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Legislative Update week five

On Monday, February 11, the House voted on HB 2059, the “trailer bill” to the income tax bill that was signed into law last session. The bill would make several adjustments to income and severance tax provisions that were enacted during the 2012 session.

Under current law as enacted last year, taxpayers, who are partners or Subchapter S corporation shareholders, are required to compute a different adjusted basis for their partnership interests or Subchapter S stock for Kansas income tax purposes than they do for federal income tax purposes. HB 2059 repeals this provision.

The 2012 legislation set a 50-barrel-per-day threshold for being excluded from the new pool severance tax exemption for oil. Another provision in HB 2059 would clarify that such exclusion would be determined based on the initial six months of production from each well.

Additionally, a section of the bill would clarify that for Kansas income tax purposes, the add-back to federal adjusted growth income required of certain losses for Subchapter S corporations would not apply to those entities with wholly owned subsidiaries subject to the financial institutions privilege tax. HB 2059 passed the House of Representatives, 119-2.

The stated goal of the administration is to place the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation as the CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Kansas Turnpike Authority. From this position, the Secretary would have control to manage all the transportation assets in the state.

There have been some concerns regarding the expansion of tolls, however federal law prohibits the addition of tolls on roads which are already complete. Current state law also prohibits toll revenue for State General Fund purposes. The Administration has also pointed out that the process of raising tolls doesn’t change and still requires a vote of the Board of Directors to make the changes.

Over the next several weeks, the Transportation committees in the House and Senate will continue to hold hearings and delve into the specifics of how the merger would save money and benefit the state. It is important to me that services are not affected in any merger proposal brought forward. 

Last week the House took final votes on some bills, all of which were passed and will now be received by the Senate for consideration. Below are three of those bills with a brief description of each:

HB 2009 would allow a driver facing driver’s license suspension for failing to comply fully with a traffic citation, to submit a written request to the Division of Motor Vehicles for restricted driving privileges. The driver would be required to submit a non-refundable $25 fee for the restricted license to be retained by the Division’s operating fund. The restricted license would allow individuals to retain insurance and to drive legally to necessary places, like going to or returning from employment or to seek new employment, to an appointment with a health care provider or in the case of a medical emergency, to probation hearings, to drug and alcohol counseling or to and from school.

HB 2022 would provide statutory authority for an employer to withhold or deduct money, subject to written notice and explanation, from an outgoing employee’s final wages for the following reasons: to recover the employer’s unreturned property provided in the normal course of business, including computers, tools of the trade, phones, safety equipment, etc., to allow an employee to repay a loan or advance from the employer, overpayment of payroll, and/or compensation of replacement costs of the employer’s merchandise, uniforms, or equipment purchased by the employee.

HB 2060 would prohibit prisoners from receiving food sales tax refunds or homestead property tax refunds. An amendment was added to make it clear that the bill would only affect prisoners who claim the prison as their household. Currently, only three prisoners have filed for a sales tax refund but the Department of Revenue requested that the practice be prohibited before other prisoners follow suit.

As we work in our respective committees, we are now conducting bill hearings and deciding if those bills should be sent to the entire House for a vote. This week in Federal and State Affairs, we heard testimony on Thursday and Friday about House Bill 2554. This bill is referred to as the Community Defense Act. In the Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Committee, we have passed out the following budgets to the Appropriations Committee: Office of the State Banking Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce and the Kansas Corporate Commission.

With the conclusion of the fifth week for the 2013 legislative session, the first round of legislative deadlines have been upon us. In anticipation of the approaching deadlines, committees have remained busy holding hearings and voting on legislation for deliberation by the full House. Accordingly, the House debated and took final votes, referred to as Final Action, on several bills. While these bills do not reflect major policy initiatives, such as tax reform or the budget, they are important because I am here to represent you, and to work on your behalf to make our state better.

You can stay up-to-date with committee schedules and bills and find other helpful information regarding the happenings in the statehouse through the legislature’s website, Do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions. I enjoy hearing from you on the topics we are discussing in Topeka, and I appreciate the perspective from those outside of the Statehouse.

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