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Dear Friend: 

It has been an eventful few weeks in the legislature. We have gone from having a tax plan (HB 2178) on the Governor’s desk, to his veto of the plan, to a House override of his veto, and finally to a failure of the Senate to override the veto. Now we are back to square one. The process we just went through is summarized below.

It was a pleasure to welcome Caroline Fromm, a constituent and student at Pembroke Hill, who shadowed me for a day in Topeka.
 

Tax Bill Saga
The first tax bill the Senate debated was SB 188, a bill presented by Senate Democrats. The bill would have closed the LLC exemption and would have expanded our current two-bracket tax system into a three-bracket system at rates of 2.7, 4.6, and 6.45 percent. While the Senate spent a significant amount of time discussing this bill, it ultimately failed to make it to final action on a roll call vote of 10-30. Many members of the Senate chose to vote against this bill with the understanding that they would have the opportunity to vote the following day on a tax bill that had already gained passage in the House.

Last Friday, the Senate debated Sub HB 2178, the tax bill that had passed the House. There was substantial debate on this bill. Some colleagues thought that this bill didn’t go far enough to close the current $350 million budget deficit and some thought that it taxed too much and cut too little. Sub HB 2178 would rollback several components of the Governor’s 2012 tax law – including closing the LLC exemption and reinstating a three-bracket income tax structure rather than the Governor’s current two-bracket tax system. Under this plan, the rates for the three brackets would be set at 2.7, 5.25, and 5.45 percent. These percentages would leave the bottom rate the same but bumps up the rates for the middle and top brackets to a middle ground that is higher than the current rates, but lower than the pre-2012 rates. This bill also would have reinstated the medical expense deduction so that seniors and those with major medical expenses can return to deducting their medical expenses from their income taxes; and this bill would reinstate the ability for business owners to deduct their losses. Changes under the Governor’s 2012 tax plan eliminated the option for businesses to write-off losses. The Senate passed this bill with bipartisan support on a close vote of 22-18.

About the 7th

Map
Profile

Communities of the 7th: 
Fairway
Leawood
Mission
Mission Hills
Mission Woods
Overland Park
Prairie Village
Roeland Park
Westwood
Westwood Hills

Contact Barbara

6910 Overhill Road
Mission Hills, KS 66208
barbarabollier@gmail.com
Cell: 913-485-2121

In Topeka (Jan-May): 
300 SW 10th, Room 237-East
Topeka, KS 66612
Office: 785-296-7390
By Monday, the Governor had made clear that he would not sign the bill, but there was a possibility that he would wait 10 days and let it become law without his signature. Tuesday night at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce annual dinner the Governor announced his intention to veto the bill. On Wednesday morning, the House called for a vote to override his veto and they were successful on a vote of 85-40. The Senate chose to call for an override vote that afternoon, and failed with a 24-16 vote (27 would make a constitutional majority). I voted FOR the override, just as I voted FOR the bill.

Senate President Susan Wagle and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning were both NO votes on the override. With a week-long break in front of us, we will return to work on March 6th needing to find 21 votes in the Senate, 63 in the House, and 1 from the Governor for a viable plan. Ultimately, we must find a solution, and I remain committed to District 7 constituents with my intent to find a structural fix that balances the budget while also adequately funding our public schools and essential services.


On the Floor
We were able to work a number of bills through the Senate this past week. Here are some of the bills that were passed that may be of interest to you:
SB 63, as amended, would authorize access to digital assets by a custodian or executor upon the time of a user’s death. In today’s electronic world, many Kansans utilize electronic services such as online bank accounts and bill paying. This bill would make it less cumbersome for custodians to manage those types of electronic assets. It is very important when drawing up power of attorney papers that digital assets be included. I voted YES.

SB 42 would amend the law concerning mandatory minimum sentences for persons who receive life sentences. Additionally, in certain cases, the defendant would not be eligible for parole prior to serving such minimum sentence and would prohibit the sentence from being reduced by the application of good time credits. I voted YES.

SB 112 would amend the penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia, reducing it from a Class A to a Class B nonperson misdemeanor when the paraphernalia was used to cultivate fewer than five marijuana plants or used to store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body. I voted YES.

SB 124 would, for legal custody determination for children, require a court to consider, among other relevant factors, evidence of “spousal abuse,” either emotional or physical. It also requires consideration of domestic abuse, including, but not limited to, a pattern or history of physically or emotionally abusive behavior used by one person to gain or maintain domination and control over an intimate partner or household member or an act of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. The bill would also amend the law to require courts to determine parenting time in accordance with the best interests of the child. I voted YES on this bill.

SB 101 would amend the law concerning protective orders to extend the provisions of the Protection from Abuse Act and Protection from Stalking Act to apply to victims of sexual assault. Specifically, the bill would amend the definition of “abuse” to include “engaging in any sexual contact or attempted sexual contact with another person without consent or when such person is incapable of giving consent. I added my name as a co-sponsor of this bill and voted YES. The bill was brought to us by MOCSA this past summer at one of their informational meetings for legislators that I attended.

SB 181, as amended, would authorize a person whose driving privileges have been suspended for failure to comply with a traffic citation to enter into an amnesty agreement with a county district attorney. This would not include suspension for driving with a suspended or revoked license, driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving an uninsured vehicle, or refusal to test for DUI. I voted YES on this bill.

SB 154 would amend the Kansas Act on Credentialing to clarify home health agencies as distinct from home care providers. Two years ago, the home care providers approached me with this problem, and it has now been solved, a great example of how the process can work. I voted YES.

Sub SB 74 would authorize issuance of placards to persons who need assistance with cognition, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorder, for use in a vehicle. While this bill has very good intentions, it does not specify what criteria are to be used for a definition of needing assistance for cognition. The bill also could add liability to the state for allowing people with a known cognition disorder to operate a vehicle. I voted NO; the bill did pass.

SB 144, as amended, would prohibit the use of a hand-held wireless communication device in a school zone or a road construction zone. The prohibition would not apply if the vehicle is stopped or by law-enforcement or emergency service personnel acting with the scope of employment. I voted YES.


What’s Ahead?
Session work will resume March 6th and continue until first adjournment on April 7th. The bills that passed the House will move to the Senate, and vice-versa. Some bills that have not moved through either chamber will be “blessed” and allowed to continue through the process, but any bill that has not been passed by a chamber and is not blessed is now “dead.” The House has passed both a Medicaid Expansion bill and restoration of due process rights for teachers, both bills that were hotly debated. The Senate Health Committee had SB 69 (KanCare reform) blessed and will continue to work that bill. Of course, work will continue from our Ways and Means committee to present both a rescission bill for 2017 and a budget bill for 2018 and 2019. Things will only get busier!
It is a privilege to serve you at the Capitol. It has been a great value to have so many people contacting me regarding my position on various bills. I am here to represent you, and knowing your positions helps me in that process. In that regard, I hope that it helps you to know my positions as I respond to your e-mails. My office phone number is 785-296-7390 and my state e-mail is Barbara.Bollier@senate.ks.gov.

Rep. Barbara Bollier
State Senator, District 7
Serving Northeast Johnson County
Copyright © 2017 Paid for by Bollier for Kansas Senate, Linda Manco, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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