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Contact Susan

In Topeka:
State Capitol, Room 149-S

At home in Beloit:
921 N. Mill Street
Beloit, KS 67420

About the 107th

Committee Appointments

Dear Friend:

The Kansas Legislature has officially wrapped up the Regular Session and for most of us that means heading home to catch up with “real” jobs, reacquaint ourselves with family, and hold constituent meetings. We return to Topeka on May 1 for the veto session. In my case, I’m hosting a baby shower for my younger daughter as we prepare to welcome their first child and my fourth grandbaby!
Please join me at the Lincoln County Farm Bureau Legislative Coffee:
April 20
10:00 a.m.
Mainstreet Coffee & Things

Also, I'll be on Smoky Hill Public Television Friday evening, April 26 at 7:00 p.m. If you miss it, I'll post the link for the conversation in a future newsletter.

I’m also planning a Farm Tour in Cloud County – stay tuned for dates and locations!

Thanks to students from Lincoln Middle School for spending time with me at the Capitol! 
Finally, I had the opportunity to help ITC present a $2500 check to Dr. Douglass, President of Cloud County Community College at their 39th annual auction. The fundraiser brought in approximately $80,000 for student scholarships:
Under the Dome
Medicaid Expansion
Passed by the House, Medicaid expansion is literally being held hostage by the Senate, languishing in the Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee. How much money will we have left on the table to provide health coverage for other states while Kansas hospitals close? Senator Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka) made a motion to pull the bill out of committee and to the floor for Senate debate. This motion will be debated upon our return May 1, and will require 24 votes to bring the bill out of committee. However, to force debate on the bill would require 27 votes. Please contact your Senators (800-432-3924) to encourage their support for this effort. My comments were included in recent media coverage: Floor ActionFloor Calendar Floor Livestream
After bills are debated and passed by each chamber, they are sent to conference committees. We spent the last week or so debating conference committee reports. 
  • Jargon Alert: Conference Committee
    • A bill doesn’t typically pass one chamber in the exact form it passed the other – if it does, it goes straight to the governor’s desk. 
    • After passing the second chamber, the originating chamber can agree (concur) or disagree (nonconcur) with changes made in the opposite chamber and require a conference committee be convened. 
      • If the originating chamber concurs with changes made by the opposite chamber, a motion to concur is voted on, and if passed, the bill goes straight to the governor. 
      • In the case of a nonconcur, the chair, vice-chair, and ranking minority members of the House and Senate committees, which passed the bill, form a conference committee. 
      • Those six legislators hammer out differences between the versions passed by each chamber and submit a conference committee report (CCR) with the negotiated compromise language. 
    • Conference Committee Report (CCR): The committee report is debated by both chambers but cannot be changed(amended) and must be passed “as-is” by both the House and Senate before heading to the governor for approval. If one chamber does not pass the report, the bill stays in the committee for continued deliberation.
Here are a few highlights from the CCRs we passed last week:

School Finance FINALLY!
After hours of debate and amendments, the House finally passed an education bill (SB 16) to comply with the Kansas Supreme Court’s request to finalize the Gannon litigation by including funding to account for inflation. It wasn’t pretty, and included some policy provisions with which I disagreed, but we needed to get something to the Senate for negotiations in time for the Attorney General’s office to prepare briefs for the Supreme Court by April 15. That bill passed 63-61, I voted YES. 
Once this bill was in conference, the Senate held firm to its simpler bill and eventually compromised by including some of the less controversial House policy measures, for example: 
  • Paying for the ACT and WorkKeys assessments for all Kansas students, 
  • Extending the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia through 2022, and
  • Including the Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) and Boys and Girls Clubs as complementary programs for school funding.
The compromise legislation appropriates $104.5 million beginning July 1, 2019, and another $114 million beginning July 1, 2020. Moving forward, the bill ties school funding to the average consumer price index of the three previous years. 
  • CCR House Substitute for SB 16 passed the House 76-47, I voted YES. It passed the Senate 31-8, and Governor Kelly signed it into law this past weekend. It’s now the Attorney General’s job to prepare a defense of the bill to the court by April 15. Oral arguments will be held on May 9. We expect a decision from the court during the summer.
Transportation Highlights
A few recommendations from the Transportation Vision Task Force completed the bill process and are headed for the governor’s desk: 
  • Senate Substitute HB 2214 institutes fees for hybrid and electric vehicles beginning January 1 of next year. Hybrid vehicles would pay a $50 registration fee and all-electric vehicles would pay a $100 fee. The purpose is to help offset road use by those who do not pay or pay less in gas taxes that fund the roads. It passed the House 80-41, and the Senate 36-2. I voted YES.  
  • Senate Substitute HB 2007 will allow the Department of Transportation to issue bonds to help finance new toll roads, paid for by private funds and local units of government. The specified goal of such toll or turnpike additions would be to add capacity to existing highway projects. For example, there has been much discussion of adding express lanes to Highway 69 in Johnson County and K-10 Highway between Johnson and Douglas Counties. It passed the House 90-33, and the Senate 39-1, I voted YES. 
Health Care
HB 2084: The House agreed to changes made in the Senate to the Next Generation 911 (NG911) bill, which will help improve 911 coverage throughout the state. To pay for these necessary upgrades, the bill increases the current 911 fee on your phone line from $0.60 to $0.90 per month. For prepaid phones, the current fee is 1.2% of the transaction cost, and would be increased to 2.06%. Fees are distributed based on the number of users in each county, with each county receiving a minimum of $60,000 for upgrades. It passed the House 87-35, I voted YES. 
SB 15 includes three key provisions to improve access to health care across Kansas: 
  1. Licensure reciprocity: We continue to have trouble recruiting enough social workers to cover the demand in our hospitals, schools, and mental health facilities. This bill would recognize licenses from other states, so long as the person meets baseline requirements. Reciprocity would also be available for addiction counselors, marriage and family therapists, and Master’s and Doctor’s level psychologists
  2. About a year ago, an owner of 15 Kansas nursing facilities began defaulting on bills and the facilities had to be taken over by the state, which hired a management company. Nursing home failures like this are on the rise in Kansas and this bill seeks to provide a stronger foundation for when they begin. It requires a “financial background check” to ensure the entity has the capital to launch the business, a list of other similar facilities with which they have been involved, and improves guidelines around the receivership process. 
  3. Naturopathic doctors will now be allowed to order radiologic testing like mammograms, x-rays, MRIs, etc.
It passed the House 122-1, and the Senate 38-0. I voted YES.
HB 2209 allows associations to form health care plans for their members which are exempt from some requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The compromise also included the somewhat controversial Farm Bureau benefit plan, which will allow Kansas Farm Bureau the ability to offer health coverage to its members. It passed the House 84-39, and the Senate 28-12, I voted YES.
HB 2103: My committee has been working on this bill all session and I’m thrilled with the end result, that the House agreed to the Senate’s changes to the bill, and therefore it’s headed to the governor’s desk. I’ve discussed it in previous newsletters, but as a reminder, the Family First Prevention Act sets up the regulatory framework to allow Kansas to draw foster care funding from the federal government for prevention programs. Besides prevention services, the bill will allow the state to institute a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) for children and require the Department for Children and Families (DCF) to notify the courts when a child has been placed in a QRTP. The courts would be required to review assessments to determine if the child’s needs are being met and to determine the appropriate level of care. QRTPs qualify for additional federal funding under the Family First Prevention Services Act. I will be attending the governor’s signing ceremony for this bill on Monday, April 22.
Sub SB 130 combines a number of election-related bills to improve the vote-counting process. The bill will:
  1. Allow voters to vote at any polling location in the county, without having their ballot listed as provisional. This is sure to be a technology challenge for many counties, so this opportunity is subject to the county election official’s discretion. 
  2. Require election offices to contact voters whose advance ballot signature is missing or does not match that on file, and allow the voter to correct it before the final votes are tallied.
  3. According to the Sunflower State Journal, 460 ballots were not counted in Sedgwick County, and 153 went uncounted in Johnson County due to mail ballot signature discrepancies. 
It passed the Senate 38-1, and the House 119-3, I voted YES.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve and represent you in Topeka.


Rep. Susan Concannon
Copyright © 2019 Paid for by Concannon for Kansas, Tamarah Pruitt, Treasurer, All rights reserved.

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