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Dear Friend: 

Early in the evening on Friday, April 5th the legislature adjourned for about three and a half weeks before returning May 1 for a wrap- up/veto session. 

Most of this past week was focused on conference committee meetings. If a bill that passed the House is amended in the Senate, then it goes back to the House for a vote to concur or to accept the amendments. If the originating chamber votes to not concur, the bill goes to a conference committee. These committees include three members from both chambers who are appointed to iron out any differences between House and Senate versions of bills. Their compromises, known as Conference Committee Reports, are then sent to both chambers for a vote. 

Education Bill
The House voted 76-47 (I voted for the bill) and the Senate voted 31-8 to pass a plan that puts about $90 million into schools in 2020 and 2021 each, with the money intended to cover the cost of inflation to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling from last year.

The plan, introduced by the governor at the start of the legislative session, also promises to put about $90 million into schools for fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
Contact Rep. Karleskint
At the Capitol:

785-296-7683
300 SW 10th, Room 512-N
Topeka, KS 66612

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The Legislature wrapped up its work on this legislation 11 days before legal briefs are due with the state Supreme Court. The Governor signed the bill on Saturday, April 6th. The bill passed by the Legislature includes some educational policies. They include:
  • A requirement for the Department of Education to create one-page performance accountability reports for the state, each school district, and each school building.
  • A requirement for the Education Department to prepare annual longitudinal reports on student achievement on the state assessment for English language arts, math and science.
  • A revision to a program that offers tax credits to entice businesses to donate money for scholarships that send the least affluent students to private schools. It now would make the scholarships available to the 100 lowest performing elementaryschools, not just the lowest performing schools in general.
  • A requirement for the Board of Education to provide the ACT college entrance exam and the three ACT WorkKeys assessments to each student enrolled in grades 11 and 12 at no charge. It would provide one pre-ACT exam for each student in the ninth grade as well.
  • A three-year extension of the dyslexia task force.
  • A requirement for school districts to publish budget documents and a funding report on the homepage of their website under a prominently displayed link titled “Accountability Reports.”
Eudora Community Library District (SB 59)
The House and Senate gave strong approval for Senate Bill 59 and on Tuesday, April 2, Governor Kelly signed the bill. This legislation establishes the Eudora Community Library District. 
This bill allows the City of Eudora to continue being a part of a library district previously established by the City of Eudora and the Eudora Township. In turn this library district will be able to issue general obligation bonds for maintenance, furnishing and equipping, constructing/reconstructing any library building or addition. 

There was tremendous community involvement, support and enthusiasm for this legislative action. 

Industrial Hemp Bill (HB 2167)
Last year the Legislature passed a bill that established the Industrial Hemp Research Program to allow farmers to start growing hemp.  Many farmers applied earlier this spring for a license to grow hemp and those licenses are being considered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture.  
 
The US Congress passed the Farm Bill in late December, which essentially made industrial hemp legal by removing it from the list of controlled substances.  The Farm Bill set up a process for the states to submit a plan to the USDA for the commercial growing of hemp.  Kentucky has already submitted their plan. 
 
This year the Legislature passed Senate Substitute for HB 2167, which directs the Kansas Department of Ag to submit a state plan to the USDA.  The bill also made improvements to ensure the process to get growing licenses is more streamlined.  We heard comments from many farmers that the current process is too burdensome.  
 
One of the improvements is creating a new license application window until June 1. The previous deadline was March 1, which many farmers missed.  
 
The expectation is the Dept. of Ag will submit a USDA plan soon and by the 2020 growing season, Kansas will have new, less burdensome regulations to grow and process hemp. As a member of the Agriculture Committee I’m very please we were able to get this legislation passed. I feel it has tremendous potential for the State of Kansas and farmers. 
 
There is very little time left in this session, I encourage you to contact me with any concerns or questions you may have about legislation or committee hearings. Feel free to contact me at 785.296.7683 or by email at jim.karleskint@house.ks.gov. You are also welcome to stop by my Statehouse office located in Room 268-W. 

Thank you, 

Rep. Jim Karleskint
Serving rural Leavenworth & Douglas Counties
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