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News from Kansas Senator Elaine Bowers

Tue, 02/09/2021 - 16:29
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2021 Senate Scene – Week Four

Senate Highlights

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The Kansas Senate finished a busy fourth week of session with committee meetings and bills coming forward. The Senate held floor debate on Monday and Thursday passing out 14 pieces of legislation.

Snapshot of the Kansas Legislature 2021

The Kansas Senate consists of forty Senators—twenty-nine Republicans, eleven Democrats with sixteen women and twenty-four men. Eleven Senators live in cities of 100,000+ population, eleven with 20,000 to 100,000, six with 5,000-20,000, six with 2,000-5,000 and six with 0-2,000.  The Kansas House of Representatives consists of one-hundred twenty-five members with eighty-six Republicans and thirty-nine Democrats with thirty-three women and ninety-two men.

Senate Floor Action

The Senate worked bills as the Committee of the Whole on February 1st and 4th debating bills and voting to move bills across the capitol to the House of Representatives for their consideration. Thirteen bills including noncontroversial bills called Consent Calendar items and two Senate Resolutions passing the Chamber.

SB 21 would retroactively ratify the results of a November 2020 election in Cherokee County imposing a 0.5 percent retail sales tax within the county approved by the governing body of Cherokee County.

SB 33 would authorize the Director of Vehicles at the Kansas Department of Revenue to issue a temporary display show license to a sponsor of a motor vehicle display show.

SB 47 would enact the Kansas Taxpayer Protection Act (Act) requiring on and after January 1, 2022, paid tax return preparers to sign any income tax return prepared and include the preparer’s federal preparer tax identification number on any return.

SB 27 would extend the sunset dates for certain funds, an advisory board, and operators’ ability to apply for funds relating to underground storage tanks (UST) by KDHE.

SB 28 would codify the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Credit for Reinsurance Model Regulation

SB 29 would amend the effective date specified in the Insurance Code for the risk-based capital (RBC) instructions promulgated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) for property and casualty companies and for life insurance companies.

SB 1 would allow the State Fair Board to expend or transfer moneys from its State Fair Capital Improvements Fund in the same manner as moneys from its State Fair Fee Fund for fiscal year (FY) 2021 and FY 2022.

SB 16 would amend statutes to remove requirements that several reports and certifications be provided to the Legislative Division of Post Audit (LPA), the Post Auditor, or the Legislative Post Audit Committee.

SB 39 would change several license, bond, and permit renewal fee deadlines related to livestock and domestic animals from June 30 to September 30 of each year.

SB 53 establishes the membership of the Sedgwick county charter commission which, if created, will review and recommend changes regarding the structure of county government.

SB 38 would establish the Kansas Pesticide Waste Disposal Program (Program) that would be administered by the Secretary of Agriculture for the collection and disposal of pesticide waste.   The bill would also create in the State Treasury the Kansas Pesticide Waste Disposal Fund (Disposal Fund) with the purpose of funding the Program.

SB 40 would add and amend law regarding the roles of the Division of Conservation within the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the State Conservation Commission.

SR 1701—A RESOLUTION recognizing the need for the Governor of Kansas to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to law-abiding Kansans before administering the vaccine to healthy incarcerated individuals

SB24 would create the Energy Choice Act, which preserves the right to use natural gas throughout Kansas.

To review each bill in full including the easy-to-read supplemental note – go to  www.kslegislature.org then Bills and Laws. You will be able to see each bill beginning from the first bill introduced to the last. You also will be able to search (the box to the right of the bill listing) by entering the bill number, choose the originating chamber (Senate or House) and click submit. The history of the bill, committee action and final action votes on the measure will be displayed.

February 5th recognized as National Wear Red Day

SR 1708 recognized Friday, February 5th, as National Wear Red Day to signify the importance of the ongoing fight against heart diseases and stroke among women. The Resolution carried by Senator Carolyn McGinn recognizes and informs the public that Cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer of women in the United States with one death every 80 seconds. Heart attacks are on the rise among women across all ages with younger women less likely than older women to be aware of the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes. Cardiovascular diseases kills 1 in 3 women, despite the fact that about 80% of cardiac events can be prevented through education and lifestyle changes. The Resolution encourages women to move more, eat smart and manage their blood pressure to reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases. The American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement strives to motivate women to learn about their family history and to meet with a healthcare provider to determine their risk for cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Unemployment problems

Many emails and calls from home are regarding Kansas unemployment. Over 700,000 fraudulent attempts were made on the Department of Labor’s new updated process of verification to the website on February 1st. For fraudulent 1099s received in the mail - go to the new self-service portal https://uiassistance.getkansasbenefits.gov/ to complete a dispute due to fraudulent activity in your name. A police report with a number will be produced - save this number for future use if necessary. It is a simple form and takes less than a couple minutes to complete. The agency also has a specific phone line for claimants to call with questions concerning 1099s. The number is 785-575-1461.
The department also suggests using Safari, Internet Explorer or Firefox. Some users have experienced errors when using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. They are also recommending accessing the site on a desktop and when using a mobile device to use Safari or Firefox. Multiple claimants cannot register with the same email address so you will need to use an email unique to only you. Once you have received the verification email, do not click the button more than once and do not forward the email. Either of these actions will deem that link void. Feel free to call me in Topeka and as I have legislative liaisons in the Department of Labor to help as well.

As always, I’ll keep you updated on the activities of the Senate while we continue through the last few weeks before turn-around. I always encourage you to stay informed of the issues under consideration by the Kansas Legislature. Committee schedules, bills, and other helpful information can be easily accessed through the legislature’s website at www.kslegislature.org. You are also able to ‘listen in live’ at this website. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns, and suggestions. An email is the best at this point in the session.

Thank you for the honor of serving you!