by Rep. Pam Curtis
I continue to push for the Kansas House to pass legislation to allow prevailing wage be paid on public projects. On Thursday I offered an amendment on the floor to allow prevailing wage be paid on state public projects.
Numerous studies have been conducted that show the benefits of paying prevailing wage to the economic health of our local communities and to our state.
Prevailing wage helps maintain a high quality construction workforce and provide workers with the income needed to provide for themselves and their families. In Wyandotte County we have seen first-hand the benefits of paying prevailing wage, an option that was taken away from local government by the Kansas Legislature three years ago. I will continue to fight to restore the local option for prevailing wage.
House Standing Committees, except for exempt committees, completed their work for the session this past week. We will spend most of the coming week on the House Floor to consider those bills that have passed out of committee.
It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I both value and need your input on the various issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 452-S, Kansas Statehouse, 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. Additionally, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working for working Kansans
Kansas House Democrats proposed several amendments this week on the floor that would benefit the working men and women of Kansas. These amendments included “Buy American,” which places a preference on buying American products when possible, if those products met or exceeded certain specifications. This would apply to state contracts.
Another proposed amendment offered on the floor was for prevailing wage. This means setting the hourly wage on public projects at the rate paid in the largest city in each county to the majority of workers, laborers and mechanics.
Prevailing wages are established by the Department of Labor and Industries and they are established separately for each county, and are reflective of local wage conditions. The prevailing wage amendment would have applied to state funded projects only. It would ensure safe, trained, financially responsible, stable contractors to complete projects, fair wages, offer local control, and maximize our return on the dollars we invest in our local construction projects.
Unfortunately, these two amendments failed to pass, though both had overwhelming Democratic support.
This week on the House floor
This week, the House has been busy passing numerous bills. The many pieces of legislation ranged on issues from technology to healthcare to agriculture. Find a few of these bills detailed below.
Sub HB 2331: An act concerning information systems and communications; creating the representative Jim Morrison cybersecurity act; relating to digital information security for Kansas executive branch agencies; establishing the Kansas information security office; establishing the cybersecurity state fund and cybersecurity state grant fund in the state treasury, creating the Kansas information technology enterprise. See www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/documents/hb2331_01_0000.pdf.
H Sub for SB 60: An act concerning agriculture; relating to the Kansas department of agriculture; certain fees, authorizing the Kansas secretary of agriculture to collect a fee for processing paper documents. See www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/documents/sb60_02_0000.pdf.
SB 20: An act concerning financial institutions; relating to certain acts under the administration of the state bank commissioner. See www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/sb20/.
H Sub for SB 51: An act concerning controlled substances; the state board of pharmacy; relating to scheduling of controlled substance analogs, controlled substances and new drugs; emergency scheduling. See www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/sb51/.
HB 2313: An act concerning the Kansas lottery; dealing with lottery ticket vending machines; repealing the lottery sunset. See www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/hb2313/.
HB 2232: An act concerning adult care homes; relating to electronic monitoring. See www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/documents/hb2232_00_0000.pdf.
SB 68: An act concerning health and healthcare; relating to hospitals; enacting the Kansas lay caregiver act. See www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/sb68/.
HB 2353: An act concerning state contracts and purchases; relating to purchases of products and services from not-for-profit entities; employment of persons with disabilities. See http://kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/HB2353/.
Coming up in the Kansas Legislature
This week, watch for the Medicaid expansion bill to hit the Senate floor. If it passes through the Senate, the bill will then be sent to the governor.
Republicans in the Senate have said they will wait to act on an education finance formula until the House addresses it first. Conversations as to how to solve this issue are underway, with many ideas being introduced. A bill has been proposed this week in the Kansas House, and we expect action on that bill to begin next week.
A tax plan to restore the revenue in Kansas has not yet been enacted. Previously in the session, the House put forth and passed a tax bill, which then passed through the Senate. The bill essentially repealed Gov. Brownback’s “march to zero” tax experiment. The governor vetoed the bill, after which the House overrode his veto. The Senate failed to override by just three votes. A new tax plan should be coming soon from the Senate side.
Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month. It’s a time to reflect on women’s contributions to history and to the present, the inaugural holiday beginning in the United States in 1987. Join us this month in standing with and celebrating women in Kansas, across the nation, and the across the world. Read more at http://womenshistorymonth.gov/.