Sen. Jeff Pittman's 2022 Legislative Update #6
February 21, 2022
IN THIS ISSUE:
It was a snowy week at the Capitol. While city, county and state offices shut down, the Legislature worked through the week.
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.Next week is turnaround – the midway marker for session and the deadline for most bills to clear their house of origin. So if they originated in the Senate, they need to make it out of the Senate floor to then be considered by House. Bills that do not make it out of their first chamber will remain in committee and are largely considered “dead” for the session. However, the majority leadership can use special procedures that are being used more often in the past decade to push bills they favor into "blessed" status which means they move along outside of this normal process.
LANSING MOVERS & SHAKERS INTERVIEW Also was able to participate in a Lansing podcast, where Ken Miller interviews local movers and shakers on issues affecting Lansing that are being discussed at the State level. Was also able to tour the renovations being done to the local library to update that space and provide better service to patrons.
Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRkAGEl8KVo&t
ON THE FLOOR While committees work to look at bills and have hearings, work on the floor is where bills can actually be approved for consideration by the House. This week, the Senate met on Tuesday to vote on four bills, and lawmakers trekked through the snow to meet on Thursday to debate four more. The bulk of the bills were for the most part uncontroversial. Of note, SB 12 was introduced by my colleague and the assistant minority leader, Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau. It requires the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) to collaborate with community partners and stakeholders to develop a plan for implementation for a set of performance-based contracts to provide an array of evidence-based prevention and early intervention services for an out-of-home placement, families that have a child in out-of-home care, and children who are awaiting adoption. The bill is a culmination of years of work by Senator Faust-Goudeau to advocate for our state’s most vulnerable foster children. I was also glad to support continuing bills coming out of my committee on Financial Institutions that are reversing some of the illegal and wrong fee sweeps put in place to deal with the last decade of fiscal mismanagement on SB 394 that was ruled unconstitutional and SB 335 where we were sweeping fees into the general fund just to pay for things like the Brownback failed tax experiment. On a very practical level, I was glad to see us approve SB 200 with little changes. SB 200, if it becomes law, will authorize pharmacists to initiate treatment for the flu, strep throat, and UTIs without requiring a doctors initial recommendation.
I voted YES on SB 377, SB 343, SB 331, SB 200, SB 394, SB 335, SB 12, and S Sub HB 2262. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb377/ http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb343/ http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb331/ http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb200/ http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb394/ http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb335/ http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb12/
HOSTED LEAVENWORTH MAYOR I find it very important to have lines of communication with all the local officials and administrators that are contained within my Senate District. Glad to host Leavenworth Mayor, Camalla Leonhard, in the Capitol to review legislative action that may impact local municipalities and to follow up with the legislative update I gave to the whole commission a few weeks ago. Here is a link to that session--my section starts at 11:57 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHvsvzQsnCU
CORRECTION OFFICERS INTO KPF RETIREMENT With money actually allocated in the Governor's recommended budget for transitioning both Corrections personnel and Parks and Wildlife officers from KPERS into the better retirement plan of KPF, we need a clean bill that holds officers harmless during the transition. This week, I introduced SB 524 which reads: "concerning retirement and pensions; relating to the Kansas police and firemen's retirement system; affiliating for membership for certain security officers of the department of corrections and certain law enforcement officers and employees of the Kansas department of wildlife and parks; establishing employee and employer contributions" into the exempt committee of Senate Ways & Means. I will continue to push for better compensation, conditions and benefits for our corrections staff locally. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anStWovFeBk at 7:20 minute mark. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb524/
COMMITTEE UPDATE Monday is the last day for committees to meet ahead of the turnaround deadline. Some of the bills with hearings or discussion include: ● APRN SCOPE OF PRACTICE: SB 174 and SB 454 would expand the scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses and allow them to prescribe controlled substances without a supervising physician. These bills had hearings last year and will be discussed in the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare on Monday. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb174/ http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb454/ ● STANDARD DEDUCTION: The Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation will consider SB 519, which raises the Kansas standard deduction, on Monday. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb519/ In general, the Senate Tax committee has struggled to produce bills that align with the House and Administration. The Food Sales tax bill that came out did not come out clean and the financial impact on the budget exploded. Most considerations Senate side do not appear to be looking at the entire framework of budgeting and taxation, possibly because this is an election year. ● FIND ACT: The “Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination Act” aka SB 482 would prohibit certain government contracts with companies that discriminate against firearm entities and firearm trade associations. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb482/ ● ELECTIONS BILLS: In a continuing trend of questionable election bills being proposed like those removing ballot boxes and others unnecessarily constraining mail-in ballots (admittedly some introduced have also had some good aspects), Senate Fed & State will hear two elections bills on Monday. SB 438 requires audits of any federal, statewide, or state legislative race that is within 1% of the total votes cast. SB 439 requires a county election officer to send a confirmation of address when there is no election-related activity for any four calendar year period--a very short time period when considering many people only vote every 4-8 years and would make the total pool of voters shrink. http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb438/ http://kslegislature.com/li/b2021_22/measures/sb439/
DELTAS ON THE FLOOR It was again an honor to co-sponsor, along with Sen Oletha Faust-Goudeau from Wichita and Sen David Haley from Wyandotte, a Senate Resolution (SR 1729) recognizing the Delta Sigma Sorority on the floor of the Senate this week. The Deltas date back to 1913 where they were formed at Howard University. Where normally the galleries would be filled with women in red and white, the snowstorm impacted session we had to speak to the sorority sisters via the Senate camera, except for just a few. Even so, I was glad to stand in solidarity with this group of strong women who raise money for scholarships for young women, and give back to our local community through service and mentoring of these young women. Audio/Visual link to the resolution is here--my words are at 2:42:27 pm: https://bit.ly/3h20JPi
LONG DAYS ON THE SENATE FLOOR AHEAD THIS WEEK After Monday, Senators will be on the floor all day for the rest of the week to debate bills that have made it out of committee and that legislative leadership chooses to address. Here are some bills on the calendar that may be of interest to you: ● FIREWORKS: This bill would allow permanent retail sale of fireworks all year and extend the time period for seasonal stand sale of fireworks to June 15 - July 6 across the state. ● SPECIALTY COURTS: S Sub for HB 2361 would require the Kansas Supreme Court to create specialty court programs. Specialty courts use therapeutic or problem-solving procedures to address underlying factors – such as mental illness or drug, alcohol, or other addictions – that may contribute to a person’s involvement in the judicial system. This bill passed the House in March 2021 by a vote of 122-1. ● THREADING: SB 348 would exempt the practice of threading – a method of temporary hair removal from the body by use of a strand of thread to pull hair from follicles – from the practice of cosmetology, thereby exempting practitioners from training and licensing requirements. ● EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS: S Sub for HB 2057 would enact the Kansas Assistance Animals in Housing Act. The bill would allow a housing provider, upon receiving a request for exemption from a pet policy for the purpose of housing an assistance animal, to require the requestor provide reliable documentation of the disability or disability-related need for the animal. This bill passed the House in March 2021 by a vote of 124-0. ● BLIND PARENT RIGHTS: Senator Mary Ware’s bill strengthening blind parents’ rights has made it out of committee. The bill 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.
AWARD GRANTS On Wednesday, Governor Laura Kelly announced more than $1.8 million in grant awards to enhance the responsiveness of victim advocates to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, and stalking. These grants are provided through the Federal Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors Violence Against Women Act Formula Grant Program (S.T.O.P. VAWA). The program supports the efforts of communities to strengthen effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to combat violent crimes against women, provide victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women, and promote a coordinated community response to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault/rape, and stalking. Funds from the Federal Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) assist programs in providing victims of sexual assault with crisis intervention and accompaniment and advocacy assistance through the medical and criminal justice processes. The funds also provide educational information to survivors of sexual assault. Funds are made available through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. While Leavenworth County in my district did not receive any of these grants, Wyandotte which is also in my senate district did, in the amounts shown below: 2022 S.T.O.P. VAWA Grant Awards Wyandotte Friends of Yates $46,650 Wyandotte Unified Government Legal Department $84,616 Wyandotte Unified Government District Attorney’s Office $147,409 2022 SASP Grant Awards Wyandotte Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault $130,457