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Dear Friend: 

I'm starting this week with a lot of constituent visits to the Capitol. There is so much going on that it is refreshing to see friendly faces from home. 

The VFW in Tonganoxie sponsors the Patriot’s Pen essay contest for local schools. This year’s theme was “The America I Believe In.” I chair the committee and was pleased to honor some amazing writers: Hattie Baldock, Ashtin Barnes, John Crow (PIC)
 
Similarly, the VFW conducts a speaking competition. This year’s theme was “My Responsibility to America.” These students were incredibly talented as well: Grayson Gilbert, Samantha Koch, Brittany Ancil.

Our area’s Representative in Washington, DC announced this week that she will not be seeking another term, nor running for anything else. I’m grateful for Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins’ time serving us in DC. Thank you, Lynn!
Contact Rep. Karleskint
At the Capitol:

785-296-7683
300 SW 10th, Room 512-N
Topeka, KS 66612

At home in Tonganoxie:
785-550-4298
24542 Cantrell Road
Tonganoxie, KS 66086
jimkarleskint@yahoo.com

About the 42nd
Map
Profile
Leavenworth County
Douglas County

Legislative Resources
Kansas Legislature
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Register to Vote
Vote By Mail
I was pleased to welcome Kelsey Theis and Justin Johnson to page for me at the Capitol. 
It was also great to see Mike Steben and his daughter, Hannah, who were visiting the Capitol for Right to Life day. I was pleased to tell them I cosigned Simon’s Law to support life:

Finally, thanks to the Leavenworth County League of Women Voters for hosting a legislative forum earlier this month, and to Carol & Robert Hall for attending:

In the News
On a 13-9 vote, the House Taxation Committee passed the first major tax bill of the session, about three months earlier than when tax bills usually “grow legs.” Substitute for HB 2178 would do the following, retroactive to January 1, 2017:
  • Reinstates income taxes on LLC and S-corp businesses (ends the tax loophole).
  • Reinstates the third tax bracket:
    • Bracket 1: Individuals earning <$15K, couples <$30K, taxed at 2.7%
    • Bracket 2: Individuals earning $15-50K, couples $60-100K, taxed at 5.25%
    • Bracket 3: Individuals earning >$50K, couples >$100K, taxed at 5.45%
  • Removes scheduled income tax decreases (“Glidepath to Zero”), keeps all three brackets at lower rates than they were in 2012.
  • Reinstate deductibility of medical expenses at 100%.
These are the exact provisions my constituents demanded on their doorsteps last summer and I look forward to having this conversation both with my colleagues and with my constituents. If you haven’t taken my 2017 legislative survey, here’s your chance to voice your thoughts on taxes and services in Kansas!
 
On the Floor
HB 2049 enacts the Law Enforcement Protection Act by increasing penalties for offenders who commit nondrug felony offenses against law enforcement officers 1) while the officer is on duty; or 2) because of the officer’s status as an officer. The bill includes mandatory minimum sentences that cannot be reduced for good behavior. I’m pleased to support the Thin Blue Line and vote for this bill. It passed 112-8.
 

HB 2093 allows juvenile missteps to “decay” from an offender’s record. Juvenile offenses would not “count” as criminal history in an adult sentence if:
  1. The current crime is committed at least 5 years after judgement;
  2. The offender has no new judgements or convictions during that 5-year period; and
  3. The juvenile judgement is for an offense that would be a nondrug severity level 5-10 felony, drug felony, nongrid felony or misdemeanor if committed by an adult.
This will help adults who commit lower level crimes avoid harsher sentences due to juvenile missteps, and aims to reduce the cycle of incarceration. I voted YES and the bill passed 101-21.
 

HB 2094 expands definition of “municipality” to include school, library, road, water, drainage, sewer, and fire districts. Allows those entities to contract with each other for services. Johnson County Government requested this bill and Rep. Tom Cox (R-Shawnee) introduced it on their behalf. I was happy to vote YES to help our local governments clear some red tape to working together. It passed 122-0.


Committee Work
Federal & State Affairs
Early February saw a slew of gun bills in the committee, mostly related to “campus carry” ban in effect until July 1st:
  • HB 2042: Allows the State to recognize a valid concealed carry license issued by another jurisdiction if the licensee is not a Kansas resident.
  • HB 2074: Currently, the governing bodies of state or municipal-owned medical care facilities, adult care homes, community mental health centers, post-secondary education institutions may exempt any building or public area from allowing concealed handguns without adequate security until 7/1/17. This bill removes that sunset date. This is the easiest (it simply strikes the date when the ban expires), but also the most comprehensive of the “campus carry ban” bills.
  • HB 2081: Protects public employers from liability for any wrongful or negligent act of an employee who carries a concealed weapon.
HB 2150: Exempts KU Med Center from the requirement that carrying concealed weapons cannot be prohibited unless adequate security measures are in place.          

K-12 Budget
HB 2242 is the first of many school finance bills, this one deals specifically with the cost of classroom education. A classroom cost audit would be conducted in each congressional district every 10 years to determine the average classroom cost of instruction. The act would be a pilot program for the 2017-2018 school year and limited to one volunteer school district in each congressional district. All school districts would participate beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.
 
The committee held a briefing to discuss an
audit of school district’s health insurance activities, based on the recommendations of the Alvarez & Marsal efficiency study. The following is a district-by-distrtict cost sheet, though the Eudora, Pleasant Ridge, and Tonganoxie school districts were not among those measured for this report
:
Agriculture
We heard from Ron Brown, chair of Local Food & Farm Task Force provided an update on the Task Force’s work to encourage local food production, and support a bill to create a Kansas Wine Council to combine the state’s multiple wine producer organizations.
  • Presentation on Beginning Farm Loan Program by Rebecca Floyd, Executive VP of KS Development Finance Authority
  • Presentation on Specialty Crop Grants by Tom Buller, KS Rural Center
  • Presentation on Farmer’s Market Workshops by Janelle Dobbins, Dept of Ag
  • Presentation on County Local Food Council by Missty Lechner, American Heart Association.
It is my honor and privilege to serve you in Topeka. Please do not hesitate to contact me about these or other legislative issues.

Sincerely,

Rep. Jim Karleskint
Serving rural Leavenworth & Douglas Counties
Copyright © 2017 Paid for by Karleskint for Kansas, Lois Meadows, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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