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Legislative Update Week Eleven

Education Finance Bill

On Friday, April 4, 2014, the House of Representatives debated the education bill that was finally passed out of the Appropriations Committee.  During the course of the last two weeks, there were numerous bills regarding education finance where each had trouble gaining traction and votes to pass the chamber.  Finally, House substitute for Senate Bill 218 addresses the Supreme Court decision that was handed down in early March to address adequacy and equity.  Listed below are budget adjustments to address the court decision:

· Increase BSAPP from $3838 to $3852, currently in Governor Brownback’s budget;

· Supplemental General State Aid—100% funding calculated with BSAPP of $4433, an increase of $103,865,000;

· Reduce At-Risk weighting for part-time students and students of the age of nineteen; a decrease of $3,351,451;

· Eliminate Non-proficient At-Risk; a decrease of $4,885,892;

· Eliminate Virtual Weighting for Local Option Budget; a decrease of $3,600,000;

· Additional Classroom State Aid—Fund BSAPP at $4540 for Local Option Budget; an increase of $7,000,000;

· Supplemental General State Aid for school districts who have a mail ballot election to increase LOB; and increase of $5,000,000 and

· Capital Outlay State Aid; an increase of $25,200,786.

The total adjusted spending on education, according to this bill, is $129,228,843 and now goes to conference committee between the House and Senate.

Renewable Portfolio Standards

Last week, the House debated and rejected a bill that passed the Senate the night before that would repeal the Renewable Energy Standards Act.  This act stipulates in statute that the net renewable generation capacity must have a certain percentage of a utility’s peak demand by a certain date.  Since that vote last week, material has circulated through the mail stating that unless the renewable portfolio standards are repealed, then utilities may increase by 40%.  If utility prices should increase because of the implementation of the renewable portfolio standards, that increase is related to other factors that have been applied to one’s utility bill, for example fuel surcharges, and not solely due to the renewable portfolio standards.  These standards support energy developments that have generated thousands of jobs and billons in investment dollars in Kansas and the 109th district.

 

Lesser Prairie Chicken Status

In a disappointing order, last week, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie chicken on the threatened species list.  This change in listing significantly reduces the commercial and industrial activities allowed on land.  The impacts of this ruling affect not only the oil and natural gas industry, but other types of economic activity, such as agriculture.  Prior to the listing, Kansas developed a habitat conversation program to partner with landowners and the federal government to reverse the trending habitat loss which has resulted in the depressed numbers.  Unfortunately, the federal government listed the lesser prairie chicken as threatened before these conservation plans could be implemented.

Even though Governor Sam Brownback announced on Friday, March 28, that Kansas would join Oklahoma’s lawsuit against the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee worked Senate Bill 276, for a second time.  SB 276, which establishes the State Sovereignty Over Non-Migratory Wildlife Act, would stipulate that the state as the sole regulatory authority to govern the management, habitats, hunting, and possession of lesser and greater prairie chickens that exist within the state.  In addition, the bill establishes that the lesser and greater prairie chickens, and their habitats, existing within the state of Kansas are not subject to federal laws, treaties, federal regulations, or executive action.

The committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources worked this bill approximately two weeks ago, however it was not motioned for a vote since we, in the committee, did not have enough votes to pass it out to the House floor.  However, since the threatened designation from last Friday, we then had the votes to pass it out of committee on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

Session Dates & Contact Information

Friday, April 4, 2014 is the scheduled last day of the 2014 Regular Legislative Session.  Here are some more important dates regarding the remainder of the session:

·         April 4, 2014, Drop Dead day, First Adjournment

·         April 30, 2014, Veto Session begins

·         May 15, 2014, Day 90

As always, these dates are subject to modification by leadership. 

The Legislature will be on break for approximately three weeks and I will be spending that time at home, traveling the district and attending numerous events.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office at (785) 296-7672, visit www.troywaymaster.com or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov.  It is an honor to serve the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. Do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions.  I appreciate hearing from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas.

 

 

 


Paid for by Troy Waymaster for 109th Kansas House, James Malone, Treasurer
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