by Rep. Pam Curtis, D-32nd Dist.
Week 7 was very busy. It was the last week for non-exempt committees to meet and pass out bills for consideration by the full House. The House did take action on the floor last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and passed out 18 bills, which are listed below.
In the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee, we debated and worked a comprehensive unemployment bill. I offered an amendment to keep the rate triggers in place to provide the same number of weeks of benefits available today. Unfortunately, my amendment failed. This is not the time to reduce benefits while we still have a health emergency with COVID-19 and it will take time for people to get back on their feet. We also have not addressed many of the barriers keeping people from going back to work such access to quality childcare, students attending school from home and safety concerns.
In the House Judiciary we are scheduled to meet early Monday morning to continue to work on the Kansas Emergency Management Act (KEMA) HB 2416. We are under a deadline to pass KEMA legislation as the state of emergency and special rules set in place for COVID-19 will expire March 31. This legislation will determine how state and local officials can respond to health emergencies in the future.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
On last Tuesday, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and GOP leaders introduced a constitutional amendment that would give the legislature the ability to block regulations from executive agencies. This would create a “legislative veto.” This is nothing more than another attempt to undermine Gov. Laura Kelly’s ability to govern. During a time where Kansans are suffering due to the ongoing pandemic one would think that AG Schmidt and GOP leaders would be more focused on helping Kansans and their families rather than putting their political agendas ahead of the people.
Tuesday on the floor
On last Tuesday, the House caucus addressed and voted on five bills. All five of these bills passed on general order by voice vote. This moves all of them to final action on Wednesday to be voted on by the House caucus.
Below are the five bills that passed on voice vote, and were placed on final action for the following day:
• HB 2262 – Eliminating the requirement to provide a permit to cremate in certain circumstances and authorizing electronic permits to cremate.
• HB 2237 – Extending the time period for eligibility in the loan repayment program and the income tax credit.
• SB 27 – Amending the Kansas storage tank act to extend the sunsets of certain funds and to increase certain liability and reimbursement amounts.
• HB 2254 – Increasing the monetary cap on irrevocable prearranged funeral agreements to $10,000.
• HB 2191 – Increasing criminal penalties for the crimes of riot and incitement to riot when the crime occurs in a correctional facility.
Wednesday on the floor
On Wednesday, the House caucus took final action on the five bills that were heard and passed on voice vote the previous day.
Below are the results from final action being taken on these bills:
• HB 2262 – Passed on final action 122-1
• HB 2237 – Passed on final action 107-16
• SB 27 – Passed on final action 123-0
• HB 2254 – Passed on final action 123-0
• HB 2191 – Passed on final action 123-0
After final actions, the House caucus addressed six more bills. All six of these bills passed on general order by voice vote. This moves all of them to final action on Thursday to be voted on by the House caucus.
Below are the six bills that passed on voice vote, and were placed on final action for the following day:
• HB 2078 – Suspending statutory speedy trial rights until May 1, 2024, in all criminal cases filed prior to the effective date of this act and eliminating such rights in any criminal case filed on or after the effective date of this act.
• HB 2052 – Authorizing legislative assistants and committee assistants to accept gifts of not to exceed $150 in value each legislative session from certain legislators.
• HB 2243 – Adjusting the frequency of the KPERS actuarial experience study.
• HB 2093 – Increasing criminal penalties for fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer when operating a stolen vehicle and making fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer evidence of intent to commit theft of a vehicle.
• HB 2192 – Authorizing court services officers and community corrections officers to provide a certification of identification to offenders for use to obtain a new driver’s license.
• HB 2136 – Updating certain statutes relating to the regulation of the business of insurance; granting the commissioner of insurance certain investigative powers.
Thursday on the floor
On Thursday, the House caucus took final action on the six bills that were heard and passed on voice vote the previous day. Below are the results from final action being taken on these bills:
• HB 2052 – Passed on final action 119-5.
• HB 2078 – Passed on final action 107-17.
• HB 2093 – Passed on final action 124-0.
• HB 2136 – Passed on final action 124-0.
• HB 2192 – Passed on final action 124-0.
• HB 2243 – Passed on final action 123-1.
After final actions, the House caucus addressed and voted on seven more bills. These bills were moved to emergency final action and each were passed out of the House.
Below are the seven bills that passed on emergency final action.
• HB 2244 – Establishing requirements for the effective disposal of industrial hemp and requiring industrial hemp processors to register with the state fire marshal. Passed on emergency final action 97-27.
• HB 2277 – Clarifying the definition of possession in the Kansas criminal code. Passed on emergency final action 116-8.
• HB 2175 – Creating the Dwayne Peaslee technical training center district. Passed on emergency final action 122-2.
• SB 39 – Changing Kansas department of agriculture division of animal health license, permit and registration renewal deadlines and allowing the animal health commissioner to recover the actual cost of official calfhood vaccination tags. Passed on emergency final action 117-7.
• HB 2101 – Extending transfers from the expanded lottery act revenues fund to the university engineering initiative. Passed on emergency final action 112-12.
• SB 29 – Updating the version of risk-based capital instructions in effect. Passed on emergency final action 124-0.
• SB 40 – Updating provisions related to the Kansas department of agriculture division of conservation. Passed on emergency final action 123-1.
Education bill (HB 2119)
On Thursday, the House K-12 Education Budget committee kicked out HB 2119, amended into a more extreme anti-education bill. It is extremely disappointing that Republicans would rather play games with the future of our children than work to ensure that they return to the classroom quickly and safely. This bill is a clear attempt to use the governor’s recommendations and bits of important educational enhancements as a thinly veiled disguise to shove through a Republican wish list of anti-public education bills. This Frankenstein of a bill will ultimately defund education, force us back into the courts, and is a clear message from Republicans that they do not have our children in mind–rather, they prefer to play political games.
We expect to see work done on the medical marijuana bill in the coming weeks. The passage of medicinal marijuana is not just important for Democrats, but also Republicans. According to a Republican poll, 66% of Kansans–both Democrats and Republicans–have indicated they supported medical marijuana. This makes it obvious that it is now the time to pass this important piece of legislation to provide Kansans with additional access to much-needed health options.
Friday media advisory
House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer and Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes had a joint media availability in which they discussed many important issues coming up next week. This discussion included school vouchers, the Kansas Emergency Management Act, giant multinational corporation tax cuts, medicinal marijuana and Medicaid expansion. These are all issues that we plan to address this session. You can watch the Friday’s media advisory on Kansas House Democrats’ Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kshousedems
Kansas State Library
Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center https://kslib.info/Fergusons is an online career exploration and planning resource provided by the State Library of Kansas. It provides detailed and up-to-date profiles of thousands of today’s most popular jobs. Included: an undergraduate and graduate school finder, databases for internships and apprenticeships, planning timelines that cover education to career, and a database of sample resumes and cover letters. New: workplace predictions for 2021, how to dress for video interviews, and how to deal with work from home stress.
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