Feb. 22, 2019

Capitol Connection is your weekly report from KAC's Director of Government Relations Adrienne Olejnik on happenings at the Statehouse and issues affecting Kansas children and families. For more updates, like KAC on  Facebook  and follow us on Twitter .

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This week

  "Bills, bills, bills"-no, I'm not talking a popular song by Destiny's Child during my high school years. But bills are on my mind as we approach turnaround next week with the legislature on the floor for three full days.

Action on bills in committee will certainly ramp up Monday, since it is the last day for committees to meet before "turnaround day" - the point at which House bills go to the Senate and vice versa. If the weather pattern holds true and we have yet another snow day next week, you'll find plenty of tracks leading to the Capitol - much work will be done next week that we can't miss.
KAC is watching

The KAC/KCEG team testified three times in the House Taxation Committee last week, and we provided written testimony in Senate Assessment and Taxation on SB 76 (food sales tax) and written testimony in Children and Seniors on HB 2361 (survey/Data collection opt-in changes). On Monday, I shared verbal testimony in House Taxation on HB 2261, a bill to reduce the sales tax on food by 1 percent effective July 1.

We recognize that Kansas' sales tax rate on food is too high, yet also understand the need for continued revenue to rebuild our state. That is why we offered alternatives that are more targeted towards Kansans living paycheck to paycheck, including the idea of reinstating the refundability of the food sales tax credit, which helped over 384,000 people in the final year it was refundable.

Update on SB 22 "windfall/windfail" bill: The House Taxation committee held hearings on SB 22 this week but has not yet worked the bill. The committee meets Monday, and we expect the bill to be discussed at that time. We are strongly opposed to this bill, which carries a high cost, perpetuates inequality, and opens a door for fraud. It's simply not the right way forward for Kansas as we rebuild from failed fiscal policy.  Find our resources on SB 22 here.
Just today the House voted favorably on SB 9, the $115 million payment to KPERS (the missed payment plus interest). The bill will now go to the Governor for her consideration. The financials of KPERS have been a major issue so far this session with both chambers rejecting the Governor's reamortization plan and both approving the make-up payment.

Just for fun

March Madness will be here before we know it, and while I'm not an avid basketball fan, I try to stay current on the news. I couldn't help but read about Duke's Zion Williamson's unfortunate mishap with his basketball shoe, which caused a knee injury. The article got me thinking about basketball and sparked the thought of a Michael Jordan quote that has been very inspirational to me. I hope you find it inspires you as well:
"The problems we face didn't happen overnight and they won't be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities."