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Mark's Musings - 2018 Legislative Session
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May 20, 2019
Adjournment and Accomplishments


The 2019 legislative session adjourned May 5 and officially ends May 29.  If the governor vetoes bills or line items in the appropriations bill, the legislature will have the opportunity to override those vetoes during the coming weeks.
In my opinion, the 2019 legislature’s major accomplishments include:
  1. Funding schools to potentially end the years-long lawsuit.
  2. Keeping our commitment to make up for missed Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) payments by depositing $115 million in the state pension fund.
  3. Providing a more solid financial footing for higher education institutions.
  4. Investing more money in mental health care and transportation projects.
  5. Passing Medicaid expansion in the House … although the Senate declined to vote on the bill.

Medicaid Expansion and the Budget Battle

I have continuously advocated for expanding Medicaid in Kansas to support our local hospital, mental health providers and community health center.

Our senator, Jeff Longbine, voted to get the expansion bill out of committee during the regular session. But the votes were not there to bring the bill up for debate.

During the legislative veto session, several colleagues and I attempted to use the budget to force an expansion vote in the Senate. But after voting down two budgets, I voted in favor of the third budget because it became obvious that the Senate president and majority leader would not allow a vote on expansion at this time.

The budget appropriately supports Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College, our area highways and our mental health providers. And the Senate majority leader committed to convening an interim committee to build a Medicaid expansion bill for debate next January on the Senate floor.

In the Budget

SB 25, which contains supplemental appropriations for FY 2019 and funding for FY 2020, passed the House 79-45 and the Senate 26-14.  Key budget items for fiscal year 2019 include —
  • Department for Children and Families: Funds the Family First Prevention Act ($452,516) and pays for 26 new child welfare positions ($802,296).
  • Department of Transportation: Allows transfer of as much as an additional $50 million from the State General Fund (SGF) to the State Highway Fund to accelerate delayed projects, including work on Highway 50 west of Emporia.
  • Department on Aging and Disability Services: Provides $2.4 million from the SGF for 1) Community Mental Health Centers providing crisis services, 2) Clubhouse Model programs to help people with persistent mental illness regain and maintain their place in society, and 3) the Client Assessment Referral and Evaluation program, which assesses and recommends placement for people entering long-term care in nursing facilities.
  • State Hospitals: Adds $5.9 million to address the revenue shortfall.
  • Kansas Department of Health and Environment: Provides an additional $2.2 million to expedite the process of reducing the ballooning backlog of Medicaid applications.
  • PMIB Loan: Accelerates repayment of a no-interest loan from the Pooled Money Investment Board (PMIB) enacted by the 2017 legislature; the loan will be repaid in three years instead of six.
Key budget items for fiscal year 2020 include —
  • Department of Corrections: $35 million to address system-wide issues
    • Pay raises for corrections officers at El Dorado Correctional Facility ($12.5 million). The State Finance Council will have authority to release additional funds for pay raises at other prisons and to oversee improvements ($26.7 million).
    • Beds and services at facilities operated by private contractors, thus addressing over-crowding across the corrections system ($16.4 million).
    • Additional funding for Hepatitis C treatment ($4.5 million).
    • Appropriate housing for adult female offenders ($3 million).
    • Stab vests for corrections officers ($344,000).
  • Department for Children and Families: Provides a $6.9 million Families First funding match to help move foster children from group homes into foster families and pays for an additional 16 full-time employees.
  • Department of Education: In addition to funding increases for K-12 schools passed earlier in the session, provides $5 million for Safe and Secure Schools Grants.
  • Department of Transportation: Adds $166.4 million in State Highway Funds.
  • Board of Regents: Restores 2016 cuts made by Gov. Brownback ($8.9 million) and provides an additional $26 million for, among other things, Career and Technical Education Programs, and comprehensive grants to students in private and public universities. This is a significant improvement for Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College.
  • State Employee Pay: Increases pay for state employees, including the judicial branch but not those otherwise receiving a pay increase in FY 2020, by 2.5 percent. Statewide elected officials and legislators are excluded. 
  • Main Street Program and Creative Arts Commission: Restores $250,000 for the Main Street program, which had been eliminated under Gov. Brownback, and provides an additional $300,000 for the Creative Arts Commission. For those in the 60th District, you know the value of Emporia Main Street and the many arts activities throughout the year.
  • Mental Health: Adds $5 million in grants to Community Mental Health Centers.
  • Home and Community Based Services (HCBS): Provides $6 million to reduce waiting lists for Medicaid waivers for individuals with intellectual/developmental and physical disabilities. Also adds $10.1 million to fund a 1.5 percent rate increase for HCBS waiver-services providers and a 1 percent rate increase for nursing facilities.
  • Medicaid: Increases the protected income level for HCBS waiver-services recipients and for individuals in PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) from $747 to $1,177 per month.

April Consensus Revenue Estimates Detailed

Consensus Revenue Estimates (CRE), prepared by the Consensus Estimating Group, were presented to a joint meeting of the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees April 30.
 

Tax Bill and Food Sales Tax Buy-Down

The House passed the Conference Committee Report on HB 2033, which, among other things, would allow individual taxpayers to itemize deductions on their state tax return if they claim the federal standard deduction. The bill is not retroactive. The bill passed 83-41. I voted for the bill. It also has business taxes, internet sales tax and a buydown of the food sales tax, but Governor Kelly vetoed the bill. If a veto override is occurs on May 29, it will start in the House.
 

Claire and Lola’s Law

During veto session, the legislature came to agreement on SB 28, which I had introduced. Also known as Claire and Lola’s law, it would provide an affirmative defense for individuals possessing CBD oil with low amounts of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, to help control seizures associated with debilitating medical conditions. The bill does not legalize THC or marijuana, nor does it allow the sale, production or distribution of CBD oil with low THC in Kansas; our residents would have to purchase it in another state and bring it back to Kansas for personal use.

The bill passed thanks to the Hartley family’s tremendous advocacy.  Their children, Claire and Lola, were born with microcephaly.  Claire passed away in 2018 but, through this bill, the Hartleys hope to provide relief for Lola and other children who experience multiple seizures every day. Rep. Susan Humphries was also a strong ally and  supported my efforts on behalf of the bill, which passed the House 87-36 and passed the Senate 27-8.  Gov. Kelly has yet to act on this legislation.
 

Kansas House Honors Fallen Law Enforcement Officers

On May 3, Rep. Eric Smith, who is also a Coffey County deputy sheriff, requested a Point of Personal Privilege to honor law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Kansas added three names to its Law Enforcement Memorial on the statehouse grounds; those names also will be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial.  Kansas officers killed in the line of duty during 2018 are Deputy Sheriff Robert Kunze, Deputy Sheriff Theresa King and Deputy Sheriff Patrick Rohre.


Later that day, officers from around the state gathered at the Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial to honor the fallen. Last year, the Capitol Preservation Committee authorized expansion of the memorial, which sadly is reaching the maximum number of names that can be etched in stone.  Find more information about the fallen officers, the campaign to raise funds for the expansion and its project plans at https://www.kansaslawenforcementmemorial.com/.
 

The session ends, but my work continues

When the session formally closes May 29, my work on your behalf will not stop. I will continue to attend local events, respond to constituent issues, and educate myself about trends in other states by attending selected national and regional conferences.

I welcome your feedback and hope to see you at Emporia-area activities, such as the DK block party, ESU Summer Theater, the National Teachers Hall of Fame induction, or the David Traylor Zoo.

Thank you for the honor of representing you. Be active, be safe, and have a wonderful summer!

 
Representative Mark Schreiber
www.schreiberforkansas.com
 
Statehouse Office
Room 352-S
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS  66612
785-296-2721
Mark.Schreiber@house.ks.gov

Home
1722 Yucca Lane
Emporia, KS   66801
Home: 620-342-6954
Cell: 785-230-0897
markschreiber60@gmail.com
 
 Paid for by Mark Schreiber for Kansas House – Cindy Lore, Treasurer
 

Contact Mark

 

StateHouse Office

Room 352-S
300 SW 10th Street,
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-2721
Mark.Schreiber@house.ks.gov

Home

1722 Yucca Lane
Emporia, Kansas 66801
Phone: 620-342-6954
markschreiber60@gmail.com
 
 

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Copyright © 2019 Mark Schreiber for Kansas House, All rights reserved.


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