Senate FI&I Committee Gains Ranking Minority Member
Brand-new State Sen. Allen Schmidt, D-Hays, elected to replace Janis Lee, has been appointed to the Senate's standing Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee. Schmidt is a former dairyman and retired army colonel from Hays, KS.
House passes health care challenge
The House passed this morning, 91-27, its resolution calling for a statewide vote that would prohibit federal law from requiring Kansans to purchase health insurance.
The so-called "Obamacare" resolution now heads to the Senate, where its chances are considered slim-or were last session. This year, just two years before the Senate stands for reelection, it's a little different, though the resolution does require 27 votes, and that's rough in the upper chamber on the measure.
Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said he's not sure that the Senate is intrigued enough with the federal health care availability act to go for a constitutional amendment, and would instead like to see what's possible in the way of state statute to moderate the key component of the federal law-the mandatory purchase of health insurance.
House passes workers compensation overhaul
The House passed HB 2134 today. The bill is a compromise between labor and business to overhaul Kansas workers compensation statutes. The bill "fixes" several issues that came out of court case decisions (Casco, Bergstrom, Tyler, etc.). KAIA supported the base bill and supported an amendment that will put into place a waiver that sole proprietors may sign to opt out of the workers compensation system.
Two Surplus Lines Bills
Two surplus lines bills have been assigned to the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. Both bills are proposed to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act in order that Kansas may continue to receive premium tax dollars on surplus lines business. One is proposed by Commissioner Sandy Praeger and based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) model (SB 178); the second is based on the National Council Of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) model (SB 206). KAIA continues to monitor the issue and will update you as developments occur.
Continuing Education Requirements
The proponents and opponents of SB 71, the bill that proposes to increase the number of continuing education credits required each biennium for agent license renewal, met this week to discuss their differences and attempt to reach a compromise. Suggestions for amendments included tightening the definition of what transacting the business of insurance means so it limits who in an office must be licensed (office support would potentially not need to be licensed), phasing in the increase over a period of time (18 hours in 2013 and 24 hours in 2015), and clarification on who will need to be fingerprinted to obtain a license. The bill has been "blessed" which allows more time for a compromise to be reached.
EXECUTIVE REORGANIZATION ORDERS
The Governor issued three ERO's last week. An ERO must be submitted to the Legislature within the first 30 calendar days of the session and will become effective July 1 of that year unless the Legislature rejects it. The Legislature has 60 days to take action on an ERO once receiving notice of it. Only 33 ERO's have been issued since they began in the 1970's. Several have been issued this year for Legislative consideration are:
- ERO 34 which abolishes the Parole Board and establishes the Prisoner Review Board within the Dept of Corrections
- ERO 35 transfers the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns from the Department of Commerce to the
- ERO 36 moves the Division of Travel and Tourism from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). It also abolishes the Asst Secretary of Operations and replaces it with Asst Secretary of Wildlife, Fisheries and Boating and an Asst Secretary of Parks & Tourism.
- ERO 37 would abolish Kansas, Inc. and gives those powers and duties to the Secretary of Administration.
- ERO 38, the Executive Reorganization Order to move KHPA to KDHE
- ERO 39 abolishes the Kansas Arts Commission and transfers the state agency's responsibilities to the Kansas Historical Society.
- ERO 40, consolidates various agriculture-related state agencies under the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA).