Week 7 | February 20-24, 2022
This is the week when all House bills must be passed by the House and on their way to the Senate and vice versa in order to be considered during the remainder of the session.
These deadlines help us stay efficient and on time during our 90 legislative session so we can be good stewards of the public’s trust and taxpayers’ dollars.
Turnaround usually sees a flurry of activity and this week was no exception. The House debated and approved 36 bills and resolutions on the floor this week.
Standing Against Antisemitism
This session, a bipartisan group of 113 House members signed on to HCR 5030
. HCR 5030
is a concurrent resolution “recognizing the growing problem of antisemitism in the United States and calling for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism as an important tool to address the problem."
acknowledges the antisemitic attacks that have taken place both globally and closer to home.The House approved the resolution on a vote of 121-0
. The Secretary of State will send enrolled copies of the resolution to the American Jewish Committee and the Combating Antisemitism Movement.
Restoring Constitutional Balance
This week the House reconsidered its action on 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 developed by state agencies that create their own interpretations 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 that do not meet with the intent of the law.
The House approved the resolution with a two-thirds vote,85-39
. The resolution now goes to the Senate, where if two-thirds of their members adopt the resolution, it will be placed on the November general election ballot.
The House passed HCR 5022
, which is a constitutional amendment requiring that a sheriff be elected in each county. The resolution exempts a county if they abolished the office of sheriff prior to January 11, 2022. HCR 5022
also addresses how a sheriff is removed. Involuntary removal would only be through a recall election or a writ of quo warranto initiated by the Attorney General.
The resolution met the two-thirds vote threshold, with a vote of97-24
, and now heads to the Senate for its consideration. If two-thirds of the Senate adopt the resolution, it will appear on the November general election ballot.
With turnaround reached, House Committees will begin working bills passed by the Senate. Budget Committees are wrapping up recommendations to the Appropriations Committee, so it may finalize a budget bill by mid-March. Other big issues on the House docket to consider will be stabilizing the KPERS system and addressing a comprehensive tax plan.
The Redistricting process will have a renewed focus. The House will adopt a map of House districts to accommodate population changes as well as the Senate. Both chambers will have the opportunity to review and approve the other chamber’s map. In addition, both chambers will approve a State Board of Education (SBOE) map, reflecting the changes approved in the Senate map, as each SBOE district will contain four Senate districts.
Week 8 | March 2-5, 2022
The Legislature returned to action on March 2 with House committees taking up bills sent over by the Senate.The next two weeks will see committees work diligently to hold hearings and recommend bills. March 24 marks another deadline in which bills should be passed by the second chamber, reserving the last week of the month for conference committees to reconcile any differences between House and Senate versions.
The coming weeks expect to see both chambers develop and pass a budget while each also choose redistricting maps for their respective districts.
Legislation Awaiting Action
Following the Governor’s State of the State in January, Republicans outlined priorities for the 2022 Session, including a three-pronged approach:
- Decreasing the sales tax responsibly on not only food, but on other purchases our families need to make.
- Stabilizing the KPERS retirement fund, so that it will be there for our teachers, our firefighters, and other public employees when they need it.
- Securing the Rainy Day Fund, so that our families will not be on the hook for higher taxes as the economy ebbs and flows.
Legislation has been introduced to accomplish these priorities in HB 2711
and HB 2561
HB 2711 creates a comprehensive tax plan that reduces the state food sales tax rate from 6.5 to 3.5 percent, while creating a path to zero if funds are sufficient in the Budget Stabilization Fund. The plan also lowers the state sales tax rate from 6.5 to 6.3 percent, addressing the totality of sales tax relief, rather than a limited focus like the Governor’s proposal.
The 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. HB 2711 was heard in the House Taxation Committee this week.
HB 2561 uses the budget surplus to stabilize the KPERS system, bringing KPERS above the 80 percent funded level, lowers future costs for taxpayers by reducing the state’s share of employer contributions, and saves $82 million in FY 2023 and $429 million over the next five years. HB 2561 has passed out of the House Insurance and Pensions Committee and awaits action by the House.
The work to put a portion of budget surplus funds into the Rainy Day Fund awaits action by the House Appropriations Committee.House Republicans proposed setting aside some of the budget surplus to protect the Kansas economy from future ebbs and flows.