by Rep. Pam Curtis
It was a very busy week as committee work continues as well as consideration of bills on the floor of the Kansas House. We had a special treat on Friday as former Sen. Richard Gannon joined us to play his traditional bagpipes in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
Thursday was a day of environmental advocacy and outreach,Wealth Day, at the Capitol. Over 200 people joined together under the dome to discuss Kansas Wealth, water, energy, air, land, transportation, and health. It was my pleasure to participate in the Wealth program and speak about the importance of air.
On Friday I joined other members of the House Elections Committee for a presentation and tour at the Shawnee County Election Commission Office. I appreciated the opportunity for this very informative and interesting hands-on discussion of election administration, processes, and new equipment.
Thank you to everyone that visited me this week at the Capitol. 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 email@example.com.
This week in the House
Several bills passed through the Kansas House this week. Below is a list detailing some of these bills.
Wildfire Relief Bill: HB 2387, An act concerning sales and compensating use tax; exemption for repairing, rebuilding or replacing certain property destroyed by wildfires.
Tax: HB 2162, An act concerning sales taxation; relating to time for payment of tax.
Ad Astra Rural Jobs Act: HB 2168, An act concerning rural economic development; enacting the ad astra rural jobs act which would provide tax incentives for investment companies that finance business projects that bring jobs to rural areas in Kansas.
Health: SB 32, An act relating to mental health care; medical student and resident loan assistance; medical student loan agreements; practice commitment agreements; providing for agreements for the practice of psychiatry; establishing the psychiatry medical loan repayment fund and the rural health bridging psychiatry fund; concerning mental healthcare facilities.
Campaign Finance: Sub HB 2223, An act concerning campaign finance reports for members of the legislature and reports by lobbyists; dealing with civil penalties for late filing of such reports.
“SkyNet” Bill: On Friday the House debated Sub HB 2331: Kansas Information Technology Enterprise. I fully support the cybersecurity portion of the bill but another bill was added to HB 2331 to create a cabinet level agency transferring all executive branch agencies IT spending and personnel to the new “KITE” agency. While I agree in concept to the centralization of IT services, with a lack of a roadmap for the implementation, clarity on which employees will be impacted and assurances that centralizing services will protect uniformity and access to IT services, more work needs to be done before moving this measure forward. Sub HB 2331 will be up for final action on the House Floor when we return on Monday, March 20th.
State of the Judiciary
On Wednesday, the Kansas Supreme Court justices and the Kansas Court of Appeals judges appeared at the Capitol building to give the State of the Judiciary on the House floor.
Chief Justice Lawton Nuss addressed both the House and Senate, speaking on the troubles facing the courts and their employees, raising awareness of the court’s proposal to raise their budget. This is the first time the Supreme Court has appeared at the Capitol to give the State of the Judiciary since 2012. Due to prior tension with a conservative-dominated legislature, the address has been held at the Judicial Center the last few years. The new House Speaker, Ron Ryckman, re-extended the invitation to the House floor this year.
Resolution for Olathe shooting
On Thursday, the Kansas House adopted a resolution honoring the life of Srinivas Kuchibhotla and recognizing a united community and state. The resolution condemned the recent shooting in Olathe: “These evil acts do not define us, and they will not divide us.”
The surviving victims of the shooting stood in front of the House chamber to be honored as the resolution was adopted.
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 about Women’s History Month at http://womenshistorymonth.gov/.
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You can also follow the legislative session online at: www.kslegislature.org.