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Contact Susan

Majority Caucus Chair
 
In Topeka:
State Capitol, Room 149-S
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

Dear Neighbor:

We just wrapped up a VERY busy February! The House was quite prolific in bill production in most committees, except Education which seems to be in a stall mode waiting for the report commissioned by the Senate. Lots of work is going on behind the scenes in that arena, preparing for how it will all play out. Finding the “sweet spot” that fulfills the needed adequacy, funding and leaves some funds for the rest of the state to function.
 
A few terms that might come up as you read this or watch the action on social media:
  • Turnaround: February 22nd was the “Turnaround” deadline, meaning bills must be heard and passed from their original chamber and turned over to the other chamber. Bills not achieving passage are considered dead for the remainder of the session. The content of the bills is always available to be amended into another bill, but the bill number itself cannot be used.
    • The legislature adjourned after passing dozens of bills. We had a few days off to give legislative staff time to complete the paperwork and website updates for bills that passed.
  • Blessed: As with any rule, there are exceptions. The House Federal & State Affairs, Appropriations, Taxation, and Calendar & Printing, as well as the Senate Federal & State Affairs, Ways & Means, and Assessment & Taxation Committees are called “exempt” committees. If at any time, a bill is referred to one of these committees, the bill is exempt from deadlines.
    • House or Senate leadership can refer a bill to one of these committees and rerefer the bill back to its original committee to “bless” it, to keep it “alive” and protected from deadlines. 
Early Learning Resources from the State Library
BookFlix is an online resource for children in grades PreK-3 that pairs video storybooks with related nonfiction e-books. Imagine Curious George paired with a nonfiction book about monkeys. The read-along storybook highlights each word as it is read. This option can be turned off. Related word games and puzzles reinforces early learning reading skills. BookFlix requires Flash.
 
If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas.  Most people will be automatically recognized as inside Kansas and will not need this step. Adobe Flash is needed to view the animation and hear the narration.  Questions: 
kslc@library.ks.gov or 785-296-3296. 
 

Around the District
Senator Bowers and I will meet with the Clyde Lions Club for dinner on April 9th, followed by a legislative forum with the community.
 
We are also scheduling an opportunity to speak to high school students in Ottawa County, sponsored by Ottawa County Farm Bureau. We have not settled on the date.
 
Cloud County Farm Bureau hosted Senator Bowers and I on March 3
rd in Concordia. We had a nice turn out with cinnamon rolls and lively discussion.
My son, Curtis, took time away from vet school to pay his momma a visit at the Capitol! He spent a week in February working at the Helping Hands Humane Society.
Last week, I was very excited to meet with 8 students from my alma mater, Bethany College. Alanna Lustfield and Lindzi Garcia stopped by my office where we had a more extended discussion on life in the legislature. 
Here is a photo from Student Day at the Capitol for Independent Colleges.
In the News
I thought you might be interested in this helpful graphic from the League of Kansas Municipalities that gives you a good idea of the breakdown of the legislature by party, gender, and population.
To view the graphic click here
 
On the Floor
This week’s legislative calendarlive stream
This week’s calendar gets us back in the swing of things with Session scheduled every day. We will begin hearing bills sent over from the Senate, as well as continuing to consider House bills that are exempt from legislative deadlines.
 
If you’ve watched the drama unfolding in the race to be Kansas’ next governor, you know there are no rules regarding age (or species, for that matter) to file.
HB 2539 passed the House, 94-28 (I voted yes), and would require every candidate for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer and State Insurance Commissioner to be a qualified elector of Kansas, which means candidates must be at least 18 years old to run. The bill also would require a candidate for Attorney General to be licensed to practice law in Kansas. View hearing testimony here.
 
Mayors do not have voting rights in some forms of local government. HB 2505 would require the mayor to be considered part of the city governing body in all matters in cities with a commission or commission-manager form of government. In cities with a mayor-council, modified mayor-council or mayor-council-manager form of government, the mayor would be considered part of the city governing body for voting on charter ordinances. In addition, the mayor would be considered part of the governing body for voting on any other matter upon passage of an ordinance by a two-thirds majority of the council. The bill passed the committee and the House unanimously. You can read testimony here.
 
HB 2506 would change how the definition of abandoned property and blight for purposes of cities and nonprofit housing corporations taking possession of properties. Cities could file a petition with the district court seeking an order of temporary possession of abandoned property. The bill passed 90-32, I voted yes.
 

Are you a hunter? HB 2558 extends game bird hunting season on controlled shooting areas by one month, from Sept. 1 to April 30. View hearing testimony here. The bill unanimously passed the House.
 
Golf Cart Getaway:
HB 2486 would allow golf carts to be driven on certain streets at night provided they are equipped with lights required by law for motorcycles. Current law restricts golf cart driving on certain streets and highways to only daylight hours. Testimony is available here. The legislation passed, 84-29, I voted yes.
 
HB 2465 would designate Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Office employees as “safety sensitive employees,” making them subject to drug testing if drug use is suspected. Hearing testimony is available here. The House voted to approve this legislation, 101-17, I voted yes.
 
Current law requires driver’s carrying hazardous materials licenses (HAZMAT) renew those licenses every five years.
HB 2511 would move commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) renewable every five years instead of every four years so they could be taken together. Hearing testimony is available here. The House passed this bill unanimously.
 
Corrections officers are currently in short supply and are difficult to recruit due to the low rate of pay.
HB 2448 would move corrections officers from the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) and into the Kansas Police and Firemen’s (KP&F) retirement system, which is a more attractive pension system and should help with recruiting efforts. The bill passed the House 113-9, I voted yes. Hearing testimony is available here.
 
Current law specifies the salary to be paid to a county election commissioner and one assistant, and how those salaries should be paid. HB 2509 would leave the amount paid to an election commissioner up to the county. The bill passed the House 77-40, I voted yes.
 

Committee Work
AppropriationsLivestream link
The committee worked on budget reports from more than 20 departments and agencies. It was an endless line of dollar signs, valid need, and tough decisions as we consider updates to the two-year budget passed last year. While revenues are exceeding the estimates on which we based last year’s budget, no one has forgotten the elephant in the room of the need for additional education spending. Much work is being done on that front in the K-12 Budget committees and among individual legislators who specialize in education finance. I will let you know when a tangible plan is proposed.
 
TaxationLivestream link
We held hearings on a number of bills, but none were taken up for consideration and a vote. However, since our committee is exempt from deadlines, we can consider those bills at any point before the end of the session. We will also be receiving a number of bills sent over from the Senate. One noteworthy bill involves collecting and publishing metrics for the state’s various economic development tools:
  • HB 2572 would require publication of economic development incentive data on the state’s transparency portal known as KanView. The data would include information on payments from the Job Creation Fund, income tax credits claimed for various business development activities, specifically sales tax and revenue bonds issued under the STAR Bond Financing Act, benefits received under the Promoting Employment Across Kansas (PEAK) program; and certain property tax exemptions. In addition, the bill would establish the Joint Committee on Taxpayer Transparency, which would consist of five state senators and five members of the House. The committee would be required to meet at least twice per fiscal year. The committee would be required to advise and consult with the Secretary of Administration on the content, format and reports to be produced on the KanView website.
Health & Human Services
HB 2600 is more interesting those of you who are doctors or dentists with X-Ray facilities. It would establish a new category of fees for the Kansas radioactive materials licensees who have multiple sites for use. Currently, one license fee is assessed for a licensee regardless of the number of sites in use. The bill would change that policy to add an additional 50 percent of the license fee charged for each additional site. The bill passed the committee and then the full House 106-16, I voted yes.
 
In my last newsletter, I explained the telemedicine bill. The committee discussed and passed a second bill on telemedicine, (the first was HB 2512):
  • HB 2674 would provide insurance coverage parity for standard in-person medical care and care provided by real-time, two-way interactive radio, visual, or audio-visual communications. We were able to fight off amendments intended to sink the bill, and the final compromise is a strong bill that will help thousands of Kansans. It passed the full House on February 22 (117-0). It will now move to the Senate.
  • Thanks to the Topeka Capital-Journal for following this effort and including my comments in a recent article.
Under current law, individuals charged with a felony may be committed to a state security hospital or a county or private institution to be examined for competency. Individuals charged with misdemeanors may be committed to state, county or private institutions to be examined for competency. HB 2549 would clarify that defendants, regardless of the type of charge, could be committed to a state security hospital or any appropriate state, county or private institution to be examined for competency. The bill passed the House 117-0.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve and represent you in Topeka.

Sincerely,

Rep. Susan Concannon
R-Beloit
Copyright © 2018 Paid for by Concannon for Kansas, Tamarah Pruitt, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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