Sen. Jeff Pittman's 2022 Legislative Update #3
Legislative Update #3 January 31, 2022 IN THIS ISSUE:
SPARK Committee Asks Kansans for Your American Rescue Plan Investment Ideas
I am honored to serve as your Senator. My office is located in 124E. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org . Also feel free to forward my email to someone who may be interested in subscribing. After a robust floor debate on redistricting last week, the Kansas Senate calmed down quite a bit this week. Committees continued to meet and hold hearings on legislation; the body convened to pass four bills and approve seven gubernatorial appointments; and members celebrated a few leaders in their communities in the Senate chamber.
LEAVENWORTH JROTC RAIDERS I had the honor of introducing the Leavenworth High School JROTC RAIDERS to the Lt Governor and the Senate last week. Winning at the state level is hard; winning at the national level is that much harder where words like “can’t” become meaningless. It’s about preparation, fortitude, discipline and heart — and these Leavenworth High School JROTC RAIDER kids brought it all when they won the National championships. We had a great time at the Capitol.
ELIMINATION OF FOOD SALES TAX HEARING I had the opportunity this week to speak on KCUR Morning show about why we should eliminate the sales tax on food in the state of Kansas. I also spoke to the need to legalize medical marijuana as all our neighboring states have done. You can hear the pod cast here: https://tinyurl.com/2p9xnsns The Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation will have hearings on Tuesday, February 1, on SB 339 and SB 342. Both bills address the state food sales tax. I am a sponsor of SB 342, which is our plan to Axe the Food Tax. I will be watching the discussion on both of these bills to identify the differences and opportunities for a bipartisan solution that can deliver relief to Kansas families once and for all. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb339/ http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb342/
MEGAPROJECT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BILL As a proponent for helping grow Kansas and in particular the Northeast region of Kansas, I was happy to continue to work through amendments to the Apex2022 bill which allows for incentivizing so called MegaProjects. I liked it in that it is the first such program in the US that looks at the mega-investor ($1Bil+) and the corresponding suppliers, effectively looking at incentives for a supply chain versus just the one business. There is at least one area that needs fixed in my opinion that was an oversight coming out of the Senate so we will see how that progresses this week. (http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2021_22/measures/documents/sb347_00_0000.pdf) There was some debate over SB 347 – the Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX) Act. Lieutenant Governor David Toland (who also serves as our state’s secretary of commerce) laid out in an op-ed this week the need for this legislation and the $4 billion benefit we stand to gain in passing it. https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/readers-opinion/guest-commentary/article257664183.html Kansas is one of two finalists for a mega company seeking to build a $4 billion, 3 million-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility that would employ 4,000 people an average of $50,000 annually, and create over 16,000 temporary jobs during construction. Kansas has lost out on 12 large projects over the past 3 years, and in conversations with those companies, it’s become clear that Kansas’ incentive toolkit is not enough for an investment of this size – or any megaproject for that matter. The bill prioritizes a company earning incentives after they invest and hire in the state, and provides tools for ensuring we capitalize not just on this specific company, but also the smaller companies that will come to Kansas to work with it.
HONORING TEACHER OF THE YEAR On Wednesday, the 2022 Kansas Teacher of the Year and the Kansas Regional Teachers of the Year were honored. I was proud to introduce to the Senate local Bonner Springs Elementary Regional winner, Amanda Ketterling. I was very impressed with her message of individualized teaching to address students learning needs, the importance of mental health and inclusion.
CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING: AD ASTRA MAP As mentioned last week, every ten years, states are constitutionally mandated to redraw their state legislative and congressional district lines using US Census data. The Legislature is responsible for proposing and approving these maps, which the governor can then sign, veto, or allow to become law without her signature. The Senate passed a controversial map that has clear gerrymandering issues drawing the four Congressional districts. This "Ad Astra 2" map has now passed out of the Kansas House on Tuesday by a vote of 79 to 37. It now heads to Governor Kelly’s desk for her signature or a veto. I expect a veto which will trigger a potential veto override push by the majority party. AdAstra2 Splits Wyandotte and Douglas County arbitrarily. Wyandotte is split across the middle using a highway with no community of interest data taken into account. It also arbitrarily puts Lawrence into the western kansas Congressional District, having all the signs of extreme gerrymandering. When we look however at the 4th Congressional District it is kept nearly entirely untouched with 99.6 % of its voters from the same CD4 as in 2012. There has been a 'halo' placed around Wichita in CD4, and we can easily see that most Senate Republican leadership is from Wichita. https://kansasreflector.com/2022/01/21/kansas-republican-senators-approve-map-to-split-kc-metro-splinter-democratic-vote/ "Sen. Jeff Pittman...said it felt like Northeast Kansas was having its identity stripped away by the Ad Astra map. He moved to send the measure back to the committee for further consideration for further public input."
LOCAL GOVERNMENT VISITS This week was local government day at the Capitol. I had the pleasure of talking to people from each of my districts, including the new mayor of Edwardsville, Mayor Carolyn Caiharr and the city manager. If you didn't know it, they have an unique advantage of a well developed industrial area, a balanced city budget that has allowed some citizen tax breaks, and nice positioning in terms of transportation throughways. They now want to work on developing an existing community 'brand' and image which I support. I have been meeting with others, especially from chambers of commerce, as we look at economic development across the region. I had a visit with US Senator Jerry Moran, who popped in at the last minute. We had a good discussion about the Leavenworth Lansing area and the influence federal installations have. We also talked more about the potential new veterans home we are working on for Northeast Kansas. I also met with the two register of deeds in my area, Nancy Burns of Wyco and Terrilois Mashburn.
SPARK COMMITTEE ASKS KANSANS FOR YOUR AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN INVESTMENT IDEAS The Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee is inviting Kansans to share their investment ideas for the allocation of federal coronavirus relief funds allocated to Kansas through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of March 2021. This provides a chance for Kansans to make their voice heard as we rebuild our economy and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The SPARK Executive Committee oversees four SPARK Advisory Panels: Health & Education, Economic Revitalization, Connectivity, and Efficiency & Modernization. The SPARK Executive Committee then presents recommendations to the State Finance Council to distribute the SFRF allocated to the State of Kansas. The online submission form for proposing a SPARK investment idea is available here. https://covid.ks.gov/spark-submission-form/ Currently, SPARK is requesting proposals for program-level investments. The four Advisory Panels may consider these submissions as part of the process to determine investment priorities and make recommendations to the SPARK Executive Committee. Advisory Panels will begin meeting in the coming weeks. Make sure to complete the whole submission form before February 16, 2022. Once submitted, investment ideas will be available for review by Advisory Panel members. By submitting an investment idea, interested parties acknowledge that SPARK staff may follow up with them for additional details. Interested citizens should familiarize themselves on allowable uses of SFRF. An overview of the Treasury Department’s Final Rule summarizing eligibility provisions for using SFRF can be found here. https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Final-Rule-Overview.pdf Please note that not all investment ideas will fit within the allowable uses of SFRF. If there are any questions on completing the submission form, please contact SPARKTaskForce@ks.gov.
Ringing in Kansas' birthday on Saturday, I helped lead the chamber in a rendition of Home on the Range.
SOME UPCOMING HEARINGS ● VACCINE REQUIREMENTS: A bill prohibiting COVID-19 vaccination requirements for Kansas National Guard members will receive a hearing in the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs on Monday, January 31 at 10:30. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb370/ ● RIGHTS OF BLIND PARENTS: My colleague Senator Mary Ware has worked hard to advocate for blind parents’ rights. SB 276, which has a hearing in the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare on Tuesday, February 1, would ensure that a parent’s blindness could not serve as a basis for denial or restriction of legal custody, residency, or parenting time when such legal custody, residency or parenting time is determined to be otherwise in the best interests of the child. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb276/ ● THE FIGHT FOR IVERMECTIN: People who oppose the use of vaccines continue to fight against vaccines and on allowing doctors to prescribe non-FDA approved substances for use in particular against COVID-19 sicknesses. SB 381 in the Public Health and Welfare committee on Thursday, February 3, would allow for the prescribing and dispensing of medications for off-label use to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb381/ ● WHEELED DRONE DELIVERY: The Senate Committee on Transportation will have hearings on SB 379, which provides for the use and regulation of autonomous motor vehicles. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb379/
HONORING ACADEMY AWARD WINNER KEVIN WILLMOTT Born and raised in Junction City, Professor Willmott received his BA in Drama from Marymount College in Salina. He returned home after his studies and worked as a peace and civil rights activist, fighting for the rights of the poor, creating two Catholic Worker shelters for the homeless, and forcing the integration of several long-standing segregated institutions. He received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and has written and directed a number of films, including C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, The Only Good Indian, and Jayhawkers. He shares an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay with Spike Lee for their work on the 2018 film BlacKkKlansman. He works as a professor at KU.
ENCOURAGE COVID VACCINES & BOOSTERS I continue to encourage you to get the Covid vaccine and associated boosters. It helps protect you and our vulnerable citizens.
IMPORTANT STATE PHONE NUMBERS As I stated before, it is a special honor to serve as your State Senator I both value and need 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 email@example.com. You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org My Legislative Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Pittman05 My Twitter Account: www.twitter.com/votepittman My Website: www.votepittman.com Below is a list of numbers I often receive requests for during the Legislative Session. I hope you will find this information helpful.
Child Abuse Hotline (800) 922-5330 Consumer Protection (800) 432-2310 Crime Tip Hotline (800) 572-7463 Crime Victim Referral (800) 828-9745 Department on Aging (800) 432-3535 Driver’s License Bureau (785) 296-3963 Fraud Hotline (800) 432-3919 Attorney General (888) 428-8436 KPERS (888) 275-5737 Governor’s Office (877) 579-6757 Highway Conditions (800) 585-7623 Housing Hotline (800) 752-4422 KanCare Consumer Assistance (866) 305-5147 Kansas Jobs (785) 235-5627 Kansas Lottery (785) 296-5700 Kansas State Library (800) 432-3924 Legislative Hotline (800) 432-3924 School Safety Hotline (877) 626-8203 Social Security (800) 772-1213 DCF (785) 296-1491 Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255 Tax Refund Status Info (800) 894-0318 Taxpayer Assistance (785) 368-8222 Unclaimed Property (800) 432-0386 Vital Statistics (Birth Certificates) (785) 296-1400 Victims of Human Trafficking (888) 373-7888