is already working on both a tax bill and a budget bill. This is at a much earlier pace than we’ve seen in recent years, which is promising. Getting an earlier start hopefully means more time for careful deliberation and greater input from stakeholders. As of this weekend, there have been 155 bills introduced in the Senate and 272 bills introduced in the House. Many of these bills will not be heard due to the time constraints of a 90-day session and due to prioritization. The state’s fiscal problems are the top priority, but there is still plenty to do in committees on other pieces of priority legislation such as those related to health care, economic development and public safety.

Gun Bills
The most disappointing news this week was the voting down of Senate Bill 53 by the Senate Federal and State Affairs committee. The bill – known as the Personal and Family Protection Act - would have allowed a permanent exemption to the concealed carry law. Our libraries, our college campuses, our city buildings and parks, and KU Hospital are a few of the entities that would have been exempted. The Chairman, Sen. Jake LaTurner from Pittsburg, was generous to allow a hearing on a bill that he personally opposes, but his abrupt change to work the bill a day earlier than was announced to committee members and the public was poorly received by many who expect greater transparency in government. House Bill 2074, the companion House bill to SB 53, was heard in committee this past Wednesday. Just as in the Senate hearing, there was an overwhelming majority of testimony in favor of the bill (85 proponents, 18 opponents). We will hope for a better outcome on the House side, but based on the make-up of the committee, that will be difficult. I have been a strong proponent of these bills as a means to keep our college campuses and hospitals safe, and I will continue to work with the proponents on other avenues to move this legislation forward.

Commerce Committee
Under the leadership of Sen. Julia Lynn, we have continued to hear important testimony this week about the fiscal affairs of the state related to commerce. We heard from Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave about Sales Tax Revenue (STAR) Bonds. These provide Kansas municipalities the opportunity to issue bonds to finance the development of major commercial, entertainment and tourism areas and to use the sales tax revenue generated by the development to pay off the bonds. Projects such as The Legends in KCK and Prairiefire in Overland Park have been STAR Bond projects. 

About the 7th

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Profile

Communities of the 7th: 
Fairway
Leawood
Mission
Mission Hills
Mission Woods
Overland Park
Prairie Village
Roeland Park
Westwood
Westwood Hills

Contact Barbara

6910 Overhill Road
Mission Hills, KS 66208
barbarabollier@gmail.com
Cell: 913-485-2121

In Topeka (Jan-May): 
300 SW 10th, Room 237-East
Topeka, KS 66612
Office: 785-296-7390
The Governor has also proposed adding The American Royal as a recipient. One of our speakers also included Chris Courtwright, the Chief Legislative Economist for Kansas, who gave us an in-depth overview of the tax structure in Kansas, which further illustrated the discouraging outcomes the state is experiencing from an unstable fiscal policy. For instance, Kansas personal income has been growing more slowly than U.S. personal income and is expected to continue on that path. This is significantly related to a decline in farm earnings. The Kansas Department of Labor also reports that job growth has been stagnant since early 2015, and the current unemployment forecast calls for the rate in Kansas to exceed the national unemployment rate beginning in 2018. Kansas has historically maintained a lower unemployment rate than the federal rate. Based on Mr. Courtwright’s report, Kansas will continue to have significant budget challenges unless changes are made to our tax structure. Senate Bill 147 has been introduced and is expected to be worked soon. It includes elimination of the LLC tax exemption and restores a percentage of individual income tax rates.

Health Committee
One of the more attention-getting bills we are in the process of hearing is a KanCare (Medicaid) reform bill. Included in that measure are requirements for consistent reporting of information from the three Managed Care Organizations that administer the program, one credentialing system for providers instead of three separate and different application processes, a requirement to pay for emergency room visits to non-Medicaid providers at the Medicaid rate, and a new non-provider reviewer for denied services. The Governor’s administration put a $48 million price tag on this bill based on the outside review process and the emergency room payments.

We passed a bill this week that would revise the KanCare Oversight committee, requiring the Chair, Vice Chair and Ranking Minority member of the health committee from each chamber to be on the oversight committee, in addition to five other members selected by various leadership. We have also passed clean-up bills to pharmacy laws, specifically to add drugs that are developed to sell on the streets to the illegal list.

I have introduced two committee bills, one that helps Home Care Providers be licensed separately from Home Health Providers, and one that legalizes emergency partner therapy for certain sexually-transmitted infections.


Education Committee
With no committee formed to develop a school funding formula on the Senate side, the Education Committee is moving forward on this issue by listening to testimony on various issues that likely will be addressed in the new formula. For instance, we heard from community colleges that are offering free tuition for certain courses in order to compete with Wichita State. We also heard reports on how school head counts are structured – with one count done on a particular day in September each year except for schools with military students where two head counts are conducted each year. In the coming week, we will be hearing and discussing weightings for free and reduced lunch and at-risk students, as well as mental health provisions for our K-12 students.

GO RED FOR WOMEN:
On Thursday, Senators wore red for National Wear Red Day in support of women’s heart health and heart disease prevention. Click
here for more information about National Wear Red Day and preventative measures you can take to encourage a healthy heart.
It was a pleasure to meet up with the Prairie Village delegation during their visit to the Capitol on Local Government Day!
Floor Action
  • INSURANCE CODE DATE CHANGE – SB 15
    The bill passed the Senate 39-0.would amend the effective date specified in the Insurance Code for risk-based capital instructions for life insurance companies and property and casualty insurance companies. 
  • FAIR PLAN ACT – SB 17
    This bill passed the Senate 39-0.would amend law and add a section relating to the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan, which would make basic property and casualty insurance available to individuals who hold property in Kansas through the voluntary market. 
  • REINSURANCE REGULATION UPDATE – SB 19
    This bill passed the Senate 38-0.would replace current language in statute with model language from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). 
  • THIRD PARTY ADMINISTRATOR (TPA) ACT – SB 22
    This bill passed the Senate 38-0.would create new law which would allow the Kansas Insurance Commissioner to license third party administrators who specifically underwrite, collect, or charge premiums from, or settle claims for Kansas residents, concerning life, annuity, or health insurance coverage. 
  • FILING DATE CHANGE – SB 28
    This bill passed the Senate 38-0.would change the due date for filing of certain annual withholding tax forms from January 31 to the last day of February. 
  • TAX TECHNICAL FIX – SB 30
    This bill passed the Senate 38-0.would replace statutory reference to the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools with a reference to its successor organization, the Higher Learning Commission. 
  • SEDGWICK COUNTY ELECTIONS BILL – SB 43
    .This bill passed the Senate 38-0would amend statutory provisions concerning elections, whereby county-level canvass dates would coincide with the dates of special elections to fill congressional vacancies. 
The Rest of my Day
In the limited “spare time” that I have out of committee, my time is filled with visits from various interest groups and constituents. Meetings recently included the City of Prairie Village, Kansas Academy of Family Physicians, Kansas Behavioral Science Board, KU Medical Center, students from Board of Regents schools, the Kansas Community College Leadership Council, and the Alliance Development Manager with Pfizer.

Every Wednesday we hold a Johnson County Delegation caucus meeting in order to discuss issues specific to Johnson County and to promote opportunities for our delegation to work together for the best interests of Johnson County. I have also been actively participating in Health Bites, a series of educational presentations on key health care issues hosted by the non-partisan Kansas Health Institute.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you. As always, don’t hesitate to email, call or stop by whenever I may be of service to you. My office phone number is 785-296-7390 and my state e-mail is Barbara.Bollier@senate.ks.gov.

Rep. Barbara Bollier
State Senator, District 7
Serving Northeast Johnson County
Copyright © 2017 Paid for by Bollier for Kansas Senate, Linda Manco, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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