The Kansas legislature has ended the regular legislative session and
has left for their spring break. The plan is to return Wednesday, May 8
for the Veto Session, which is a week later than usual. Sen. Anthony
Hensley questioned the extended break when he stated that he "thinks
that was intentionally set up that way so that they could participate in
their leadership roles in the ALEC organization, which to my way of
thinking is inappropriate that we would schedule the Kansas legislature,
legislative business around when ALEC meets.” See http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/apr/08/hensley-says-republican-leaders-delayed-wrapup-ses/.
Nevertheless, Monday, May 13 will be the 80th day. Normally the
session runs for 90 days, but this year there has been a move to shorten
the session to save money. However, keeping to this 80-day session will
be difficult since both chambers are still haggling over the budget and
tax policy, neither of which are anywhere near completion. See http://www.kansas.com/2013/04/07/2750861/lawmakers-have-much-to-weigh-over.html.
Both chambers will also need to deal with the Consensus Revenue
Estimates set to become public on Friday, April 19. If these estimates
for FY 2014 are in the red, legislators will need to increase funding,
most likely in the form of sales tax extension. If the Kansas House
lacks the votes to keep the sales tax cutting spending is the only
answer left to them. And cutting would probably start with higher
education since the Kansas Senate’s budget only calls for a 2 percent
cut while the Kansas House chops 4 percent.
Keeping the sales tax at its current level is a major budget policy
for the governor, but last week the Kansas House voted down a tax bill
that contained the sales tax piece. See http://www.kansas.com/2013/04/05/2749009/kansas-house-votes-overwhelmingly.html. It was mostly political posturing but the vote was instructive because it showed a less than willing appetite for more taxes.
Besides working on the budget, the Kansas legislature spent the past
week debating, amending, and then passing a number of conference
committee reports. These reports contain a number of likeminded issues
that are bundled together and passed as one piece of legislation. This
process is the epitome of legislative sausage making. Some of the more
discussed conference committee reports contained a series of abortion
prohibitions, gambling, gun right protections, KDOT and Turnpike merger,
and prevailing wage issues.
See Sweeping abortion bill sent to governor, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/apr/05/sweeping-abortion-bill-sent-governor/; and Kansas abortion legislation life begins and fertilization, http://cjonline.com/news/2013-04-06/kansas-abortion-legislation-life-begins-fertilization.
See gaming bill, http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/sb215/; Senate gambling compromise dies, http://cjonline.com/news/2013-04-02/senate-gambling-compromise-dies; and Measure to lure casino to SE Kansas fails, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/apr/03/measure-lure-casino-se-kansas-fails/.
See Concealed Carry Bill – Conference Committee Report HB 2052, http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/documents/ccrb_hb2052_01_0001.pdf. See also http://cjonline.com/news/2013-04-05/conceal-carry-gun-expansion-passes-legislature and http://cjonline.com/blog-post/tim-carpenter/2013-04-03/esu-student-wary-knoxs-confidence-firepower-0.
In addition, KDOT/Turnpike Merger – Conference Committee Report on HB 2234, http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/documents/ccrb_hb2234_02_turnpike.pdf. See Modified merger of KTA-KDOT approved, http://cjonline.com/news/2013-04-05/modified-merger-kta-kdot-approved; and House, Senate send bill to Brownback that would make KDOT secretary in charge of operating turnpike, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/apr/05/house-senate-send-bill-brownback-would-make-kdot-s/.
Here are some of the issues that are on their way to the governor’s desk:
- HB 2253,
major prolife bill passes legislature. The main prolife legislation of
the 2013 Kansas legislature was approved Friday, April 5 by the House
affirming that life begins at conception and prohibiting the use of tax
money for abortion.
- SB 61, legislature takes aim at human trafficking. This bill creates the crime of "commercial sexual exploitation of a child.
- SB 16,
Kansas gets its own RICO law. There is a federal anti-racketeering act
known by the acronym RICO. Now, Kansas has its own version aimed at
street gangs and drug distributors.
- HB 2234,
closer tie between KDOT, Turnpike backed. Gov. Sam Brownback proposed
the merger of these two entities as a way to save money. On Friday,
April 5 the legislature passed a bill tying the two agencies closer
together, giving the governor a partial win.
- HB 2252,
law eliminates time limit on rape cases. Gov. Sam Brownback signed a
bill into law Monday, April 1 that abolishes the statute of limitations
on the prosecution of rape cases.
- SB 124,
restraint of trade act. The bill would create a new section that would
declare the purpose of the new section and the amendments to existing
sections is to clarify and reduce uncertainty or ambiguity in the
application of the KRTA and applicable evidentiary standards to certain
business contracts, agreements, and arrangements that are not intended
to unreasonably restrain trade or commerce and do not contravene public
The KBA has tracked the following bills:
- SB 81,
requiring the restriction of certain officials' information from
publicly accessible records. This bill was amended on the House floor
and recommended for passage. This bill passed the Kansas Senate 40-0
(KBA supports this bill).
- HB 2014, revoking an ex-spouses inheritance rights upon divorce, and HB 2015,
marital property. Both bills have been recommended favorable for
passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Passage is probable (KBA
supports both bills).
- HB 2166,
medical assistance recovery act, was passed as amended by the Kansas
House. The KBA Title Standard Committee provided the amending language
that Rep. Blaine Finch used to clarify the lien priority status. The
Kansas House approved this bill 112-11 (KBA was neutral on this bill but
for the floor amendment).
- HB 2205,
adoption hearings, time and waiver of notice, passed out of the Senate
Judiciary Committee and was placed on the Senate Consent Calendar as an
uncontroversial bill. Passage appears imminent (The KBA supported this
- HB 2398,
relating to the Kansas revised limited liability company act, was given
a hearing on Monday, March 18 but the House Judiciary Committee will
hold this bill over to 2014 (The KBA introduced this bill).
For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart at http://bit.ly/KBABillTrackingChart.