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Dear Friend: 

I’ve never been so happy to get back to work! Since I last wrote, I had a secondary infection and ended up back in the hospital for a few days. Patience is not a virtue I possess, and the healing process since my appendectomy has been grueling and long. However, I’m back and took off running with a lot of bills as we closed out the end of March and face the April 6 “drop dead” deadline when bills that have not been in exempt committees (and are exempt from deadlines) are “dead” for the year.

On Monday, April 2, the House began debating HB 2445, our first opportunity this year to work an actual school funding bill. The next day, the bill passed the House, 71-53, where I voted yes. Due to the amount of information revolving around school finance, I will be sending out a separate newsletter to focus solely on the issue. 


AROUND THE DISTRICT
Please join Sen. Dinah Sykes, Rep. Tom Cox, and me for our monthly town hall meeting at the Lenexa Public Market.
Sunday, April 8 - 2:00 p.m.
Lenexa Public Market, 2nd Floor Conference Room
8750 Penrose Ln., Lenexa

About Linda

8-term Republican Precinct Committeewoman
5th Generation Kansan
30+ year Lenexa resident
913-631-3512
Email Linda
Visit LindaGallagher.org

I will also be speaking at an event, A Community Conversation About Children's Mental Health and Foster Care, at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10th. The event will take place at Prairie Village Colonial Church located at 7039 Mission Rd. in Prairie Village. Rep. Jarrod Ousley and I will discuss our work on the Child Welfare System Task Force. This event is sponsored by the Strengthen Families Rebuild Hope Coalition. 

Thanks to news outlets across the state for including my comments in their articles: 
On Thursday, March 29, the House recognized the valiance of those who served and fought in the Vietnam War. Our colleagues, and veterans of the war, spoke to commemorate the sacrifice they made during the Vietnam War. We are so thankful for their service to our country. 
On Wednesday, April 4, I was honored to be present for the ceremonial signing of HB 2343, which ensures patients seeking an organ transplant will not be discriminated against solely because of a disability.
FLOOR ACTION
This week’s legislative calendar– live stream

Last week, I sponsored House Resolution 6055, urging the small business community in Kansas to assist in developing and utilizing a model to help working Kansans save for retirement. AARP provided me with a number of statistics that led me to sponsor this resolution. To view my testimony to this resolution, click here. 

Gun Bills
There has been a slight misunderstanding in the general public conversation about gun bills throughout this session. Some of that is perpetuated by those who seek to confuse, so many of us take a lot of time and care to explain these votes. 
 
HB 2773 is the SAFE Act. (NOT to be confused with the SAFER Act, HB 2789 – Kansas Staff as First Emergency Responders - which garnered national attention because it sought to prohibit insurers from not insuring districts who choose to arm teachers. HB 2789 had a hearing in the House Insurance Committee but has not advanced and likely won’t this session.) THIS bill would create safety and security guidelines for schools and set aside $5 million for school grants to improve security. The SAFE Act would also require the KS State Board of Education to establish guidelines for districts who seek to provide gun safety courses, that they could use the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program or other evidence-based programs. The bill has nothing to do with arming teachers.
 
Moreover, in 2013 the legislature passed a bill that became law to allow individual districts to decide whether teachers could carry in their school buildings, though I’m not aware of any district that has voted to do so. 
  • The Fiscal Note is a good overview of the underlying bill, as none of the amendments detailed below were voted onto the bill. 
Due to the bill’s topic, it was a magnet for great-sounding amendments that are being widely misinterpreted. 
  1. Rep. Stephanie Clayton amendment: It failed 49-75, and I voted yes: Nowhere else in statute do we specifically name businesses or organizations. The bill currently includes specific reference to the NRA as the “Eddie Eagle” reference, and this amendment would have eliminated that reference. 
  2. Rep. Henry Helgerson amendment: Would have instituted a firearm and ammunition tax, which would have funded a doubling of the grants available under the bill. It failed 35-88, and I voted no. This was a tax increase, plain and simple, and one that would have increased the cost to law-abiding citizens. 
  3. Rep. Brett Parker’s amendment was broken into two parts: 
    1. Part 1 would appropriate $100,000 to conduct a survey of Kansas teachers to learn what they suggest to make schools safer. It failed 50-72, and I voted yes. This seems like a common sense approach, and teachers aren’t involved enough in the policy-making process – because they’re in the classroom teaching our students! I don’t think such a survey would end up costing this much. 
    2. Part 2 goes to the 2013 law giving districts the authority to allow teachers to carry. The amendment would prohibit districts to allow concealed carry. This is a serious separation of powers issue because local school boards are tasked with that decision. It failed 44-79, and I voted yes. The response from my district to the SAFER Act has been overwhelmingly supportive of keeping guns out of our classrooms, and the teachers in my district – both those who live here and teach here – do not want this. If the SAFER Act to arm teachers were to get out of committee, this amendment would have protected our teachers.
  • In the end, no amendments were added to HB 2773, and the bill passed 119-5. I voted yes.
The House combined provisions from HB 2359 and HB 2332 into H Sub SB 56, which would create the Kansas Cybersecurity Act and would amend the membership and required meeting frequency of the Information Technology Executive Council (ITEC). It establishes the role of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), whose duties would include managing the Kansas Information Security Office. This legislation also details how the executive branch agency heads would work with the CISO. This is a major overhaul for our efforts to protect important citizen data. Testimony for House hearings is available here

Health Care
SB 282 passed the House 121-3 and would add several drugs to the list of Schedule I drugs, which are illegal to possess, including several synthetic opioid fentanyl compounds and an opioid analgesic drug. The bill also would update several cannabinoid classes in Schedule I to include new synthetics and substitutes. In addition, the bill also would add oral solutions of dronabinol and a drug that was the immediate precursor to fentanyl to Schedule II. Finally, the bill would update the list of anabolic steroids in Schedule III. The Senate approved this bill unanimously. Testimony is available here.

Under current law, individuals may be licensed as professional counselors or clinical professional counselors through the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board after meeting certain requirements that include obtaining a graduate degree in counseling from a college or university approved by the board. SB 386 would change the requirement so licensees may obtain a graduate degree in counseling or a related field. It passed the House and Senate unanimously without amendments, and the governor signed it this week.
 
Transportation & Public Safety
In the same way passing a school bus is dangerous (and illegal), Sub SB 272 would require drivers to move into a non-adjacent lane and reduce their speed when approaching a waste collection vehicle engaged in picking up trash and displaying hazard warning signals. Bill supporters pointed out that waste and recycling collection ranks as the fifth highest in the nation in fatality rates from distracted or inattentive drivers. The Senate passed the bill unanimously and the House passed it 94-30. I voted yes. Read the hearing testimony here. The House and Senate versions of the bill are under negotiation by a conference committee. 
 
The House and Senate passed SB 428, which would change licensure and inspection requirements for child care facilities and would create definitions for “drop in program” and “school-age program.” The bill would clarify that if a recreation center or school complies with fire and local building codes, a license could not be denied, suspended or revoked based on the building not meeting licensing requirements because of environmental deficiencies. This would only apply if there are no imminent risks to children, the deficiency is outside the licensee’s immediate authority to correct, and the applicant or licensee has notified the recreation center or school of the deficiency. The House did not amend the bill after passing the Senate, and it was signed into law this week.
 
Ag
A number of bills dealing with industrial hemp have moved through the legislature in recent years. SB 263 would allow the Department of Agriculture, either alone or in coordination with a state higher education institution, to grow and cultivate industrial hemp, as well as promote the research and development of industrial hemp. The bill would allow individuals to participate in the research program under the oversight of the Department. View hearing testimony here. It passed the Senate 36-3, and the House, 123-1. I voted yes. It will likely be considered by a conference committee to iron out differences between the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill. 


COMMITTEE WORK 
Children & Seniors
Doctors, nurses and counselors, among others, are “mandatory reporters” of suspected abuse. Due to their frequent interaction in emergency health situations, SB 311 would add certified emergency medical services attendants to the list of individuals required to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of residents in adult care homes and other related facilities. The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously with no changes, and the governor has signed it into law.
 
We held hearings on the following bills but took no action: 
HB 2751—The committee discussed a bill that would create the Office of the Child Advocate for Children’s Protection and Services within the Department of Administration. The office would ensure that children are receiving adequate protection and care through services offered by the Department for Children and Families and the Department of Corrections. The new office would be managed by the Child Advocate, who would be appointed jointly by the Governor and the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court and then confirmed by the Senate. The Child Advocate would hold the office for six years. This matter may be referred to the Office of Judicial Administration for review.
 
Kansas is ranked #50 in terms of our rules and regulations limiting the use of medication to control patients in nursing facilities. HB 2704 would require written informed consent before administering an antipsychotic medication to an adult care home resident. This is a best practice used across the country. This is a bill I introduced and worked on with the Alzheimer’s Association. It had a hearing on March 20, but the committee took no action on it because there was considerable opposition by several stakeholders, who said the bill would have significant unintended consequences. With this bill, at least this issue has been raised and discussion has begun among stakeholders on how to effectively reduce usage rates of antipsychotic drugs on nursing facility residents. I intend to continue working on this important issue.
 
Government, Technology and Security
The committee worked hard on the combined CISO and IT advisory committee bill discussed under Floor Action.
 
Social Services Budget
The committee has completed its work for the year. 
Please do not hesitate to contact me about legislative issues. I would love to help your HOA, Sunday School, civic group, or even your Bunco group understand how state government impacts them, so don't hesitate to ask! I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,

Linda Gallagher
State Representative, District 23
Serving Lenexa, Shawnee, and Overland Park
Copyright © 2018 Paid for by Gallagher for Kansas, Joyce Thompson, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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