Turnaround — the halfway point of session — is an important milestone. There is a push to pass bills to keep them alive. If a bill has not been in one of these exempt committees, Federal and State Affairs, Tax, or Ways & Means, and has not passed the originating chamber, that bill dies at turnaround. The Senate passed over 50 bills last week to the House. The bills and debates are posted at www.kslegislature.org.
Legislation 101 Senate Bill (SB) 294: the bill we are following in these updates, that brings transparency to your property tax increases, was debated on the Senate floor. The Majority leader brought the bill above the line for debate and it passed the Senate 39 Yes and 0 No. There were a couple of attempts to weaken the bill but those amendments failed. SB 294 is now in the House Tax Committee. Hopefully, the Chair of the Committee will schedule a hearing for the bill. SB 294 would require local governments, starting in 2021, to notify taxpayers if they intend to collect more money in property tax than the previous year. It would allow taxpayers an opportunity to comment before property tax increases occur.
Here’s a brief overview of some of the bills that passed the Senate and were sent to the House:
• SB 272 would prohibit a property valuation from increasing during the appeals process. You shouldn’t have to worry about your valuation being raised as a result of an appeal. The bill passed unanimously.
• SB 331 would allow the department of corrections employees, local correctional or detention officers, judicial branch employees, and municipal court employees to remove any identifying information from public websites, including home addresses or home ownership. The bill passed unanimously.
• SB 295 would stop the value of real property being increased solely as a result of normal repairs or maintenance. It should encourage, rather than discourage, property owners to maintain their investment. The bill passed with 39 Yes, 1 No. I voted Yes.
• SB 283 would allow for sports betting and online gambling. It would allow for state-owned casinos to provide software applications that run on your phone or other devices to be used for gambling. The bill would give money to Eureka Downs (only one race track — why not all if any), established computer science scholarship fund, and creates a temporary rules and regulations process, ignoring the one that is already in place. The bill passed 23 Yes to 15 No. I voted No on the final bill. There were a couple of amendments offered that I did supported but they failed to go on the bill. One was to pay down KPERS with the increased state money.
• SB 358 would give authority to the highway patrol to administrator ignition interlock manufacturers and their service providers for DUI offenders. The bill passed unanimously.
• SB 404 would establish a process to terminate parental rights of a person whose sexual assault of another resulted in the conception of a child. The bill passed unanimously.
• SB 337 would allow students enrolled in nonpublic schools to take the ACT college entrance exam and other assessment exams at no cost. The bill passed 39 Yes to 1 No. I voted Yes.
• SB 308 would require a label for raw milk being sold, stating it is raw milk – non pasteurized. It would also clarify the definition of milk to include all mammals. The bill passed 37 Yes to 3 No. I voted Yes.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.