Legislative update from Rep. Pam Curtis

Rep. Pam Curtis

Guest column
Opinion

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

We just completed week 5 of the 2018 Kansas legislative session and are quickly approaching “Turnaround Day,” Feb. 22, which is the last day to consider non-exempt bills in the house of origin.

On Feb. 7, I posted on social media that it was a year ago that I testified in favor of HB 2185 that would allow local units of government the option to incorporate a prevailing wage requirement on public construction projects.

Introduced at my request, a hearing was held in the House Commerce Labor and Economic Development Committee and I remain hopeful that the committee will work the bill this session.

Paying a prevailing-wage supports a highly skilled and safe construction workforce that delivers more cost-effective construction projects and improves the overall economic health of communities. Here is a link to a petition in support of HB 2185.

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.

Last week on the House floor
This week, the House worked several bills on the floor. All of these bills passed through the chamber. They are as follows:
HB 2470: This bill allows microbreweries within the state of Kansas to contract with other microbreweries for production and packaging of beer and hard cider. The contracting Kansas microbrewery would be held to all applicable state and federal laws dealing with manufacturing, packaging, and labeling and would be responsible for payment of all state, and federal taxes on the beer or hard cider.
HB 2502: This bill will provide for newly authorized sales of beer containing no more than 6.0 percent alcohol by volume by cereal malt beverage (CMB) licensees to be subject to state and local sales taxes instead of the state liquor enforcement tax.
HB 2446: This bill adds a designation of ranking minority member to the Joint Committee on Kansas Security and to the Joint Committee on Information Technology. The ranking minority member of the Joint Committee on Kansas Security would be a representative member selected by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives in odd-numbered years and a senator member selected by the Minority Leader of the Senate in even-numbered years.
HB 2438: This bill prohibits state agencies from contracting with a vendor on an information technology project if that vendor prepared or assisted with: 1) The preparation of the program statement; 2) The project planning documents; or 3) Any other project plans prepared prior to approval of the project by the Chief Information Technology Officer of the relevant branch of government.
SB 262: This bill authorizes the Capitol Preservation Committee to approve plans to place a permanent statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower on the Kansas Capitol grounds.
HB 2441: This bill transfers responsibility for procuring independent audits from the Legislative Division of Post Audit (LPA) to the audited agencies.
HB 2492: This bill increases the maximum local sales tax rate that could be imposed by Thomas County from 1.50 percent to 1.75 percent
HB 2469: This bill prohibits local units of government from imposing restrictions or enforcing local licensing or registration ordinances on insurance claims’ handling operations during any catastrophic event threatening life or property.

Colyer addresses Legislature
On Wednesday, newly-inaugurated Gov. Jeff Colyer addressed both chambers of the Kansas legislature for the first time.

Colyer’s speech covered a broad range of topics, which he broke into three categories: reform, jobs, and education. Within these categories, he discussed the need for transparency in state government, his first executive order addressing sexual harassment within the executive branch and state agencies, and school finance litigation.

While Colyer called for an end to the cycle of constant litigation over the funding of Kansas public schools, he gave no specifics on how this might be done. The governor also expressed his wish to be the most accessible governor in the state’s history.

Whether Gov. Colyer delivers the “new day” in Kansas that he has promised is yet to be seen.

Resources:
My legislative Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PamCurtisKCK
My Twitter account, https://twitter.com/pcurtiskck
My website, http://www.curtisforkck.com/
Kansas House Democrats Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/kshousedems/
Kansas House Democrats website, http://www.kshousedems.com/
Kansas Legislature website, http://kslegislature.org/

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