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Dear Friend: 

Welcome to the Karleskint Comments legislative newsletter! First, some housekeeping for how my legislative updates will look over the next few months. Recognizing the value of your time and the depth of your inbox, each email will include information directly relevant to your daily lives, highlighted in the following sections: 

Around the District: Even though the next few months will be full-time work in Topeka, real-life (and representing you) continues at home as well. I will include the various events I’ve attended as your Representative, constituents with whom I’ve met, and opportunities to meet more of you.

In the News: News of the day isn’t always happening in my committees or on the floor of the House. In this section, I’ll cover the big issues percolating in the state, or those I expect to become active.

On the Floor: Dozens of bills are discussed on General Orders and Final Action, but not all are interesting or of broad impact, so I’ll give an overview of those that are – and some that are even funny.
  • Jargon Alert: General Orders & Final Action. There are two votes on every bill:
    • General Orders: First, a bill passes out of a committee, and legislators meet as a “Committee of the Whole” to hold a hearing similar to a committee hearing, but only legislators testify in support or opposition. The “Committee of the Whole” votes on whether the bill should get a final vote by the House.
    • Final Action: The next day, the legislators convene as the “House of Representatives” and vote on the bills passed the previous day. If it passes with 63 votes on Final Action, the bill moves to a Senate committee and starts the process over.
Contact Rep. Karleskint
At the Capitol:

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

At home in Tonganoxie:
24542 Cantrell Road
Tonganoxie, KS 66086

About the 42nd
Leavenworth County
Douglas County

Legislative Resources
Kansas Legislature
Kansas Cash (find unclaimed property)
Register to Vote
Vote By Mail
Committee Work: I will detail the interesting bills being discussed in my committees. You will be surprised at the breadth of legislation – if you watch the news, you could safely assume we talk about the budget and education ALL the time. Not all bills see the light of day before the full legislature, but are important conversations, nonetheless. Not every Kansan can have a Representative on every committee, so when we are serving on a committee, we represent the state as a whole, not just our individual districts.

Each newsletter will have a link to the
schedule for committee hearings for the coming week. I encourage you to take a quick glance through to the various bills that might impact your life. I seek to be a resource to learn more about your state government, but not to annoy with too many emails!
Visiting the Capitol
  • Testifying: As mentioned above, I’ll include a link to the calendar for the next week so you can take a peek at the issues under consideration. You might want to testify in support or opposition to a bill in your area of professional or personal expertise. Most committees require advance notice to testify and multiple copies of the testimony. I can help you navigate that process, reply to this email or another throughout the session.
  • Shadowing: Interested in seeing how the Capitol operates? Come join me for a day! You can join me in committee hearings and I will secure a floor pass so you can join me on the House floor. Reply to this email to schedule your visit. 

Do you know a student 12 or older? They can serve as a
legislative page! Mom or Dad can shadow me for the day while the kids run errands and provide an important service for legislators. Bonus – they earn a $5 voucher to spend at the Capitol snack bar.

Around the District
The start of each legislative session seems like the first day back at school for the incumbents, and like the first day at a new school for me. The first week has a glow about it – full of hope and promise. The swearing-in ceremony was awe-inspiring, but also full of expectation as I took an oath to do what is best for each of you. My wife, daughters, stepdaughters and grandchildren were able to join me in Topeka for the festivities.
In the News
State of the State Address (SOTS)
According to our governor, the 2012 tax breaks are spurring job growth and economic development, and the state of the State of Kansas has never been better. In spite of the $350 million hole at the end of June, and the $800 million hole to start the next fiscal year.
Education highlights of the speech shared plans to:
  • Expand medical residency programs in rural Kansas,
  • Launch a dental school and doctor of osteopathy program (DO),
  • Use merit pay for teachers, and
  • Establish a grading system for public schools to measure their outcomes.
The general sentiment among many colleagues is that funding long-term programs – no matter how worthy and needed – with one-time, borrowed funds is the fiscal irresponsibility we ran against. If anything positive came out of the speech, it was a renewed sense of camaraderie between the House and Senate to push toward real revenue reform, together.
LLC income tax changes
One hot topic during the speech was the governor’s continued support for the 2012 business tax breaks which exempt more than 350,000 Kansans from income taxes. That change set about a disastrous decline in state revenues which has been felt in every corner of the state, as tens of millions have been cut from universities, Kansas children dying in foster care, understaffing at our corrections facilities, and the loss of certification for state hospitals, to name a few.
To begin the long march back to solvency, a number of bills have been introduced to reverse the 2012 breaks and restore fairness to our tax code. A hearing was held in the House Taxation Committee yesterday on
HB 2023, which only includes one component of the 2012 plan, the LLC non-wage income. Moreover, because the administration does not support the bill, they submitted economic forecasts stating the change would bring in less than half the estimates from non-partisan research organizations ($139 million vs. $300+ million).
Job Creation
Since its passage, Governor Brownback has consistently quoted thousands of jobs being created as a result of LLCs keeping more of their income. Meanwhile, on Friday, the Kansas Department of Labor released its
year-end report on job growth. In just one year, since December 2015, Kansas lost 9,400 jobs. We must stop the hemorrhaging and return common sense and stability to our economy.

On the Floor
Incumbents tell us this is the earliest they’ve seen “actual” votes and a rules debate in recent memory. I’m glad to hear we are getting to work ahead of the typical schedule, just as we hoped during the campaign.
HB 2017 was introduced in response to the selection of Wichita Congressman Mike Pompeo to be the next CIA Director. This requires him to vacate his seat in Congress and for a replacement to be elected by special election. This part of the statute was more than 50 years out of date, and required independent candidates to collect 17,000 petition signatures in just over 30 days in order to get a candidate on the ballot. We changed the number to 3,000 and extended the time required to call an election to allow candidates to campaign. Governor Brownback signed the bill into law this week.

Committee Work
Federal & State Affairs
This committee is live-streamed and can be observed every day at 9 am here. Following committee and staff introductions, the committee heard briefings from the legislature’s technical services department, and an overview of Home Rule for local cities and counties. This committee focuses on social issues and this committee is frequently the hotbed of controversy in the House. For example, just in the last week, we’ve had presentations by KS Alcohol & Beverage Control and the Lottery Commission, and next week includes an overview of abortion litigation and a concealed carry update.

K-12 Budget
You may get to see a lot of me on your computer screen. This committee is also live-streamed at 1:30 pm every day. This is an entirely new committee, so Chairman Larry Campbell lined up non-partisan speakers to give the committee a good history of school funding in Kansas over the past 50+ years. This will be an excellent foundation for committee members not versed in the intricacies of school finance. We began budget hearings from the various agencies whose budget we will develop, starting with the Kansas School for the Blind and School for the Deaf, and an overview of the Department of Education’s budget with Dale Dennis, Deputy Commissioner (but certainly the state’s foremost expert in education finance).

This committee is live-streamed at 3:30 pm every day. The committee hosted a fascinating conversations on a wide range of topics this week:
It is my honor and privilege to serve you in Topeka. Please do not hesitate to contact me about these or other legislative issues.


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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