Rahjes Report 02-05-18

Hello from Topeka!   We had a good turn out on Saturday in Hays at the Legislative update.   We will be having more at the end of the month. Monday was the final day for bill introductions from most committees, we will see how many of them get hearings and move forward.   The half way point of the session is February 22


, so there will be lots of discussions leading up to that time.   Last Wednesday, the focus was on the Inauguration of Jeff Colyer, M.D. as the 47


Governor of Kansas, I look forward to working with him in the coming weeks and look forward to sharing with him the concerns of the 110


District. Last Tuesday, the House K-12 Budget and Senate Education Committees meant jointly to hear from Dr. Blake Flanders, CEO, Kansas Board of Regents, Dr. Randy Watson, Commissioner of Education.   Dr. Flanders noted that concurrent enrollment is when high school students are enrolled in post-secondary for college credits.   This different from a partnership where high school teachers teach the courses.   He mentioned the work of the First Generation Task Force, which made a report in June 2017, regarding the barriers and supports that exist for first generation college students.   The First Generation Task Force recommended the expansion of concurrent enrollment programs to provide open access and reduce costs for first generation students.   The Board of Regents and Department of Education formed a Concurrent Enrollment Partnership, which met three times in fall 2017 and continues to meet in 2018.   Goals of the Task Force include: expand early college access for all qualified high school students, particularly traditionally underrepresented students; increase the number of students graduating from high school and attending college; and maximize the recognition of rigorous postsecondary coursework for purposes of meeting high school graduation requirements.   The Task force reviewed the opportunities that high school have to earn college credit prior to high school graduation.   Those are: dual enrollment programs; Advanced Placement   (AP) exams; College Level Examination Program (CLEP); International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme; and Modern States Education Alliance.   At its January 8th meeting, the Task Force voted to form working groups to make recommendations on: identification of 5 courses offered for statewide delivery; establishment of standardized eligibility requirements for students; agreement on a common rate for tuition/fees; and identification of alternative delivery methods.   The working groups recommendations have been made and are currently under review. Also, last week, the House Taxation Committee met jointly with the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation.   The Committees heard from Charles McGuigan, the Chief Deputy Attorney General from South Dakota.   The Committees also heard from Bryan Clark, Assistant Solicitor General, from the Attorney General’s Office and Mark Beshears, Department of Revenue.   The briefing centered on the South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., which is a pending U.S. Supreme Court case that will address whether a state may collect sales taxes from online retailers with no physical presence in the state.   Clark’s testimony covered the preceding cases, National Bellas Hess v. Department of Revenue of Illinois and Quill Corp. v. North Dakota.   On October 2, 2017, South Dakota asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision of the South Dakota Supreme Court.   Kansas joined 34 states filing an amicus curiae brief supporting South Dakota’s request for U.S. Supreme Court review.   On January 12, the U.S. Supreme Court granted South Dakota’s request to take the case.   The Department of Revenue presented its compiled data and information on taxation of internet retailers. I serve on the Taxation and Transportation along with Vice-Chairman of the Water and Environment committee. If you come to Topeka during the session, my office is in Room: 352-S. My phone number is (785) 296- 7463 and email is: ken.rahjes@house.ks.gov and my cell number is (785) 302-8416.     It is my honor to be your representative.