It was the busiest week of the session to date with non-exempt bills being considered before their final deadline, bills being “bundled” (two or more bills being rolled into one), the Senate passing the major budget bill, and Governor Brownback signing the new school finance bill.

The signing ceremony for the school finance bill (House Sub for SB 7) was rather lowkey despite the fact the bill commits over half of the state’s general fund revenues to the support of K-12 education in the next two fiscal years. That equates to over $4 billion for each year. The block grant program created in the bill sunsets at the end of FY 2017 (6/30/17), by which time the Legislature hopes to have a comprehensive school finance formula ready. However, within 48 hours, the block grant program has encountered a court challenge which adds yet another element to an already intense battle being waged between the courts and the Legislature on school finance.

Other high profile bills passed this week were an abortion bill (SB 95) and SB 45, which allows concealed gun carry without a training permit. Both bills cleared the House by wide margins and are headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Another controversial bill which passed with only four votes to spare was HB 2095 which allows the state to issue bonds to shore up the KPERS retirement system

Legislators will return Monday for one more week of bill considerations. They will then adjourn on Friday, April 3, and return on Wednesday, April 29, to wrap up the session. By that time, they will have the updated tax revenue estimates for FY 2016 and FY 2017 and will be faced with the hard decisions on how to generate enough additional revenue to close the gaping holes in those two fiscal year budgets.

Listed below are selected bills which were introduced or acted on during the week. Floor actions in the House or Senate are indicated in italics. Additional information on these bills can be accessed by clicking on the bill number.


SB 189 – Allows instructors to maintain an institutional license to practice veterinary medicine if it relates to the instructor’s regular functions within the School of Veterinary Medicine. Also contains the provisions of HB 2364, which allows for the continuation of the veterinary training program for rural Kansas by removing the 2016 sunset date for the program. (Passed by the House on a vote of 112-13. Placed in a House/Senate conference committee)


Sub for SB 38 – Amends the Kansas Consumer Protection Act by specifying what would and would not be considered a bad faith assertion of patent infringement under the Act. Also prohibits county or district attorneys from filing a civil action under the Act. (Passed by the House on a vote of 115-0. Awaiting further action by the Senate)

House Sub SB 117 – Creates the Kansas Transportation Network Company Services Act which governs the rights of parties, responsibilities of prearranged rides companies, and insurance coverage for such companies. Authorizes the KCC to adopt regulations. Requires individuals with vehicles subject to the bill’s lien provisions to provide proof of insurance coverage. (Passed by the House on a vote of 105-19. Awaiting further action by the Senate) 

SB 154 – Makes several adjustments to the unemployment insurance rates for employers. Replaces the current “arrayed” system with a “fixed” interval table which emphasizes individual merit ratings for each employer. Creates a standard contribution rate schedule with fixed reserve ratio limits based on an employer’s experience and an associated standard contribution rate. Also sets new contribution rates for new employers. Sets the maximum weekly benefit rate to be either $474 or 55% of the annual average of weekly wages paid, whichever is greater. Also incorporates the provisions of HB 2357, which makes technical adjustments in how the Unemployment Insurance system is administered. (Passed by the House on a vote of 99-26. Awaiting further action by the Senate)

SB 298 – Allows a county by county vote on whether to allow the sale of alcoholic liquor in grocery stores and beer in convenience stores. The election could be called by the County Commissioners or by a petition signed by at least 10% of the eligible voters in the county. (Referred to the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs)

Senate Sub for HB 2155 – Creates the Kansas Charitable Gaming Act and also amends the Kansas Lottery Act. The Charitable Gaming Act makes numerous changes in the Bingo Act and creates regulations for charitable raffles. Empowers the Department of Revenue to handle licensure for raffles and enforce regulations and impose penalties relating to raffles. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 38-0. Awaiting further action by the House)

HB 2254 – Amends current roofing contractor registration requirements by specifying that an “exempt general contractor” cannot be considered a roofing contractor. Further defines what constitutes an exempt general contractor. Establishes the circumstances under which the Attorney General could issue a letter of exemption for a general contractor. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Awaiting action by the Governor)


SB 52 – Adds “augmentation” to the actions the Chief Engineer can take to secure and restore water rights to the appropriate person. Also includes the contents of SB 227 which amends the Kansas Water Appropriation Act to require the Chief Engineer of the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) to take into account the past water conservation efforts of a water right holder when implementing further restrictions on a water right. Also includes the contents of SB 36 which allows the holder of a Multi-Year Flex Account (MYFA) water permit to make a small change in the permit’s “place of use” and to roll over a certain amount of water when moving to a new MYFA. (Passed by the House on a vote of 124-0. Awaiting further action by the Senate)

House Sub for SB 36 – Now contains the provisions of HB 2304, which creates the Local Conservation Lending Program which allows the Secretary of Health and Environment (KDHE) to enter into “linked deposit agreements” with eligible financial institutions to fund various types of conservation projects that have been approved by the Secretary. Specifies what entities would be eligible borrowers. (Passed by the House on a vote of 40-0. Placed in a House/Senate conference committee)

HB 2061 – Grants the Division of Conservation in the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) authority to “restore, establish, enhance and protect natural resources” for the purpose of “compensatory mitigation” as required by federal law. Creates a state conservation fund to be administered by the KDA. Specifies that all costs associated with compensatory mitigation would be paid by the watershed district for which the KDA holds the conservation easement. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 28-12. Awaiting further action by the House)

Senate Sub for HB 2177 – Allows any water right owner or group of such owners to enter into a consent agreement and order with the Chief Engineer in the Department of Agriculture to establish a water conservation area. Requires the owner or owner group to submit a management plan to the Chief Engineer. The plan must contain requirements outlined in the bill. Grants the Chief Engineer authority to make adjustments to the plan if it conflicts with rules of regulations for groundwater management districts. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 39-0. Awaiting further action by the House)


SB 124 – Authorizes the Secretary of Health and Environment (KDHE) to adopt rules and regulations relating to the “land spreading” of wastes created by the drilling of oil and gas wells. Requires the land owner to give notice of the land spreading if and when the real estate involved is offered for sale. Also contains the provisions of SB 125, which lifts the current prohibition on the disposal of low-level radioactive waste in underground burials. Grants the Secretary of KDHE authority to develop regulations on allowable amounts of low-level radioactive waste. Also contains the provisions of HB 2303 granting the Secretary of KDHE authority to establish variances to water quality standards. (Passed by the House on a vote of 100-25. Awaiting further action by the Senate)

HB 2192 – Creates the Environmental Stewardship Fund and specifies how the Secretary of the Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) can expend such funds. Also amends the Kansas Storage Tank Act to grant the Secretary authority to reimburse eligible owners of underground storage tanks if moneys are available in the Underground Storage Tank Redevelopment Fund. No more than $3 million could be expended from the fund in any one fiscal year. Waives the “first costs of corrective action,” in certain circumstances, to owners of storage tanks where petroleum contamination is discovered. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Awaiting action by the Governor)

HB 2193 – Creates the Risk Management Program Act relating to the contamination of the soils and waters of the state. Empowers the Secretary of the Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to determine when a site is eligible for creation of a voluntary KDHE risk management plan. Sets a minimum fee of $2,500 for participation in such a plan. Empowers the Secretary to determine and take corrective action when a plan is not working and to also determine when a plan is no longer necessary. Requires notification of property owners within a plan site and sets up a hearing process to be used if necessary. Also contains the provisions of HB 2177, which amends the Voluntary Cleanup and Property Redevelopment Act to make voluntary cleanup plans and associated documents available for public review “upon request.” Also gives the Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) authority to initiate and participate in public meetings to discuss such plans. Eliminates the requirement that KDHE must provide written notification when a “no further action determination on a plan” has been made. Requires clean up plans to be posted on the KDHE web site. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Awaiting further action by the House)

HB 2233 – Empowers the Secretary of Health and Environment (KDHE) to develop a plan to be submitted to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would bring the state into compliance with the agency’s “Clean Power Plan” rule. Requires the Secretary to do mandatory joint investigations and hearings with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) while developing the plan. Also requires a legislative review of the plan before submission to the EPA. (Passed by the House on a vote of 121-3. Referred to the Senate Committee on Utilities) 


SB 240 – A comprehensive re-codification of the Kansas Banking Code as contained in Chapter 9 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated. Repeals or incorporates in other parts of the Code more than 50 statutes and adds 18 Special Orders of the Bank Commissioner to the Code. (Passed by the House on a vote of 123-1. Awaiting further action by the Senate)

HB 2216 – Amends the definitions of “remote service units” and “online” and “offline” in the Kansas Banking Code to reflect technological changes. Also allows state chartered banks to operate interactive teller machines (ITMs). Excludes contractor liens from the definition of “mortgage loan” in the Kansas Mortgage Business Act. Makes several amendments to the Kansas Money Transmitter Act relating to definitions, surety and license requirements, and exempts certain service providers from the Transmitter Act. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Awaiting further action by the House)


SB 95 – The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act which prohibits a “dismemberment abortion” except to preserve the woman’s life or when the continuation of the pregnancy would cause substantial and irreversible physical impairment. The Act provides for criminal penalties, authorizes a civil action with the potential for an attorney fee award, and authorizes injunctive action. A dismemberment abortion is defined as knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting the child one piece at a time from the uterus using clamps, forceps, tongs, scissors, or other instruments that by the convergence of two rigid levers slice, crush, or grasp a portion of the child’s body to cut or rip it off. Clarifies the definition of dismemberment abortion. (Passed by the House on a vote of 98-26. Awaiting action by the Governor)

SB 101 – Changes the definition of health care provider in the Health Care Provider Insurance Availability Act to exclude nurses with exempt licenses. Specifies that nurse anesthetists employed by the federal government are not covered health care providers. Provides that nursing facilities, residential health care facilities, and assisted living facilities are included in the definition of health care facilities; that health care providers or health care systems operating more than one medical or health care facility may qualify for self-insurance; that the Kansas soldiers’ home and veterans’ home are self-insurers, that residents in training, post-graduate trainees, and the KUMC private practice corporations and faculty employees are self-insurers for purposes of Fund coverage. Sets out criteria and processes for these entities to obtain self-insured status. The Committee recommended passage as amended. (Passed by the House on a vote of 125-0. Placed in a Senate/ House conference committee)

SB 224 – Increases the number of physicians on the Emergency Medical Services Board’s medical advisory board; permits the Board to impose additional fines on certificate holders and ambulance services for regulatory violations; permits the Board access to documentary and other evidence in investigations; permits the Board to issue testimonial and documentary subpoenas and includes a process for contesting such subpoenas; and provides for maintaining the confidentiality of material produced in investigations. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 31-9. Referred to the House Committee on Health and Human Services)

Senate Sub for HB 2042 – Makes technical amendments to the membership provisions for the Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Planning Council. Increases the membership of the Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Planning Council by one and makes a technical change to the designation of the former JJA Commissioner member designation; changes the number of meeting days and membership on the Robert G. Bethell Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 30-10. Placed in a Senate/House conference committee)

Senate Sub. HB 2149 – Provides that medically necessary prescribed breast milk is reimbursable under the Medicaid program for critically ill infants under the age of 3 months who are in a neonatal intensive care unit. Makes changes to the Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board meetings, provides that Medicaid may implement prior authorization of new prescription only drugs until review by the Board if used within the package insert guidelines approved by the FDA. Permits prior authorization for mental health drugs in accordance with guidelines developed by the Board, provides for the development of guidelines and requirements for review of mental illness drugs, and creates a Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee. Establishes dates for the promulgation of regulations and clarifies the language on permissible medications used to treat mental illness. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Placed in a Senate/House conference committee)

Senate Sub for HB 2225 – Provides that medical retainer agreements are not insurance; provides for cancellation, rather than expiration, of certain licenses, including physicians, physician assistants, and institutional licenses. For physician and physician assistants there is a second opportunity to renew within 30 days of a subsequent notice upon payment of a fee. Makes changes to the special permit practice statutes, changing eligibility for permits, providing the sponsor is responsible for the care provided and the actions of the special permit holder, subjecting the permit holder to applicable provisions of the Healing Arts Act, providing that the permit holder is not rendering professional services pursuant the Health Care Stabilization Fund, defining supervision, and setting limits on the number of times permits may be renewed. Also eliminates private censure as a disciplinary option; establishes fees for reentry licenses; changes the physician assistant laws to: reframe the use of the term “protocols” to “agreements,” define supervising physicians as responsible physicians, and define responsible physicians as accepting continuous and ultimate responsibility for the medical services and actions of the physician assistant, creates federal active and exempt licensure categories, provides that the limitation on the number of physician assistants a physician may supervise is not applicable to services provided in a medical care facility, and allows physician assistants to sign pre-hospital do not resuscitate orders. Modifies the Kansas medical record laws providing for release of such records within 30 days to a patient, the patient’s authorized representative, or person legally entitled to records. It modifies the definition of covered entity, creates an exception for disclosure when it would be harmful to the patient, specifies authorization content, provides for a private cause of action related to the provision of records, and provides that the Board of Healing Arts will establish maximum fees that covered entities and health care providers may charge for providing copies of records. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Placed in a Senate/House conference committee)

HB 2275 – Adds new substances and compounds to Schedules I, II, III and IV of the uniform controlled substances list. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Awaiting action by the Governor)

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. (Passed by the House on a vote of 115-0. Referred to the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs)

HB 2417 – Prohibits the decapitation of unborn children, makes decapitation abortions criminal offenses, permits the Attorney General to initiate actions related to decapitation abortions and authorizes civil suit for such abortions. (Referred to the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs)


SB 47 – Requires principle-based reserves (PBR) for life insurance companies and updates non-forfeiture law for insurance companies. Also redefines certain insurance terms that become effective upon publication of the manual of valuation instructions adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). (Passed by the House on a vote of 115-0. Awaiting action by the Governor)

SB 76 – Creates the Risk Management and Own Risk and Solvency Assessment Act. Establishes the requirements for maintaining a risk management framework and for completing an own risk and solvency assessment (ORSA) summary report to the Kansas Insurance Commissioner. Exempts certain insurers doing business in Kansas. Provides for penalties with a $50,000 cap if the ORSA summary is not filed in a “timely” manner. Would become effective on 1/1/2017. (Passed by the House on a vote of 123-2. Awaiting action by the Governor)

HB 2064 – Allows insurance companies, other than life companies, to offer coverage against the cost of legal services. Exempts certain companies from the definition of “prepaid service plan” and makes technical amendments on how non-profit dental service corporations calculate certain expenses. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 40-0. Placed in a House/Senate conference committee)

HB 2066 – Expands the investment powers of domestic insurance companies and further defines what constitutes a “business entity.” (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 38-0. Awaiting action by the Governor)

HB 2142 – Amends the Kansas Insurance Code by redefining what constitutes a “fraudulent insurance act” and an “external review organization.” Also removes the optional provision for insurers to have an anti-fraud plan submitted to the Commissioner and make submission of such a plan mandatory. Imposes uniform policy provisions and creates an exclusion for individual accident and sickness policies. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 39-1. Placed in a House/Senate conference committee)


SB 108 – Includes the contents of both SB 108 and SB 106. Makes numerous technical amendments to two real estate-related statutes. Grants the Kansas Real Estate Commission additional authority over the offering of real estate courses and authority to take disciplinary action for violations of the real estate statutes. Also allows the Commission to increase license fees. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 37-2. Awaiting action by the Governor)


SB 297 – Specifies the actions taken by a Kansas Supreme Court justice that could result in impeachment proceedings being brought against the justice. (Referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary)


SB 31 – Grants the Secretary of Revenue authority to disclose taxpayer information “in any administrative proceeding or any civil or criminal action or proceeding brought to enforce the tax or revenue laws.” Also empowers the Secretary to accelerate sales and liquor enforcement tax collections under certain circumstances. Authorizes the creation of state tax liens on certain personal property for delinquent tax debt. Specifies when tax warrants and personal property tax liens become dormant. (Passed by the Senate on a vote of 39-1. Referred to the House Committee on Taxation)

SB 296 – Eliminates the state individual income tax reductions scheduled to become effective for tax years 2016, 2017, and 2018. Starting in tax year 2015, and for each year thereafter, the maximum itemized deductions an individual can take is set at 60% of the total amount of deductions from federal adjusted gross income. (Referred to the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation)