February 7, 2020

Capitol Connection is your weekly report from KAC's Vice President Adrienne Olejnik on happenings at the Statehouse and issues affecting Kansas children and families. For more updates, follow KAC on  Facebook  and  Twitter .

For Adrienne's perspective, see her Twitter account!
Celebrating the Chiefs

This is the first Capitol Connection since the Chiefs won the Super Bowl -- I'm happy a team that so many Kansans (and my husband and children) love saw victory last weekend. You can see just one example above.

Who knew that the Chiefs' win would throw our work week into uncertainty! The legislature ended up closing on Wednesday for the Kansas City parade.

Where Medicaid expansion stands

That shortened week limited the work on   SB 252 (the Medicaid expansion bill) to just one day -- a hearing at which Attorney General Derek Schmidt shared updates about the status of the Affordable Care Act.

Discussion and action on the bill are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday next week. If your senator is on the  Senate Public Health and Welfare committee, please continue to reach out and share your support for  passing SB 252 without amendments. You can read KAC's testimony on the proposal  here.

Child care licensing update

Another opportunity for advocacy in the same Senate Public Health and Welfare committee is sharing support for   SB 312, which we wrote about in last week's Capitol Connection. In short, the bill would allow the KDHE child care licensing division to impose enforcement via a civil fine for someone who is willfully acting against state law and operating as a child care provider without licensure.

We know the health and safety regulations for child care providers are important for ensuring our kids are in the best environments possible -- and there are many great providers out there who are following the law. SB 312 would help protect our kids. While the committee held a hearing this week, we don't know yet if the committee will vote on the bill.

Standard deduction debate

On the tax front this week, KAC submitted neutral testimony on HB 2538, which would increase the state's standard deduction.

Compared with an earlier, itemization-focused proposal, in which most of the benefit would go to the highest earners, the standard deduction measure would be simpler for taxpayers, tax preparers, and the Kansas Department of Revenue. In addition, it would result in a more equitable policy.

Unfortunately, increasing the standard deduction is not cheap, and estimates of the cost vary. In the tax committee yesterday, we saw a $52 million fiscal note. New analysis from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy gave a different number, and the range of possibilities gives us pause. We'll keep you up to date.

See you next week!
-- Adrienne