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Rep. Jim Kelly
District 11

Capitol Office

300 SW 10th, Room: 512-N
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-6014
Email: jim.kelly@swbell.net

Home Information

309 S. 5th
Independence, KS 67301
Phone: 620-332-3083

Representing Montgomery County
The 7th District
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Profile
During the break I participated in forums in Cherryvale, Coffeyville and Independence (pictured above).  I also participated in a meeting with hospital administrators from around the area on the topic of Medicaid Expansion to learn more how this would impact their operation.  This was a very informative session.

Dear Neighbor:

Spring Break is ending… for the legislature at least! It has been a whirlwind few weeks since my last note to you, so I’ll get right to it.
 
Two great groups of pages visited me this year.  One made up of representatives from the Boys and Girls Club in Coffeyville and one made up of representatives from the Upper Cut Boxing Club in Independence.  This made for two enjoyable days at the Capitol for me!

Under the Dome

We wrapped up the regular session in early April and return this week for the Veto Session. This break was a good opportunity to meet with constituents and attend events around the district. The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group announced their analysis of the Kansas budget on last week and, as feared , revenues continue to slide. We will likely need an additional $400 plus million in additional cuts and/or new revenue to produce a balanced budget for the next fiscal year which begins July 1. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget is the only must-pass bill during each session, and it must balance. This will be the primary focus when we return to Topeka for Veto Session.
Major Issues
SB 95 is this session’s major abortion bill, titled the Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. Kansas is the first state to pass this legislation, drafted by the National Right to Life Committee. It passed the House on a 98-26 vote and the Senate 31-9, I voted yes. The details of the bill are quite grisly, so if you are interested in learning more, click here.  The governor signed the bill into law on April 7.
 
SB 45 allows Kansans over 21 to carry a concealed weapon without training or a license, just as can be done now with open carry. It passed the House on a 85-39 vote, and the Senate on a 31-8 vote. I voted yes, but also believe it is in every gun owner’s best interest to be trained how to use, carry, and store a lethal weapon. The governor signed the bill into law on April 2.
SB 228 allows the Kansas Development Finance Authority (KDFA) to issue $1 billion in bonds, plus the cost of issuing those bonds. The proceeds from the bonds must be applied to the unfunded liability in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS). The interest rate of the bonds, all-inclusive cost, must not to exceed 5%. These bonds are not considered a debt or obligation of the State for purposes of the Kansas Constitution.
 
This process allows the state to reduce its planned contributions into KPERS from 12.37% to 10.91% in FY 2016 and from 13.57% to 10.81% in FY 2017, freeing up money to help cover the current budget deficit. I supported this debt restructuring as it has a high probability of  saving the State of Kansas hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of the bond issue and the calculated risk is in an acceptable range. The bill was signed by the governor on April 16.
 
Motions to Concur or Non-Concur
The final days of the regular session were spent sending bills to conference committees for negotiation and waiting on conference committee reports.
  • Jargon Alert: A bill is referred to a conference committee when one chamber does not like the changes the opposite chamber made to a bill. The chairman, vice-chairman, and ranking minority member from the House and Senate committees which passed the bill comprise the conference committee. These six people meet to hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The report of the conference committee is referred to both chambers for an up-or-down vote without the opportunity for amendments.

In The News

The big hubbub in our last week of the regular session involved the ride-sharing service Uber. Uber employs ordinary people to provide transportation services similar to taxis, but more efficient and affordable. Many state legislatures are dealing with this entrepreneurial effort due to liability and safety issues. H Sub SB 117 requires Uber (and Lyft) drivers to add a commercial rider to their personal insurance policy in order to protect passengers and lenders in case of an accident, since a driver’s personal insurance will not cover them while they are participating in a commercial activity, and the Uber driver will also be required to pass a background check. When background checks are required by statute, they must be conducted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at a cost of $42 each.
 
Uber sent an alert to its Kansas subscribers to oppose these requirements and so many emails were sent to legislators that it crashed the state system and it took a day or two to get back to normal. I received more than 3000 emails on this subject, let alone the emails I receive on other issues in a given day.
 
I really do not understand Uber’s concerns, unless they are not truly concerned enough about their customers and far too concerned about profit, but when Kansans are operating a business where lives are in a driver’s hands, our citizens should have a minimum expectation of personal safety and protection if something should happen. The bill passed the House 107-16, I voted YES. It passed the Senate 35-2. The Governor vetoed this bill, but I expect there will be an effort to either reach a compromise or override the Governor’s veto when we return. I support overriding the veto.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in Topeka. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or comments. 

Sincerely, 

Rep. Jim Kelly
State Representative, District 11


Copyright © 2015 Paid for by Jim Kelly for Kansas House, Dan Carroll, Treasurer, All rights reserved.


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