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Contact Susan

In Topeka:
State Capitol, Room 149A South
785 296-7644
susan@concannonforkansas.com

At home in Beloit:
921 N. Mill Street
Beloit, KS 67420
785-738-8087
susan@concannonforkansas.com


About the 107th

Committee Appointments

My newest grandson on his first trip to the Capitol - happy boy!

Dear Friend:

It has been a busy few weeks here as we approach deadlines to introduce bills. I haven’t been good about posting photos or activities to social media as I’m running from meeting to meeting every hour of every day!
 

Around the District
Please join me on March 4 at 9 am for the Mitchell County Farm Bureau Legislative Coffee, Guaranty State Bank.

Save the Dates!
  • March 25: Lincoln County Legislative Coffee, details to be announced!
  • April 20, 9 am: Ottawa County High School government classes meet at Bennington High School for a legislative update, then a public forum at 10:30 am. 

It was a joy to honor Dr. Richard Bergen on the House floor this week. Dick is the artist behind “Ad Astra,” the Native American with bow and arrow pointed at the stars, which sits atop the Capitol dome (and the miniature over Richard’s right shoulder in this photo). He also created “The Terrible Swede” statue on the Bethany campus (over my left shoulder), and was here last week as the House received our official lapel pins, also bearing Ad Astra.
Thanks to those of you who came to visit from home, you refresh my spirit!
  • President Eric Burks from North Central Kansas Technical College
  • Students from Cloud County Community College
  • Leadership Mitchell County
Meet Carter! Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Carter Moelk is a senior at the University of Kansas pursuing a degree in News and Information with minors in Communications and Political Science. At the Capitol and after shadowing Representative Concannon to many meetings, she discovered a passion for healthcare policy. After graduation, Carter will move to Washington D.C. where she plans on continuing her involvement in politics with hopes of moving into national politics.

And many of you already know Loreen McMillan, my session assistant a few years running. We make a great team in Topeka!


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.
  • 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 fixes I keep hearing you ask for to structurally balance our tax code. No one likes to raise taxes, but in reality, this is a restoration of funds to pay for the basic functions of government – roads and schools, especially. I look forward to having this conversation, especially with so many new freshmen who worked so hard door-to-door, committing to help restore our state. What are your thoughts?
 

Finally, we got a bit of good news on the revenue front. January revenues came in $24 million above estimates. With a $350 million hole coming fast at the end of June, we could use a few more months like that.
On the Floor
The pace has definitely picked up as bills have been heard and voted out of committees and to the full House for consideration:
  • Government shouldn’t be the middle man! HB 2028 allows those taking the mental health technician's licensure exam to pay the examination company directly, instead of going through the Board of Nursing. This is a common sense change.
  • Currently, when counties expand their commissions to add a commissioner, that position is appointed by the governor. HB 2006 brings the voters back into the selection process by requiring a special election.
  • 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 2067 would require anyone applying for an insurance agent license in Kansas to be fingerprinted as part of a background check for criminal history. The KS Bureau of Investigation (KBI) will perform the checks and only state officials could use the information to validate an applicant’s fitness to receive a license. I voted YES, it passed 85-38.
Committee Work
Appropriations

Mostly, the committee has been hearing reports from the various subcommittees as we move closer to budget deadlines. However, there have been a few bills of note:
  • HB 2072 – This legislation would create the Eisenhower Preservation Fund, managed by the Eisenhower Foundation, to honor and champion the life and leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower. The bill would require all vehicle registration applicants to pay a 50-cent nonrefundable surcharge for every vehicle registered. The fee would raise about $1.35 million in FY 2018.
  • The committee discussed HB 2109, which would authorize the Kansas Board of Regents to sell three properties within Riley County owned by Kansas State University. In addition, the bill would convey property owned by Wichita State University to Westar Energy in exchange for land to bury electrical lines for WSU. 
Taxation
We've been through sin, sales tax exemptions, income, gas, we've laid out what all the options are, it's time to piece together a bill people can vote for. Like the Senate, there is significant interest in working tax bills before we run the budget. They don't want to vote for a budget before they see a tax plan. We worked hard to create and pass the tax bill discussed in "In the News."

Health & Human Services
It was thrilling not only to be able to introduce a viable Medicaid Expansion bill (HB 2064) for consideration this year, but to hold a week of hearings. There were only a handful of opponents to the bill, and one was a State Senator from Arkansas who testified as “neutral” on the bill. I asked him a few questions and finally he admitted there were so many testifying in favor that he wanted to present the other side. Doesn’t sound very “neutral” to me!
 
Another big win is that the chairman has agreed to do hearings on the mid-level dentistry bill, which would allow another profession in between dental hygienists and full DDMs in the state, with the express intent of meeting demand in rural Kansas.
 
I was also appointed to the Bob Bethell KanCare Oversight Committee, which meets quarterly to review reports and operations of the state’s privatized Medicaid system. I’ve been working very closely with these issues in a variety of capacities, so I was thrilled to be appointed to the board.
 
Beyond the Medicaid Expansion hearings, we also considered these bills:  
  • HB 2046 would create a new licensed profession of Anesthesiologist Assistant. The requirements for acquiring and maintaining licensure and issuance of the license would be handled by the Board of Healing Arts.
  • HB 2121 would require all people who administer vaccines to report each administered vaccine to the KS Immunization Registry maintained by KDHE. Currently only pharmacists are required to do so. This will help create a seamless vaccination record across the state.
  • Similar to the nursing student loan expansion we heard last week, HB 2124 would include general psychiatry and child psychiatry to the list of residency training programs eligible for the Medical Student Loan Program.
I will keep you posted and look forward to any questions or comments you might have on this or other legislative issues.

Sincerely,

Rep. Susan Concannon
R-Beloit
Copyright © 2017 Paid for by Concannon for Kansas, Tamarah Pruitt, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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