The legislative leadership proved last week that the legislative process can move with alacrity when necessary. During the last month and a half of the session neither the House nor Senate had produced a school finance plan to address the demands of a Supreme Court ruling that has a June 30th deadline. So faced with this mandate to bring more “equity” to the distribution of state aid to the school districts of the state the leadership in both houses cobbled together funding plans. In the end the Senate plan was stuffed into a House bill (Senate Sub for HB 2655) and quickly passed by wide margins in both houses just before adjournment last Thursday.
Governor Brownback is expected to sign the bill which assures no school district will receive less aid in the coming fiscal year than they did this year. However, there is very little new money committed to the plan and the Supreme Court, after reviewing the plan over the next month, may rule that equity in the distribution of state aid has still not been reached. Also pending before the Court is the issue of “adequacy” of state spending on K-12 education, but it is not likely the Court will issue an opinion on that challenging issue before legislative adjournment this year.
Because state aid to school districts accounts for more than half of state general fund (SGF) expenditures the reports on state revenues collected during the last four months of this fiscal year (FY 2016) will be closely watched. With February state revenue collections running over $50 million below estimate there is concern that numbers for March and future months may also be in the negative column. To add to these concerns new revenue estimates for FY 2017 which starts July 1st will be available on Wednesday, April 20th. If those estimates have been revised downward it would make even more budget cuts necessary before the legislature adjourns.
In addition to possible revenue and budget problems, legislators will be faced with action on dozens of House/Senate conference committee reports that were left hanging when the legislature adjourned last Thursday. The so-called “veto” session which begins Wednesday, April 27th, is scheduled to last until mid-May, but given the number of unresolved issues a mid-May adjournment may be difficult to attain.
Listed below are selected bills that were acted on last week. Actions by the House and Senate are noted in italics. Actions by the Governor are shown in bold italics.
With the legislature adjourned until late April the next issue of the Legislative Insights Newsletter will be Friday, April 29th.
Senate Sub for HB 2059 – Exempts users of the “chemigation” process from obtaining a chemigation user’s permit and lowers their application fee if they meet three specific criteria. Also establishes an application fee for permits to appropriate surface water in certain circumstances starting 12/1/2016. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 22-18. Awaiting further action by the House)
HB 2480 – Makes numerous amendments to the livestock brand laws involving brand practices, brand fraud, out-of-state brands feedlot brands, brand renewals and brand inspections. Gives the Animal Health Commissioner additional authority to adopt and enforce rules relating to branding. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 35-3. Awaiting further action by the House)
HB 2490 – Amends the Plant Pest and Agriculture Commodity Certification Act to include “toxicant” in the definition of “plant pests”. A “toxicant” is defined as any chemical or biological substance which present in unsafe levels “can render a plant or a plant product unsafe for human or animal consumption.” (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 37-1. Awaiting further action by the House)
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SB 326 – Increases the number of barrels of domestic beer a licensed micro-brewery can produce annually to 60,000 barrels from 30,000 barrels. Specifies that when a licensee has a 10% or greater ownership interest in one or more entities that also holds a micro-brewery license a 60,000 barrel limit exists. Allows a micro-brewery licensee to sell and transfer domestic beer to a club or drinking establishment owned by the licensee. (Passed by the House on a vote of 115-10. Awaiting further action by the Senate)
SB 424 – Empowers the Attorney General to assist victims of identity theft and identity fraud as well as related crimes. Defines a “holder of personal information” and the responsibilities of such a person. Gives the Attorney General exclusive rights to bring an action under the provisions of the bill. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Awaiting action by the House)
HB 2576 – Prohibits any city, county or local governmental unit from enacting or administering any ordinance, resolution or law that requires an employer to “alter or adjust any employee scheduling unless the alteration or adjustment is required by state or federal law.” (Passed by the House on a vote of 90-33. Referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce)
HB 2595 – Prohibits the regulation of “consumer incentive items” and nutrition labeling for food and non-alcoholic beverages that are menu items in restaurants or in retail food establishments or vending machines by any local unit of government. Allows political subdivisions to provide nutritional information, but emphasizes that regulations are a state or federal obligation. (Passed by the House on a vote of 89-34. Referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce)
HB 2713 – Adds several new sections to the Kansas General Corporation Code and also amends and recodifies the Kansas Business Combinations with Interested Stockholders Act. (Passed by the House on a vote of 123-0. Referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary)
ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
SB 318 – Repeals the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority Act. Moves all funds relating to the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority (KETA) to the KCC Public Service Regulation Fund. Also blocks any further consideration of possible state compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan until the U. S. Supreme Court stay is lifted. (Passed by the House on a vote of 98-26. Awaiting further action by the Senate)
Senate Sub for HB 2156 – Alters the procedure for revision of a groundwater management program and specifies when actions can be taken against orders or decisions by the Chief Engineer. Requires the Division of Water Resources to post certain information on its official website. Specifies how the Chief Engineer is to handle investigations about vested water rights, appropriation rights, and impairments. Defines what constitutes “impairment”. Also establishes fees for dam inspections. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 37-3. Awaiting further action by the House)
SB 330 – Establishes the Kansas Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to be administered by the Division of Conservation in the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Requires the Division to work with the federal government to implement “beneficial water quality and water quantity projects” for “targeted watersheds”. Sets program guidelines and requires annual legislative reports. (Passed by the House on a vote of 97-26. Awaiting action by the Governor)
SB 369 – Includes numerous technical and definitional amendments to the Kansas Mortgage Business Act. Grants the State Bank Commissioner new powers to receive and act on consumer complaints and specifies compliance requirements for mortgage companies with no bona fide office. Also specifies those entities that are exempt from licensing requirements. (Signed by the Governor. Becomes effective on 7/1/2-016)
SB 390 – Makes numerous technical amendments to the state banking code relating to calculation of capital, retention of annual oaths, trust company assets, change of control and merger transaction applications and the naming of trust companies and trust service offices. Also clarifies charter application and trust company merger procedures. Also authorizes state-chartered banks, savings banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions to sponsor a “savings promotion” that would allow participants to place money in a savings account and become eligible for winning a designated prize. Requires the State Bank Commissioner and the Credit Union Administrator to promulgate by 7/1/2017 rules and regulations for such promotions. (Passed by the House on a vote of 123-0. Awaiting further action by the Senate)
HB 2134 – Authorizes security freezes on consumer credit reports for a “protected consumer” which is defined as a person under the age of 16 or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed. The act would take effect 1/1/2017. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0 and by the House on a vote of 120-0. Awaiting action by the Governor)
Sub SB 103 – Defines duties of pharmacy benefit manages including not placing a drug on an MAC list unless there are equivalent generic substitutes; providing sources used to determine the MAC price; providing a process for providers to access the MAC price for that provider; update MAC list every seven business days; ensure dispensing fees are not included in the MAC price calculations and establish appeals processes. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0 and by the House on a vote of 120-0. Signed by the Governor and becomes effective on 7/1/2016)
SB 225 – Creates the Interstate Compact for Recognition of Emergency Personnel Licensure providing a system enabling emergency personnel licensed in one compact member state to perform services in another compact member state. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 39-0 and by the House on a vote of 123-1. Awaiting action by the Governor)
SB 358 – Amends the Nurse Education Service Scholarship statute to include definitions of school of nursing and open enrollment. Amends the definition of accredited independent institution. (Passed by the House on a vote of 123-0 and signed by the Governor. Becomes effective on 7/1/2016)
Senate Sub for HB 2018 – Adds additional drugs and drug classes to the schedule of controlled substances and makes technical changes to the controlled substances statute. Also includes provisions related to treatment for binge eating disorders. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 38-2. Placed in a House/Senate conference committee)
HB 2387 – Makes technical and clarifying changes to the emergency medical services statutes including expanding and renaming providers of training to sponsoring organizations; removing MICT from the definitions; removing and adding certain EMT and EMR procedures; and amending the training officer certificate process. Modifies board composition and the definition of sponsoring organization. Further modifies EMT activities, utilizes the word certified attendant as a substitution for specific certification categories and utilizes the term executive director. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 39-0 and by the House on a vote of 120-0. Awaiting action by the Governor)
HB 2456 – Creates the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact which creates a process for physicians to become contemporaneously licensed in multiple compact states, enhancing the portability of medical licenses. A physician meeting eligibility requirements may receive an expedited compact license. The compact licensure process is managed by the physician’s chosen principal licensure state; the physician then registers and pays the appropriate fee for licensure in other compact states. Bill also contains provisions for joint investigative and disciplinary processes. Creates an Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission to oversee administration of the compact, enact rules, and enforce compact compliance. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Placed in a House/Senate conference committee)
HB 2558 – Permits hospital districts to hold elections in even numbered years for the purpose of staggering terms of office. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 39-0. Awaiting further action by the House)
HB 2571 – Amends the community mental health licensure laws to permit licensure based upon accreditation by the commission on accreditation of rehabilitation facilities, by the joint commission, or other equivalent entity. Emphasizes that KDADS inspects and determines compliance with state standards which are not covered by the accrediting entity’s standards and requires notification of loss of accreditation status. Provides that programs and treatment may also be offered by entities accredited by national accrediting bodies approved by KDADS and to provide for inspections and notification of loss of accreditation. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 30-9. Awaiting further action by the House)
HB 2578 – Expands the definition of health care provider in the School Sports head injury prevention act to include all licensees of the healing arts as defined by the healing arts act. (Passed by the House on a vote of 7-53. Awaiting further action by the Senate)
HB 2615 – Permits contracted charitable health care providers to receive up to 6 hours of CME credit for providing services to eligible low income patients and requires the Board of Healing Arts provide a utilization report of the use of this type of CME to the Committee on Health and Human Services as well as a report on the types of charitable health care providers signing charitable health care provider agreements. Provides that dentists with charitable health care provider agreements could substitute service hours for CE. Provides for agreements with the Secretary of KDHE for services that are provided gratuitously and states the provider would be considered a state employee for professional liability claims for gratuitous services provided to a medically indigent person. Such claims would not be considered in rate setting or cancellation determinations by professional liability insurers. Provides the Secretary be empowered to enact rules and regulations pertinent to the agreements and the determination of who is medically indigent. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 38-0. Awaiting further action by the House)
SB 438 – Establishes criteria as to when a property and casualty insurance policy is considered to be renewed. Also defines what constitutes “group affiliated insurers” (Passed by the House on a vote of 125-0. Awaiting action by the Governor)
REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION
SB 338 – Enhances the authority of the governing body of any Kansas city and non-profit organization to petition the district court for temporary possession of abandoned property if such property is having a “blighting influence” on surrounding property. Specifies what the petition must include and when organizations must seek quiet title to such property. (Passed by the House on a vote of 79-44. Awaiting action by the Governor)
SB 366 – Prohibits any local unit of government from enacting or maintaining any ordinance or resolution that would have the effect of controlling the purchase price agreed upon between parties to the transaction for the lease or purchase of privately-owned residential or commercial property. (Passed by the House on a vote of 103-22. Placed in a House/Senate conference committee)
SB 439 – Specifies actions by a Supreme Court justice or a constitutional office of the executive branch that could be considered grounds for impeachment. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 21-19. Referred to the House Committee on Judiciary)
Senate Sub for HB 2509 – Empowers the Secretary of Commerce to assess and collect fees for applications to and administration of specified economic development programs. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Awaiting further action by the House)
House Sub for SB 280 – A multi-faceted bill involving real property. Amends current statutes relating to the powers and duties of the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA), the Director of Property Valuation in the Department of Revenue, county treasurers and county appraisers. Also removes the taxing and bonding authority of certain non-elected boards. (Passed by the House on a vote of 123-0. Awaiting further action by the Senate)
House Sub for SB 63 – Delays the effective date on a new tax for the privilege of selling or dealing in electronic cigarettes from 7/1/2016 to 1/1/2017. Also moves the cap on the amount of community improvement district sales tax that can be retained by Department of Revenue from $60,000 to $200,000. (Passed by the House on a vote of 108-17. Awaiting further action by the Senate)
House Sub for SB 149 – Extends the sunset deadline for the angel investor tax credit program to tax year 2022. Also provides individual taxpayers a new income tax check-off program on their state income tax returns allowing donations to the school districts of their choice. (Passed by the House on a vote of 122-3. Awaiting further action by the Senate)
Senate Sub for HB 2088 – Moves the effective date from 1/1/2018 to 1/1/2017 for a tax lid on city and county expenditures. Requires an election if budgeted expenditures by a city or county exceed the rate of inflation. Specifies exempt properties when determining whether a mandatory election is necessary. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 24-16. Awaiting further action by the House)
HB 2617 – Expands the procedures for chemical testing and establishes criteria for determining whether an employee is eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. Allows the Director of Workers Compensation to contract with or appoint, with the approval of the Secretary, a medical administrator. If the administrator is appointed he or she would be considered an unclassified employee. Expands the definition of filing deadlines when utilizing the electronic filing system. Also expands the information that must be included in pleadings, motions and other required documents. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Awaiting further action by the House)