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  • Writer's pictureHolly Shehorn Pittman

Sen. Jeff Pittman's 2023 Legislative Update #4

THIS ISSUE:

  • LANSING KIDS AT THE CAPITOL

  • WEEK FOUR UPDATE

  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • FILM INCENTIVES FOR KANSAS

  • WEEK FOUR BILLS & HEARINGS

  • GOVERNOR GRANT TO EARLY CHILDHOOD

  • CSO TRIBUTE

  • TRANSPARENCY VOTE


I am honored to serve as your Senator. My office is located at 124E. Please feel free to contact me at jeff.pittman@senate.ks.gov or jeff@votepittman.com. Also, feel free to forward my email to someone who may be interested in subscribing.


GO CHIEFS!

Good luck to the Chiefs players this week as they travel to Arizona to play in the Super Bowl. We will be supporting them back here in Kansas!


KIDS AT THE CAPITOL:

Loved having the Lansing Elementary School 4th grade class at the Capitol. So many people today commented on how great it was to have kids coming into the Capitol again…it really adds life to the place! Thanks to all the teachers, administrators, and chaperones that made it happen.


WORK SUMMARY IN WEEK 4

The bulk of this week’s work yet again occurred in Senate and House committees, with only one vote on the Senate floor. On Thursday, Senators debated and approved Joint Rules on the floor that determine how bills are worked between the House and Senate for the next two years.

I continue to work in my new role on Senate Ways and Means (Budget) committee. This committee has a series of subcommittees that I am on and that work has taken up a good deal of time in my day-to-day. You can read more about some of the different bills below (not all-inclusive!) Many more topics are at hand, such as KPERS enhancements, tax propositions, special education, and more.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Welcomed local economic development folks at the Capitol this week, as we discussed bringing business to NE Kansas. This included the WYCO's Greg Kindle, Lisa Hack, and Diane Dodd from LCDC, and Jen Anders from the Leavenworth Lansing Chamber.


SB 91 - FILM INCENTIVES FOR KANSAS

Did you know the television series “Tulsa King” starring Sylvester Stallone was originally called “Kansas City King” but the production moved to Oklahoma when incentives weren’t available in Kansas? Just one of the many opportunities Kansas missed out on as the film industry shifts out of Hollywood.

This week I testified on behalf of Senate Bill 91 to put incentives in place for filmmakers to come to Kansas. We are one of 15 states that don’t offer any incentives. First City Film Festival founder Tisha Entwistle from Leavenworth was also a proponent and testified on the bill.

Kansas Department of Commerce estimates that a film could produce up to $260,000 in spending per day, and a television series could bring in up to $110,000 per day in Kansas.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SUCCESS FOR KANSAS!

On Thursday, Governor Laura Kelly announced Kansas-based Integra Technologies plans to invest $1.8 billion in a large-scale semiconductor facility in Wichita. This is the second-largest private investment in Kansas history. The facility will establish Wichita as integral to a national effort to reshore semiconductor manufacturing capacity and strengthen national security.

Employee-owned Integra is a fully integrated provider of semiconductor packaging, testing, qualification, and other services. The 1 million-square-foot plant and headquarters facility will create nearly 2,000 high-paying jobs averaging $51,000 in wages. A Wichita State University economic impact study estimates an additional 3,161 jobs will be generated by suppliers, construction labor, and other service positions.

Integra has been approved as the 2023 recipient of Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX) incentives, which I helped craft last year as the temporary ranking Democrat on the commerce committee. This paved the way for the company to apply to the U.S. Department of Commerce for CHIPS and Science Act funding. Integra’s expansion plans are designed to address recent risks identified in the U.S. semiconductor supply chain, support domestic semiconductor production, and strengthen advanced manufacturing in the State of Kansas.


WEEK 4 BILLS AND HEARINGS

As we went through Week 4, legislators were scrambling to beat the deadline for the final bill introduction.

Drag Shows Illegal: From the Sunflower Journal: "Republican state Sen. Mike Thompson last week introduced a bill that would label drag shows an obscenity and outlaw them for anyone under 18 years old. The bill expands the promotion of obscenity to a minor to include a drag performance. The bill defines a drag performance with one or more performers who exhibit a “gender identity that is different from the performer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup or other accessories” of the opposite sex. A drag performance also would include an entertainer who “sings, lip-synchs, dances or otherwise performs before an audience of at least two persons for entertainment” regardless of whether it involves a payment. A first offense would be a misdemeanor. A second and subsequent offense would be a felony."

Tax Breaks for Anti-abortion Pregnancy Centers: Both tax committees in the House and the Senate held hearings on a bill that would give a 70% tax credit for donations to pregnancy crisis centers, which discourage abortion. This credit is a major push on Kansans for Life’s legislative agenda

Addressing Teacher Shortage: Senator Pat Pettey of Wyandotte has introduced a bill that will have a hearing in Senate Education on Thursday. SB 66 would enact the Interstate Mobility Compact to recognize equivalent teacher licenses across member states.

http://kslegislature.com/li/b2023_24/measures/sb66/

Hospital Worker Protections: Health care workers accounted for 73% of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses due to violence in 2018. The House judiciary committee moved a bill forward that would expand protections to nurses and other workers when they are victims of violence. Some have said that the real solution is better security paid for by the hospitals themselves...


Flat Tax to Brownback-Ville: There is a flat tax bill that has been introduced. The bill cuts tax rates on corporations, banks, and savings and loans, but also would be applied to state income tax rates. The analysis shows that a bill calling for a 5% flat tax would cost the state $428 million in the first year and grow to $1.45 billion in the second year and $1.5 billion in the third year. The Kansas Chamber introduced the bill, backed by Senate President, would benefit the rich at the cost of the less wealthy while gunning down the state’s budget. It would have a real shot at bringing us back to the Brownback days.

Text Message Disclosures: A bill is proposing to force disclosure on text messages for constitutional amendments after two controversial communications went out during the election on the abortion amendment. The proposed change would address the type of mysterious text messages sent during the Value Them Both campaign, including one telling Kansans that the constitutional amendment would have given women a choice on abortion. The Washington Post reported that the messages were sent from phone numbers leased by Alliance Forge, a company based in Sparks, Nevada. The Huelskamp PAC spent about $49,000 on Alliance Forge.

Vacant Properties Causing Blight: A bill backed by bankers and realtors would make it so cities couldn't keep tabs on vacant properties. “The longer a property remains vacant, the greater the possibility it becomes beyond reusable and is a target for property crimes and criminal behavior,” said Spencer Duncan of the League of Municipalities. But the proponents say these registries impose unreasonably on property rights.

Retiree Tax Propositions: Senate Tax is holding hearings on Tuesday on two bills addressing taxes for retirees. The first, SB 52, would increase the income limit for the exemption of Social Security benefits from state income taxes. The second, SB 33, would exempt ALL Social Security benefits from state income taxes.

Redistricting Gerrymandering Outlawed: Senate Bill 69 would codify into statute the requirements for future redistricting processes. The bill would outlaw congressional, state senatorial, representative, and board of education districts drawn in order to favor or disfavor a political party or that dilute minority voting strength. It would also require that existing county boundaries be respected; the core of existing districts be preserved; that social, cultural , racial, ethnic, and economic communities of interest be accommodated; that incumbent contests be avoided; and that districts be easily understandable to voters.

The reality is that this bill won't move forward because the majority (whichever party it is) in control has little self-interest in advancing such anti-gerrymandering laws unless there is widespread public outcry.

Cutting Access to Voting: In House Elections, numerous voter suppression bills are moving through committees. Legislation affecting mail-in voting, drop boxes, and voter registration is all working its way through the committee. There was a large backlash against the bill introduced that would have required Kansas to hold runoff elections for statewide office like Georgia does. This bill was introduced with a quick hearing in response to Governor Kelly's recent re-election.

FORUMS OVER THE WEEKEND

Thank you to the Leavenworth-Lansing Chamber of Commerce for hosting an informal forum at the 10-and-2 coffee house in Lansing. Glad to have fellow legislator Rep. Beuhler as well as local elected officials to meet with the public about upcoming legislative issues!


EARLY CHILDHOOD GRANTS

Governor Laura Kelly announced today that the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund has been awarded a $4 million 2023 Preschool Development Birth through Five Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. The grant will support the state’s ongoing efforts to bolster the early childhood workforce, support our children's physical and emotional well-being, and ensure we design an early childhood system that meets the needs of all Kansas families. As Kansas students continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Laura Kelly announced this week the creation of the Kansas Education Enrichment Program (KEEP), which will provide qualifying parents and guardians with a one-time $1,000 award per child to pay for educational goods and services such as tutoring and school supplies. KEEP will open for application on February 22. Kansas businesses that provide educational materials or services are urged to join the KEEP Marketplace.

Students whose household income is less than 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines will be eligible for KEEP funds. More information on how families can apply for, access, and use their funds are forthcoming and will be available in February when the KEEP application launches.


LOCAL DISTRICTS BROKEN DOWN ACROSS GOVERNOR'S RACE

For those following election results and percentages, a recent report out broke apart the gubernatorial race by all House and Senate Districts.

Below are the Governor's Race Election Results in November 2022

Broken apart by local districts

Senate District 5

Jeff Pittman, D-Leavenworth

  • Laura Kelly: 52.8%

  • Derick Schmidt: 43.9%

  • Dennis Pyle: 2.1%

  • Cordell: 1.2%

HOUSE DISTRICTS IN MY SENATE DISTRICT

House District 33

Mike Thompson, R-Bonner Springs

  • Kelly: 54.2%

  • Schmidt: 42.6%

  • Pyle: 2%

  • Cordell: 1.7%

House District 36

Lynn Melton, D-Kansas City, Piper

  • Kelly: 64.4%

  • Schmidt: 33.2%

  • Pyle: 1.5%

  • Cordell: 0.9%

House District 38

Tim Johnson, R-Basehor, Leavenworth

  • Schmidt: 52.2%

  • Kelly: 44.7%

  • Pyle: 2%

  • Cordell: 1.9%

House District 40

David Buehler, R-Lansing

  • Kelly: 50.1%

  • Schmidt: 46.2%

  • Pyle: 2.5%

  • Cordell: 1.2%

House District 41

Pat Proctor, R-Leavenworth

  • Kelly: 50.1%

  • Schmidt: 45.2%

  • Pyle: 3.1%

  • Cordell: 1.6%




BLACK HISTORY MONTH:

Great to recognize the contributions of the Leavenworth Community Service Organization (CSO) at the 11th Annual Black History Banquet. CSO seeks to give a point of unity for other service-oriented organizations, often focused on the African American experience and needs of the local community. Fort Leavenworth’s CAC Commander LTG Beagle gave an AMAZING speech, we are lucky to have him in our community. It was a great night of recognizing black history and celebrating.


TRANSPARENCY VOTE FAILS IN SENATE

The bulk of this week’s work yet again occurred in Senate committees, with only one vote on the Senate floor. On Thursday, Senators debated and approved Joint Rules. Local Senator Tom Holland offered amendments to these rules but which failed. Both of them dealt with conference committee reports which occur towards the end of the session typically and are made up of the chair, vice-chair, and ranking minority member of the committee in which the bill was originally worked. Often, these conference committees are opportunities for legislative leadership to bundle bills or replace them outright with their legislative priorities. His amendment would have required that bills included in conference committee reports already have passed out of at least one of the chambers. Leadership has little motivation to change their methods for greater transparency, howe

CONTACT INFO

It is a special honor to serve as your State Senator and value your input on the various issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 124-E 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at (785) 296-7522 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. Additionally, you can e-mail me at jeff.pittman@house.ks.gov. You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org

Resources

My Legislative Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Pittman05

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