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February 9, 2011

Designed for and delivered only to KAIA Members.

Important Dates for your calendar:

Wednesday, February 9:

Last day for individual bill introduction.

 

Friday, February 11:

Last day for committee bill introduction.

 

Wednesday, February 23:

Kansas Agents Legislative Day - register now and contact your legislator

 

Friday, February 25:

TURNAROUND DAY: Last day to consider bills in their original house.

 

Wednesday, March 23:

Last day to consider bills not in their original house.

 

Saturday, April 2:

Only omnibus budget bills and vetoed legislation considered after this date.

 

Wednesday, April 27:

Veto session ends.

Register Now: 2011 Kansas Agents Legislative Day

One fee of $55 will cover your entire agency (everyone can attend), provide steak dinners  and 3 CE credits (to be filed for 2 gen and 1 ethics). Have Some Fun, Do Some Good! Click here to sign up at KAIA's website.

The top issue of the session for agents and business is the re-write of the workers compensation statutes.  We have dedicated a full hour for briefing and discussion of the issue. Kansas Agents Legislative Day provides a chance for you to get answers to your questions and share your concerns with your legislators.  Take advantage of a great opportunity to help advocate for your business.
Quick Links

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815 SW Topeka Blvd
Topeka, KS 66612
800-229-7048

www.kaia.com

 

Links to Committees

House Insurance Committee

 

Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee

 

Stateside

Calling all agents: to influence the future and make history.  The Kansas Insurance Department is spearheading an effort to have working groups help develop the Kansas Health Insurance Exchange.  The working groups touch on a number of different areas and any agents interested in influencing the process should consider signing up for one of the working groups.  Click here to get a list of the work groups and a sign-up sheet. You can email your sign-up sheet to info@kaia.com and we will be sure to get your information to the Kansas Insurance Department.  Or you can send directly to the Kansas Insurance Department as the instructions on the sheet indicate.  If you do volunteer, please let us know - info@kaia.com.

 
 
SB 71, the bill proposing to increase the number of required continuing education credits for licensed agents, is scheduled for hearing Wednesday, February 9 in the Senate Financial Institutions and insurance committee.  The Kansas Insurance Department has worked with the bill's sponsor and is bringing multiple amendments to the bill in an attempt to comply with all of the provisions of the NAIC model law. Those amendments should not affect agents currently licensed - KAIA will be monitoring progress.

KAIA also continues to monitor:

SB77- the bill proposed to help bring the unemployment insurance fund into the black and begin re-paying the interest owed to the federal government for the money borrowed to continue issuing unemployment compensation checks.  The bill is not a fix for the system that is broken - but is meant to be a temporary fix until other issues can be addressed.  For additional information provided by SHRM (Southeast Human Resource Managers), click here.

HB 2119 would prevent local municipalities from charging accident response fees on citizens who need emergency and first responders to assist them.  Accident response fees are a creative way to increase revenue for local governments - a second billing (or taxation) to taxpayers who have already paid taxes for emergency and first responder services. KAIA testified in support of HB 2119.

HB 2134, the re-write of the worker compensation statutes, had a hearing on Monday, February 7.  It went to a subcommittee where a number of technical amendments were proposed.  There were also a several clarifying amendments offered. One of the amendments includes providing a waiver for sole proprietors to sign to opt out of the workers compensation system - a KAIA supported amendment.

 The compromise between business and labor is still in- tact and the plan is to get the bill out of committee on Wednesday, February 9, have floor debate on Friday, February 11, and emergency it up for a vote on the same day. Provided all goes according to plan the bill should be in the Senate next week.

In addition to the re-write of the benefits statutes for workers compensation, the Kansas Insurance Department has introduced its own workers compensation bill.  HB 2139 would "modernize" the high risk pool by allowing surcharges to begin from the first dollar of premium.  Currently, there are no surcharges on the first $2250 dollars of premium for any policy in the assigned risk pool.  NCCI wants to change that. KAIA is monitoring the bill.

Other bills we are monitoring include:

SB85 removes the mandatory participation requirements for group life insurance. This bill first came to the legislature two years ago, but failed to pass.

HB2085 requires title companies owned by a title insurer to have an annual audit of its escrow, settlement and closing deposit accounts conducted by a certified public accountant.

HB2088 prevents municipalities from requiring fire protection sprinkler systems in new residential developments/construction.

If you have questions or input you would like to share on any of these bills or others, please contact Kerri at kerri@kaia.com.

On the National Front:

Senators find flaws with federal crop program's 'Good Performance Refund'

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) sent the following bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, commending USDA for proposing a Good Performance Refund (GPR) program aimed at strengthening the federal crop insurance program. While the GPR program is well intentioned, the senators expressed concerns that the eligibility criteria would benefit few producers from limited regions of the country, is not designed in the most cost effective manner, and falls short of meeting the intent of the law. Senator Roberts and Senator Chambliss offered to continue to work with Secretary Vilsack to improve the program and address their concerns.  Click here to read the full letter and here to read the IIABA's analysis.

 

Health Reform News

Federal Judge in Florida Rules Healthcare Law Must Be Voided

Last Monday, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson struck down President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare overhaul by ruling that the reform law's so-called individual mandate went too far in requiring that Americans start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty. This is the most significant legal challenge to the reform act to date and the Obama administration plans to appeal it-the issue will likely reach the Supreme Court.  Meanwhile, implementation of the law will progress as planned, say officials in Washington, unless the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate imitates the House's vote to repeal the act entirely, which is unlikely.

The individual mandate is key to the law's mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured. Officials argue it is only by requiring healthy people to purchase policies that they can help pay for reforms, including a provision that individuals with pre-existing medical conditions cannot be refused coverage.

'Obamacare' amendment passes out of committee

The Kansas House Public Health and Welfare committee passed on February 3 a proposed constitutional amendment that would essentially take Kansas out of the so-called "Obamacare" federal health care legislation passed last year.  Also passed was a "companion measure," a statute dictating that "no Kansan can be required by anyone or anything to purchase health-care insurance, and that Kansans can always pay cash for health care services".  Speculation is that this amendment will successfully pass the Kansas House, even though it will require 84 votes to do so.

PPACA: NAIC Exchanges Panel to Review Work Plan 

The NAIC's Exchanges Subgroup -created to help the NAIC of Kansas City implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act involving creation of exchanges-will begin deliberation on a number of objectives including developing white papers and issuing briefs on areas in which the ACA gives states flexibility in developing their own exchange systems.  The Subgroup's research topics throughout the next months are expected to include governance, financing, adverse selection, regional exchanges, and mergers of individual and small group markets. These white papers and briefs will, most likely, directly affect any efforts from Kansas Health Insurance Exchange work groups.  KAIA will continue to monitor these developments.  If you have time to help form the Health Insurance Exchange that will directly affect agents, businesses and individuals, please see article above and sign-up for a work group.

Ways and Means Schedules PPACA Hearing 

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee plans to hold a hearing Feb. 10 on the effects of the Affordable Care Act on the Medicare program and Medicare beneficiaries.  Witnesses expected to appear at the Medicare PPACA hearing include Dr. Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Richard Foster, the CMS chief actuary.

These are just some of the issues that the Big "I" lobbying efforts affect.  The Big "I" is well-respected on the hill, but they could not do what they do without the support of agents across the country.  If you have a relationship with your Congressman or a Kansas Senator, please let us know so we can add that information to the database.  Key grassroots contacts are critical to Big "I" continued success. You can let us know at info@kaia.com.

Another way you can get involved is to contribute to InsurPac.  InsurPac  gives the Big "I" advocacy team the resources to support elected officials who are friendly to insurance agent issues. Please help our Big "I" team by contributing to InsurPac