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Feb. Legislative Update - Tax Relief & Constitutional Balance

Weeks 6 | February 14-18, 2022

The 2022 Kansas Legislative Session is nearing its half-way point. Work is now focused on the turnaround legislative deadlines as committees spent last week holding hearings and recommending bills.

Tax Relief

This week Chairman Adam Smith, on behalf of House Republicans, introduced HB 2711, which provides comprehensive tax relief for Kansans.
The bill:
  • Reduces the state of food sales tax rate to 3.5 percent, from the current 6.5 percent. The bill provides a mechanism to further reduce the rate to zero if the state’s budget stabilization fund balance is sufficient.
  • Reduces the overall sales tax ratefrom 6.5 percent to 6.3 percent, addressing the totality of sales tax relief, rather than a limited focus like the Governor’s proposal.
  • Food Sales tax income tax credit becomes a refundable tax credit, effectively taking food sales tax to zero for those that we have heard need it most – families with children, seniors, disabled citizens.

    The bill has been assigned to the House Taxation Committee for its consideration.
Constitutional Balance

Since 1984 the courts have barred the legislature from revoking rules and regulations. Since then, rules and regulations have created a fourth branch of government run by unelected bureaucrats. I believe elected officials should make the laws and this amendment allows the voters of this state to make their voice heard on this issue.
While governors may come and go, bureaucracy is forever. Regardless of who the governor is, without this measure we will continue to see more rules and regulations with less accountability and oversight.

During House action this week, the Kansas House debated HCR 5014. HCR 5014 places a constitutional amendment on the November 2022 ballot. The constitutional amendment will ensure legislative oversight of administrative rules and regulations. Following a bill becoming a law, often there are rules and regulations to be promulgated. Unfortunately, executive branch bureaucrats often use the rules and regs process to essentially create their own law or circumvent the intent of the law that was passed. Passing a constitutional amendment would allow the Legislature to establish a procedure for revoking or suspending rules and regulations that are adopted by these agencies and bureaucrats that have the force and effect of law.

If the House advances the resolution with a 2/3 vote, the resolution goes to the Senate, where if two-thirds of their members adopt the resolution, it shall be placed on the November general election ballot.

Honoring the Families of our Heroes & our Veterans
This fall, the Capitol Preservation Committee received a request to add a Kansas Gold Star Families Memorial on the Statehouse grounds. The Committee approved the request, the first step to authorizing a permanent memorial, artwork, or exhibit in either the Capitol or on Statehouse grounds. The Legislature must approve any project recommended by the Committee, which it has with HB 2540.

A Gold Star Family is the immediate family of a fallen service member, who lost their life serving in a time of conflict. The memorial will be placed along the Veterans’ Walk on the south side of the Capitol. All projects approved by the Capitol Preservation Committee require private funding.
I was proud to support HB 2540, these families have had to live with the loss of a loved one who gave the last full measure of devotion to our country.
The House considers many pieces of legislation each year to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This week, the House passed two bills to name portions of state highways after Kansans who have lost their lives in service of their country (HB 2458, HB 2478). In addition, the House passed legislation to add a distinctive license plate for silver star and bronze star medal winners (HB 2476).
We must always remember the sacrifices made by those who serve in our armed forces. They are the defenders of our freedom and as a father of three veterans I am glad to play a part in making sure they are recognized and appreciated.

Session Forecast
We now begin turnaround.When most bills will have to be out of the house they started in. I will be busy on the House floor debating bills. I try always to think about our families and neighbors first as I consider these measures.
There will be a number of bills that are introduced but will not make it our of committee for floor debate. If you have any questions or concerns over specific legislation please contact me at My focus will be on making the best decisions for us, weighing all sides, and standing up for our values. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in Topeka.

Paid for by Rep. Owen Donohoe for State Representative Campaign
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