Legislative update from Rep. Pam Curtis

Opinion column

Rep. Pam Curtis

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

On Monday, the Greater Kansas City Chamber held a luncheon for legislators at the Capitol. Joe Reardon, president-CEO, and his team gave an excellent presentation about the Kansas City region’s economic importance to Kansas.

Much of the information they provided is available online in the new Greater KC Report at https://dashboards.mysidewalk.com/the-kansas-city-report. There were a lot of good questions and discussion about the opportunities and challenges facing the region. We very much appreciate the opportunity to have these important dialogues.

We had a very special Wyandotte County-Leavenworth County Delegation Luncheon on Tuesday. KCKPS students, who were at the Statehouse for Citizen Lobby Day, joined us to hear a presentation from Kansas University Health Systems.

It was great to have the students join us to learn about the new campus on Strawberry Hill where adult mental and behavioral health inpatient services are offered. We also heard about the new proton cancer treatment. KU Health Systems will be the first in the region to provide lifesaving proton therapy in Kansas City to cancer patients.

It was a pleasure to attend the annual Travel Industry Association of Kansas (TIAK) celebration “Destination Statehouse” on Wednesday. It was an enjoyable evening learning more about the attractions in Kansas and the economic benefit of the travel and tourism industry to our state. I was stumped by one of the trivia questions. “Do you know how much a buffalo hunter in the 1800s made a day?” My three guesses were way off – surprisingly the answer was $100 a day.


Aaron Coleman, a student at Johnson County Community College and my nephew, spent the day “shadowing” me to learn and experience firsthand the legislative process. If you are interested or know of a student that would be interested in spending a day or part of a day with me at the Statehouse please let me know.


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 pam.curtis@house.ks.gov


First vote of the 2020 session
The first vote on the House Floor of the 2020 Session was taken on Monday. HB 2426 will make technical amendments to provisions in the Code of Civil Procedure, Small Claims Procedure Act, and Code of Civil Procedure for Limited Actions to update and standardize statutory references. This bill was introduced by Rep. Highberger and passed through final action 114-0.


Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl win
Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on their Super Bowl win. The Kansas City Chiefs won the 54th Super Bowl, on the 50th anniversary of their first championship. In celebration of the win, a parade took place in Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday. Because of the historic win, Speaker of the House Ryckman and Senate President Wagle closed the state legislature to allow legislators to attend the celebration.


COLA day at the capital
Members of the Kansas Coalition of Public Retirees gathered at the Statehouse this week for “COLA” day. Retirees spent the day talking with lawmakers about the need for a cost of living raise for those receiving benefits and urging support for HB2100. It has been 22 years since KPERS recipients have received a cost of living adjustment while at the same time the Consumer Price Index has risen by approximately 54 percent. It is important that we keep the promise to our public service employees including those that are currently working and depending on KPERS for their future retirement as well as those retirees who without cost of living adjustments struggle to make ends meet in the very communities they protected and served.

Constitutional amendment goes to final action
The proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution (SCR 1613) that would strip women of their bodily autonomy was debated on the House Floor Thursday morning. During the debate a “gut and go” amendment was brought forth that would have replaced the text of the constitutional amendment with the language in HCR 5004, a bill which grants personhood to all humans beginning at fertilization, effectively banning all abortion and making miscarriages a crime. The germaneness of said amendment was challenged and the rules committee ruled it not germane.

SCR 1613 was then moved to be recommended for passage. Moving any bill from general orders to final action requires a simple majority, whereas on final action, a Constitutional amendment requires two-thirds of the body’s votes, or 84 yes votes. The vote passed out of general orders 80-41. Friday, after being held in Call of the House for nearly six hours, the amendment failed 80-43 during final action.

House Appropriations begins to examine budget
The House Appropriations Committee has begun reviewing the governor’s budget proposal. Two policy pieces within the proposal particularly stand out as necessary and logical for Kansans.

The first is targeted food sales tax relief. Kansas has the highest food sales tax in the nation. This policy will replace the current non-refundable food sales tax credit with a new refundable food sales tax credit. If approved the measure will return $63 million back to the people of Kansas.

The other policy goal of the governor is property tax relief. This resumes transfers from the State General Fund back to the Local Ad Valorem, returning property taxes back to local communities.

State Library

Explora https://kslib.info/students is an online resource available from the State Library of Kansas. Click on the grade-appropriate icon for assistance with Middle School or High School homework or class assignments. Explora delivers high-quality articles from reputable publishers with no pop-ups or ads. Reading level indicators allow selection of material that matches students’ reading abilities. Broad topic overviews provide students with a starting point for their research.

Resources
My Legislative Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/PamCurtisKCK/?ref=bookmarks
My Twitter Account , https://twitter.com/pcurtiskck.
My Website, https://www.curtisforkck.com/?utm_campaign=2020ksleg4&utm_medium=email&utm_source=pamcurtis.

Kansas Legislature Website, http://kslegislature.org/li/.

Legislative update from Rep. Pam Curtis

Rep. Pam Curtis

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

The 2020 legislative session is well underway and it has been an extremely busy start. Much of the work and focus is in committees with hearings and some bills beginning to work their way to the full House of Representatives for consideration. Monday, Feb. 3, is the deadline for legislators to request bills to be drafted for consideration this year.

At this week’s Wyandotte County-Leavenworth County Delegation Luncheon, Stephen Durest with Federico Consulting provided information about Charter Communications and Spectrum providing internet and cable services to customers in our area. We appreciated the opportunity for members of the delegation to learn more about the services provided by Charter and Spectrum as well as ask questions and discuss several issues that may come up this session.

The Kansas County Appraisers, Kansas Law Enforcement and Kansas County Clerks Association all held legislative receptions in Topeka this past week. Wyandotte County Appraiser Kathy Briney and Wyandotte County Sheriff Don Ash were in attendance. We appreciate the opportunity to visit with our local officials about matters before the Kansas Legislature. These discussions are so helpful as we work together to serve our community.

One of the highlights of the week was Latina Leaders Day at the Capitol which brought participants from every Kansas Congressional District to the Statehouse including many from Wyandotte County.

It was a special honor to have Dolores Huerta, civil rights activist, and labor leader, at the Capitol for Latina Leaders Day. The stories, wisdom, and advice she shared were very impactful. Both the House and Senate recognized Dolores Huerta for her work and Gov. Laura Kelly signed a proclamation honoring Dolores Huerta stating, “Huerta’s fight for social justice inspired generations of leaders and changed our country for the better.” Here is a link to learn more about the work of this wonderful lady: https://doloreshuerta.org/dolores-huerta/.

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 email me at pam.curtis@house.ks.gov

Constitutional amendment passes the Senate
The proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution (SCR 1613) that would strip women of their bodily autonomy was debated on the Senate floor on Wednesday night. The debate lasted over four hours and included many attempted amendments, including an amendment that would put exceptions in the constitutional amendment for cases of rape, incest, or if the woman’s life was in danger. That amendment failed 28-12 on the Senate floor. The Senate eventually passed the constitutional amendment on a voice vote and then suspended the rules in order to have an Emergency Final Action vote. That vote was also 28-12, passing the Senate and sending SCR 1613 over to the House. The House is expected to debate the amendment next week.

Latina Leaders Day
On Thursday, Rep. Susan Ruiz brought forth a House Resolution naming Jan. 30 Latina Leaders Day. The resolution passed on a unanimous voice vote. In attendance were many Latina leaders throughout the state, including Dolores Huerta, a civil rights activist who spent her life advocating for equality. Gov. Laura Kelly also signed a proclamation honoring Dolores Huerta stating “Huerta’s fight for social justice inspired generations of leaders and changed our country for the better.”

Gov. Kelly holds press conference
Thursday afternoon, Gov. Kelly held a press conference regarding the Senate’s passing of SCR 1613, the constitutional amendment that would strip women of their bodily autonomy. During the press conference, she urged members of the House to vote “no” on this constitutional amendment, stating that these decisions should be left to women, their doctors, and whomever else they choose to confide in, not politicians. Gov. Kelly emphasized that she ran to protect the rights of all Kansans, including women.

Early Learning Resources from the State Library
Britannica School is an online resource from the State Library of Kansas for children. Most of the content is for grades 2-4 but it includes Fundamentals! for Pre-K which uses games, videos, and drawing tools to engage younger learners.


BookFlix pairs video storybooks with related nonfiction e-books. Imagine “Curious George” paired with a nonfiction book about monkeys. The read-along storybook highlights each word as it is read. This option can be turned off. Related games reinforce early learning reading skills. BookFlix requires Flash.


Britannica E-Stax (PreK-6) features nonfiction books that can be read online or downloaded to any Internet-enabled device. Both are available at no charge through the State Library’s web site, https://kslib.info/kids .

Resources

My Legislative Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/PamCurtisKCK/?ref=bookmarks
My Twitter Account , https://twitter.com/pcurtiskck.
My Website, https://www.curtisforkck.com/?utm_campaign=2020ksleg1&utm_medium=email&utm_source=pamcurtis.
Kansas Legislature Website, http://kslegislature.org/li/.

Legislative update from Rep. Pam Curtis

Rep. Pam Curtis

Opinion column

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

It was a busy week at the Capitol as the Kansas Legislature completed week two of the 2020 session. It is wonderful to see so many visitors from home attending events at the Statehouse and engaged in the legislative process!

The Wyandotte County-Leavenworth County Legislative Delegation’s first luncheon for the 2020 Session was held on Tuesday with KCK Board of Public Utilities as the sponsor. Bill Johnson, general manager, and David Mehlhaff, chief communications officer, provided a presentation about the utility and answered questions from legislators. The discussion and information provided was very helpful. The Tuesday delegation lunches provide a good venue for members to learn and discuss various topics and issues.

On Wednesday I participated in a panel discussion with Sen. Longbine and Rep. Finch at the Kansas Association of Counties and League of Kansas Municipalities Local Government Day. There were some great questions and I appreciated the opportunity to visit with our local officials about matters before the Kansas Legislature. By working together, we can better serve our communities and state.


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 email me at pam.curtis@house.ks.gov.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day


On Monday, we celebrated the life and works of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Each year he is honored for his devotion and sacrifice in the name of equality and for the Civil Rights movement.


Constitutional amendment


A proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution, HCR 5019, was heard in a joint meeting of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The amendment would strip women of their bodily autonomy and could potentially open the door to a full ban on abortion in the state of Kansas. The hearing went throughout the entire day, with proponents and opponents testifying. On Wednesday, the amendment passed out of both committees, and was read into the Senate. Thursday, the amendment was read into the House. Thus far there is no word on when the amendment will be worked on either floor.

Equality Day


Thursday was Equality Day in the State House. Much of the crowd consisted of students coming from all over Kansas — many of whom it was their first time in the building. Speakers included Rep. Brandon Woodard and Rep. Susan Ruiz, the first LGBTQ state representatives to be elected in the state of Kansas; State Sen. Barbara Bollier; and Tom Witt, the executive director for Equality Kansas. Among the topics mentioned by the speakers were amending the Kansas discrimination act to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; banning conversion therapy and more.


State Library


Explora is an online resource available from the State Library’s web site: http://kslib.info/students. Click on the grade-appropriate icon for assistance with middle school or high school homework or class assignments. Explora delivers high-quality articles from reputable publishers with no pop-ups or ads. Reading level indicators allow selection of material that matches students’ reading abilities. Broad topic overviews provide students with a starting point for their research.

Resources


My Legislative Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/PamCurtisKCK/?ref=bookmarks
My Twitter Account , https://twitter.com/pcurtiskck.
My Website, https://www.curtisforkck.com/?utm_campaign=2020ksleg1&utm_medium=email&utm_source=pamcurtis.
Kansas Legislature Website, http://kslegislature.org/li/.