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Representative Waymaster's Legislative Update Week 6

FY 2016 & 2017 Supplemental Bill

As I mentioned in the last newsletter on Wednesday, February 10, the House of Representatives debated and amended the supplemental budget bill for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.  Thursday of last week, the Senate passed its version of the budget bill, Senate Substitute for House Bill 2365.  By having a budget passed in both chambers, the next step of the budget process was that the budget committees of each chamber, House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means, met to discuss, add, or subtract details into the final Conference Committee Report.

The most poignant changes that the conference committee members made to the report for fiscal year 2016 were:  the addition of $3 million to address understaffing and recertification for Osawatomie and Larned State Hospitals; added language allowing the governor an enhanced allotment authority if the state’s general fund ending balance is projected to fall under $100 million; if there is a transfer from KPERS then a payment would be required with an assessed 8% interest rate by September 30, 2016; Prohibition of STAR Bonds in Wyandotte County for 2016 unless legislation is passed during the 2016 legislative session; and if the governor wishes to privatize either Osawatomie or Larned State Hospitals, thatt would require action by the state legislature.

Many of the items mentioned in the 2016 budget are also mentioned in the 2017 budget.  Some of the differences are:  deleted the transfer of Children’s Initiative Funding to the State General Fund and instead directed that money to the Children’s Cabinet for Grants; appropriated funds for a 2.5% pay increase for correctional officers; language was added to prevent the governor from transferring money from KPERS in 2017; included a provision that the debt service for the state highway fund cannot exceed 19%; stipulates that if there is any bonding over $5 million the only entity that can be used is the Kansas Developmental Finance Authority; and added $378,000 for safety net clinics in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.  The conference committee report passed the House on Wednesday, February 17, with a vote of 68-54.  I voted “yes” on the conference committee report I voted “yes” on the conference committee report even though I do not particularly like some components of the budget bill, I acknowledge that we need to address the financial needs for the state of Kansas.

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Efficiency Study:  General Government Budget Committee

On Tuesday, the General Government Budget Committee, which I serve as chairman, conducted a briefing with the personnel from the auditing firm of Alvarez & Marsal, which is the firm that was contracted to complete the efficiency study.  Some of the suggestions that were discussed varied from the way that the state of Kansas conducts its purchasing agreements, the selling of surplus property that is currently owned by the state of Kansas, negotiations with our vendors on making our payments on a longer payout structure and with discounts if the state would choose to pay them earlier, reduction and centralization of our fleet vehicles, and printing.  Since the budget bill has now passed, in the month of March the committee will use it’s time to identify additional savings for the state.

 

Bills Debated in the House this Week

In addition to the supplemental budget bill for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the Kansas House of Representatives debated and voted on nearly twenty other bills.  Here are some details of the bills that we deliberated on this past week:

· House Bill 2480 from the committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources makes a number of technical changes to the existing law regarding livestock brands.  The bill passed 98-23.  I voted “yes”.

· House Bill 2490 is another bill that came through the committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources which makes some changes to current statute and specifies that the Secretary of Agriculture has the allowance to expand the definition of plants, include toxicants in the list of plant pests, and expand the scope of plant pests to include those which can cause a threat to public health.  This bill passed the House by a vote of 109-13.  I voted “yes” on this bill, as well.

· House Bill 2518 would require that all death or stillbirth certificates and medical certifications be filed electronically with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, beginning January 1, 2017.  The House vote was 111-11, again, I voted “yes.”

· Substitute for House Bill 2289 would require that it be certified that prior to stopping the person operating or attempting to operate a vehicle, the law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to suspect the person was committing or had committed a crime or traffic infraction, or was involved in an accident resulting in property damage or injury.  HB 2289 passed out of the House, 115-7, and I voted “yes.”

· The final bill I will mention is House Bill 2503 which would require all vehicle registration applicants to pay a $2 non-refundable surcharge for each vehicle being registered and that surcharge would be credited to the Kansas Highway Patrol Staffing and Training Fund.  There was a priority motion made, which passed, sending this bill to the Appropriations Committee.   

 

Session Calendar and Contact Information

On Monday, the Speaker of the House’s office made us aware that there were going to be some alterations to the session calendar. 

The new session calendar has shortened our legislative session before the April break.  The last day that morning and afternoon committees may meet will now be February 18, Turn Around Day has been has been moved forward to February 23 and we will be out of session from February 24 through March 1.

The new session calendar also accelerates our schedule by having the date of first adjournment on March 25.  The Legislature would then be on break for most of April and would return for veto session on April 27.

If you have any concerns, feel free to contact my office at (785) 296-7672, visit www.troywaymaster.com or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov

The honor to serve you in the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas is one I do not take lightly. 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.         

Troy L. Waymaster,

State Representative

109th Kansas House



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