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Legislative Update Week 7

Turnaround Approaches

This Friday, February 27, marks the first major deadline of the legislative session, commonly referred to as “Turnaround.” All bills, aside from some exempt bills, must be passed by the chamber of origin by this deadline in order to be considered after today. If a non-exempt bill is not passed by its chamber of origin prior to this deadline, then it cannot be considered.

Committees only had until Wednesday to send non-exempt bills to the House floor, so a majority of the House’s work this week remained in committees. This week, long hours were spent on the House floor in order to move the non-exempt bills to the Senate for action in the second half of the session.

While being on the floor of the House all day on Wednesday and Thursday, we debated and voted on many bills with varying subject matter and impact to the state of Kansas.  Here are some of the bills that were debated this week:

House Bill 2061 – Amending the powers and duties of the Kansas Department of Agriculture division of conservation and the state conservation commission;

House Bill 2228 – Allowing in-state tuition status for current and former military members;

House Bill 2104 – Elections regarding filling vacancies of nominations;

House Bill 2326 – Contract negotiations for certain professional employees, namely teachers.  This bill was amended on the House floor on Wednesday by Representative Sue Boldra’s amendment, which removed language and inserted the contents of House Bill 2257.

These bills, and many others, were debated during the week and those that were passed will then be sent over to the Senate for its consideration.  We will now most likely be working the Senate bills that will come across the rotunda to the House starting next week. 

House Bill 2108:  Straight Ticket Ballots

One of the bills that the House Elections committee passed out is a bill that would require a straight party ticket option to be placed on, and only on, a general election ballot.  This method of voting would be defined as allowing voters to vote for all candidates of one party for all partisan offices by selecting a single party designation on the ballot.  There would be an exception to allow the voter to select a single candidate in another party or cast a write-in vote, which of course would be counted.

The bill also specifies that if the voter does not wish to vote a straight party ticket, the party boxes may be left unmarked and the voter may select individual candidates.  The ballot would distinguish the difference between a straight party ticket vote and a vote for judicial retention, nonpartisan offices, or ballot questions. 

KPERS Bonding

The Pensions and Benefits House committee passed out House Bill 2095, which would authorize the issuance of $1.5 billion in bonds for the unfunded liability of the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System.  The bonds would be subject to the approval of the State Finance Council and a maximum percentage rate on the bonds would be 5 percent.

The bill would also require adjustments to the fiscal year 2017 State and School Group employer contribution rate.  The rate would be reduced by the amount of the debt service payment in 2017.  The existing statutory cap of 1.2 percent would apply to future fiscal years.

According to KPERS and a cost study completed by KPERS’ consulting actuary, this bill could create a long-term KPERS employer contribution savings totaling $2.8 billion.  For the fiscal year of 2015, the employer contribution rate was reduced to 8.65 percent, as a result of Governor Brownback’s allotment plan.  For the fiscal 2016 year the rate would return to the statutory rate of 12.37 percent, which has been certified by the KPERS Board of Trustees.  Then for fiscal year 2017 the rate would be reduced by 1.94 percent or the cost of the debt service payment on the bonds, which is estimated to be $90.3 million annually.

Personal Privilege, Shadow, Pages, and Contact Information

Each year, the Speaker of the House grants each representative two Points of Personal Privilege, which we can utilize to honor someone with a statewide recognition.  This past Tuesday, I had the distinct pleasure of honoring Melinda Cross, who was selected as the 2014-2015 Dr. Earl Reum Kansas Advisor of the Year.  It was a great honor for Melinda to be recognized for this achievement by the entire House of Representatives.

Also this week, I had the pleasure of having Larry Lambert, Smith Center, participate as a Legislative Shadow for me.  He attended all committee meetings and House sessions to see what a day in the life of a legislator is like.

I also had six pages this week on Monday.  Those that served as Legislative Pages were Whitley and Brooke Leiker, Jordynn Guenot and Lacey Nuss, all from Russell, and Ross and Reed McNett from Larned. 

If you have any concerns, feel free to contact my office at (785) 296-7672, visit www.troywaymaster.com or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov

It is an honor to serve the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. Do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions.  I appreciate hearing from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas. 

Troy L. Waymaster,

State Representative

109th Kansas House

300 SW 10th

Topeka, KS  66612 


Paid for by Troy Waymaster for 109th Kansas House, James Malone, Treasurer
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