Senate approves measure to limit emergency powers
Thank you Mr. Attorney General for taking action against the federal administration for attempting to stop state tax cuts. The administration is trying to block any tax relief even though it was started before federal COVID-19 funds were made available. Myself and other Kansas legislators will continue to work on tax relief.
The House and Senate conference committee met to work out agreements on Senate Bill (SB) 40, the emergency powers bill – turning over legislative authority to the Governor and others during the declaration of an emergency. I voted for the Senate version of the bill. It wasn’t perfect but it made some good changes with legislative oversight during an emergency. However, the final version, gave up too many of those checks and balances. That is why I did not support the final version of SB 40. Disappointingly, a majority of Senators voted to support SB 40. It passed 28 to 8.
Fairness in Women’s Sports
The Senate debated SB 208, restricting biological males from playing women’s sports. The bill passed 24 to 10. I voted Yes. Who would have ever dreamed 10 years ago we would be debating such topics in the Kansas legislature?
Help for Military Members and Spouses
House Bill (HB) 2066 would help military members or their spouse by allowing their out-of-state licenses (teachers, realtors, nurse, to name a few) be recognized in Kansas. We passed legislation a few years ago on the same topic. This bill will expand the statute and encourage these individuals to make Kansas their home.
SB 267, as with any budget, had many reasons to vote no. However, there were some key items that we have never seen in a budget bill before that I wanted to support. Three amendments I offered passed on the senate floor. The first would require department and agencies to submit a performance-based budget so the legislature can find duplicate programs and inefficiencies. It was a law passed in 2016 that has not been followed. The amendment would cut the departments budget by 2% next year if they do not submit a performance based budget.
The second was to require the governor to lift the Osawatomie State Hospital (OSH) moratorium. The moratorium was put on a few years ago restricting the number of beds available for mental health patients. Law enforcement and others know how important it is to increase the number of beds.
The third amendment, was to reimburse scrap metal dealers who paid a $1,000 and were fingerprinted for a program that didn’t exist. If the House doesn’t take out the language, these business owners will be reimbursed as they should be. Another amendment, offered by a member of the ranking party, would require any state employee or contractor to be verified as a U.S. citizen. The citizenship amendment passed. I voted Yes for it and the budget. The budget passed 24 to 13.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.