March 1, 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 .

For Adrienne's perspective, follow her on Twitter!
This week

This week of the legislative session is what is known as turnaround week -- when bills must pass out of their originating chamber or be "blessed" by leadership to stay in the running. We expected three days of legislators debating bills on the floor with a possible vote in the House on SB 22.

Yet the legislature decided to only work Tuesday and Wednesday for General Orders, and members won't return until next Wednesday, March 6th.
KAC is watching

Update on SB 22: On Monday, the House Taxation Committee favorably passed SB 22 out of committee to the House floor, but with some changes. The committee amended the bill to include a 1 percent reduction in the sales tax on food and add provisions to Kansas law to allow for collection of sales tax on items purchased online. The committee report was read on the House floor on Wednesday, and the legislature concluded their business later that day, thereby delaying a vote on the tax bill.
Regardless of the amendments made to SB 22, the core of the bill  remains the same and is too risky for Kansas. With many unmet needs looming, Kansas should not be passing a lopsided tax bill that does little to improving the lives of the majority of Kansans. (You can also reach out to your legislator via our action alert to let them know you oppose this misguided bill.)
Children's Savings Accounts:  On Monday, our CEO and President Annie McKay and KAC Board Member Melinda Lewis,   Associate Professor at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, presented testimony to the House Financial Institutions and Pensions committee about the benefits of Children's Savings Accounts, which have been proposed in HB 2096.

The bill would use $1 million of TANF funds to seed 529-like accounts with $250 for eligible children at birth. The research on Children's Savings Accounts shows that children who even have small savings accounts for college are seven times more likely to attend and graduate than those who have no savings accounts.
The Early Learning Caucus met early Wednesday morning to learn more from the Kansas Children's Service League about the long-term effects of ACEs on Kansas kids.
On Tuesday, the Kansas Head Start Association held its Early Learning Day at the Capitol. My colleague, Emily Fetsch, and I shared with their advocates updates on what has been happening in the legislature and key topics they could discuss with their legislators.

Just for fun

I love local history. I'm not an expert by any means and have a lot to learn, but my curiosity grows each year and inspires me to learn more about Topeka and the surrounding area. Our office is in the Palace Building, a historic spot in downtown Topeka and part of the South Kansas Avenue Commercial Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building used to be home to the Palace Clothing Store, and the new building was erected in 1908 with a fourth story added in 1915. Previously on the site was the Commonwealth Building, home to a book bindery Crane & Byron, which burned down on October 20, 1873.

I've enjoyed seeing the renovations downtown in the past few years and am excited more people are able to enjoy these historic sites. There are are some historic photos of the Commonwealth Building and the Palace Building.