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Legislative update by Rep. Pam Curtis

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by Rep. Pam Curtis, D-32nd Dist.

On Friday a preliminary review of the WestEd K-12 school finance study, commissioned by the Legislature, was presented to the Senate and House Education Committees.

The study made clear that we have significantly underfunded schools in Kansas for the last 7-8 years. Had the state kept up with the K-12 funding level that the Legislature set back in 2005 to comply with Montoy, the previous school finance lawsuit, we would be approximately at the same funding level that the new study suggests we should be at.

It is also important to remember that the estimates in the WestEd Study do not include the following K-12 expenses: transportation, food service, construction, debt service, fund transfer, and adult education. Additional funds will need to be budgeted for those items. A link to the full report is included below.

It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I value and appreciate your input on issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 452-S, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at 785-296-7430 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. You can also e-mail me at

Education report released

The out-of-state expert witness hired by Republican leadership in the Gannon school finance case submitted her completed report Friday, March 16. Lori Taylor, from Texas, has been conducting a study on school finance in Kansas. Her conclusions will be used by the Legislature to formulate a new school funding dollar amount that will satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court’s requirements.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October of last year that the amount of dollars appropriated to school funding in the legislature’s 2017 school finance bill was neither adequate or equitable. The court set a deadline of April 30, 2018, for a new bill from the legislature, to be ruled upon June 30, 2018.

The full report is at

Attempt at Medicaid expansion in the House

On Wednesday, the House Democratic leader offered an amendment on SB 335 to expand Medicaid. There were several pieces of language in the legislation that would render the amendment germane; however, the Rules Committee found the amendment to be nongermane. To be found nongermane means that the amendment cannot be attached to the underlying bill.

The ruling was challenged by the House Leader; a ruling challenge allows the entire body a vote to either uphold the ruling or overrule it. The ruling was sustained in a 77-45 vote. Kansans overwhelmingly support the expansion of Medicaid, which would cover 150,000 people who are currently without insurance in our state. Kansas has refused millions in federal dollars for expansion – tax dollars that Kansans pay into the system.

Last year, the House and Senate both passed a Medicaid expansion amendment, which was swiftly vetoed by then-Gov. Sam Brownback. The House came just a few votes shy of overriding that veto. Kansas House Democrats will continue to fight for expansion and for the people who need it most.

National Walkout Day

Wednesday, March 14, marked one month since the school shooting in Florida. Students across Kansas and the nation organized a National Walkout, during which students walked out of school for 17 minutes in solidarity with Florida and in protest. These students’ energy and commitment to the cause and to bringing commonsense gun legislation to the table is not only admirable, but also having an impact all over the country.

All across Kansas, hundreds upon hundreds of students participated in the walkout. Those in Topeka flocked to the Capitol, joining the Moms Demand Action rally on the South steps.

This past week on the House floor

This past week, the House worked and passed the following bills on the floor:
HB 2650: Designates the state rock as limestone, the state mineral as galena, the state gemstone as jelinite amber, and the state fish as the channel catfish.
HB 2541: Enacts the Statewide Broadband Deployment Authorization Act.
HB 2516: Creates a law providing immunity from civil liability for damage to a motor vehicle for a person who enters the vehicle, by force or otherwise, to remove a vulnerable person or domestic animal.
HB 2527: Creates the crime of knowingly selling, purchasing, installing, transferring, manufacturing, creating, designing, updating, repairing, using, or possessing automated sales suppression devices.
SB 335: Incorporates savings and loan associations and savings banks into the State Banking Code. The bill would repeal the existing Savings and Loan Code.
HB 2232: Allows a resident of an adult care home, or a resident’s guardian or legal representative, to conduct authorized electronic monitoring in the resident’s room subject to requirements.
HB 2749: Renews existing sales tax authority for Jackson County to impose, subject to voter approval, a countywide sales tax of 0.4 percent to finance public infrastructure projects.
HB 2489: Clarifies the Multistate Tax Compact under Kansas statutory provisions relative to the definition of business income for corporation income tax purposes.
SB 275: Amends provisions in law relating to the expulsion of credit union members and the terms of service for members of the Credit Union Council


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Rep. Pam Curtis represents the 32nd District in Kansas City, Kansas.


BPU to meet Wednesday, March 21

The Board of Public Utilities will meet Wednesday, March 21, at the board offices at 540 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.

On the agenda for the 5 p.m. work session: a board update, general manager update, customer research report and review deposit policy.

On the agenda for the regular session at 6 p.m.: a resolution changing the officer election date, a builders’ meeting recap, GIS-TCR data help solve distribution water quality issues, board comments and general manager comments.


Events, meetings scheduled Monday evening

Some events and meetings are scheduled for Monday evening in Wyandotte County, including:

UG committee meetings planned March 19
The Unified Government Public Works and Safety Committee will meet at 5 p.m. Monday, March 19, followed by the Administration and Human Services Committee, in the fifth floor meeting room at City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas. Some of the items on the Public Works and Safety Committee agenda include an amendment to the fireworks ordinance concerning storage and sales of fireworks; findings in the Holliday Drive collapse near South 65th; and a storm tree management presentation. On the agenda for the Administration and Human Services Committee meeting is an update on customer service initiatives at the Motor Vehicle registration program. An agenda is posted online at

‘Wasted! The Story of Food Waste’ documentary to be shown March 19
A screening of the documentary, “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 19 in the second floor auditorium, Main Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library, 625 Minnesota Ave. The screening is sponsored by Healthy Communities Wyandotte, After the Harvest and NourishKC. A panel discussion will follow the screening. To register for the program, visit

Free seminars planned March 19 on BPU solar farm
The Board of Public Utilities will present an informational program on its community solar farm March 19 in the auditorium of the West Wyandotte Library, 1737 N. 82nd St., Kansas City, Kansas. Two sessions will be offered, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The program will cover how the community solar farm works, the costs, utility bill credits and how residents can access solar energy while avoid installation and maintenance costs. To reserve a seat for the 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. session, contact David Allen at 913-573-9922 or For more information, visit

KCK schools to hold public ‘listening tour’ March 19
Members of the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education will meet the district’s parents, students and community in a public listening tour. The board will listen to what is important to parents, students and the community concerning the Kansas City, Kansas, Public School district. The listening tours will be a chance for the board to hear first-hand about important opportunities that could help inform future board priorities, a spokesman said. It also gives parents, students and the community a chance to meet new members of the board. Remaining listening tour dates include:
• Monday, March 19: 6 to 8 p.m. at Wyandotte High School, 2501 Minnesota Ave.
• Saturday, March 31: 1 to 3 p.m. at Washington High School, 7340 Leavenworth Road
• Tuesday, April 3: 10 a.m. to noon at the Central Office and Training Center, 2010 N. 59th St.
Those unable to attend in person, can engage with the board by sharing their comments or questions during a YouTube Live event on the school district’s page: