We are now in week 4 of the 2017 legislative session and a number of bills have been introduced dealing with a myriad of issues. Once again, several bills which are introduced each session have made it back from abolishing to death penalty to requiring new school buses to have seatbelts for all passengers. Some of the Governor’s budget proposals have been introduced, but it is anyone’s guess on how they will be received if they make it out of committee, they include: HB2142. establishing a Unified School District employee health care benefits program and HB 2143, requiring school districts to procure specific spending categories through the Department of Education.
This legislative session, members are looking for ways to create jobs, increase revenue and bring a cleaner way to develop budgets. A couple of those are: HB2133, which would move the joint revenue estimates from April 20th and extend it to May 1st and HB2168, which is the Ad Astra Rural Jobs Act, this would benefit rural areas working with the Department of Commerce.
Last week the Taxation committee continued a hearing on HB 2023, which would require non-wage business income to be included as income for Kansas income tax purposes (referred to as the LLC Loophole). After the hearing, Acting Revenue Secretary Sam Williams provided the Committee with a revised fiscal note, increasing the revenue estimates to $230.9 million in FY ’18 and $181 million in FY ’19. Later in the week, the Committee discussed Sales Tax Exemptions. We heard from Tom Browne, Jr. from the Department of Revenue. He covered the 3 categories of exemptions: (1) Legal; (2) Conceptual; and (3) Public Policy. The Committee selected a handful of exemptions to further study. Additionally, the Department was tasked with looking at taxing exemptions at a lower rate, possibly for a limited number of years and the impact that might have on the streamlined tax agreement and administration costs involved. I continue to fight for agriculture and that those who produce food, fuel feed and fiber to not get singled out to pay disproportionally more.
A lot of people from the 110th District were in Topeka this past week: Members of the Prairieland Electric Cooperative, Sunflower Electric Cooperative, Midwest Energy Cooperative and Western Cooperative Electric; Northwest Kansas Library System: Northcentral Kansas Library System; Dr. Pam Steinle, Norton Community Hospital; City officials from Plainville, Stockton, Hays, Ellis, Norton and Phillipsburg; and Bethany Solida, Phillipsburg -Kansas Dental Project. A special congratulation to Cole Keeten, student at Phillipsburg Elementary School as one of the winners of the 2016 Happy Birthday, Kansas! Student Photo Contest. I will say, the highlight of the week was to see Keith and Charlene Ross in attendance at the Kansas Rural Cooperatives reception. I apologize if I missed anyone, check on kenforkansas.com for more information on folks visiting from the 110th District.
I will be one of the guests this Friday night, February 3rd at 7:00 p.m. on KOOD – Public Television. This is a change in time as in previous years it started at 8:00 p.m. It is another opportunity to hear about what is going on in Topeka and we will be taking questions during the program. As they say, check your local listings for the channel number.
When you come to Topeka during the session, my office is in Room: 352-S. The phone number is: (785) 296- 7463 and email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and my personal cell number is (785) 302-8416. You can also follow along with what is going on through social media: kenforkansas on Facebook, @kenrahjes on twitter or my website: kenforkansas.com.
It is my honor to by your representative.