February 24, 2006
Welcome to turnaround! Turnaround is the week where all House bills have to be passed out of the House and over to the Senate, and vice versa with Senate bills. If a bill has ever been in the Appropriations, Judiciary, Tax, or Federal and State Affairs committees of either chamber, they are exempt from this rule and can be considered at any time during the session.
I am now the proud owner of a Treo phone, thus, I receive a lot of my emails in text format. Knowing that many of you have these phones, and similar format phones, I have begun reformatting my emails to make it easier to view the links for those who receive text emails instead of the enhanced "hot links". The bill and explanation (if there is a fiscal note on the bill) will be provided at the end of each of my explanations.
Education and Personal Activities
Commerce and Labor
Governmental Organizations and Elections
Don't forget to make plans to attend the 17th District deliberative democracy forum next Sunday, March 5, 2005, from 1-3:00 pm at the Lackman Library 15345 W. 87th Street in Lenexa. This will be a great opportunity to listen to your fellow neighbors talk about how state policies affect them and what solutions come about to common challenges. There will be time afterward to socialize - I would love to put your face with your email address!
Education and Personal Activities
A school finance plan was offered Thursday morning, and not surprisingly, the initial proposal (it will go through many metamorphoses over the next weeks), leaves Johnson County in the dust, footing the bill. A great deal of work went into this bill, and technically, it is bipartisan, and we certainly appreciate the work. However, Johnson County would pay $300 million plus, and get back less than $15 million for our schools. It's not just that. Local control of our own schools is noticeably absent. If this proposal is intended to bring every school to "suitable", what is the argument against local control? No one can give us a straight answer to that. For now, Johnson County legislators have a lot of heartburn on this bill, but we also know it is not the final word. I will keep you updated! Here are the basics:
§ Providing approximately $500 million in additional school funding which will be phased in over three years.
§ Year one of the plan includes $175 million in additional monies and sets aside $500,000 for teachers who wish to become certified under English as a Second Language (ESL).
§ The second and third years of the plan would distribute an additional $325 million and seeks to target poverty and at-risk students as identified by the Legislative Post Audit study. This is one of the areas we are hoping to redefine - most school districts receive more at-risk funding than the number of kids being served by at-risk programs.
§ School districts will be responsible for determining their own budgets based on a needs assessment and specifying priorities within that budget. Each district will be required to make specific reports on their budget to the Kansas Board of Education.
§ Failure by any school to meet AYP in the first year will be examined by the Kansas Board of Education and the school will be required to reallocate its resources in the following year(s) to address problem areas. A failure to meet AYP in subsequent years will be addressed with increasing intervention by state education officials.
§ Base aid per pupil will increase by $50.
§ Does not change the formula for low enrollment districts.
Floor Activity – a LOT of bills, these are the
Remember the breastfeeding bill from last year, HB 2284, that included my amendment (at the request of a constituent) to exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty? The House agreed with the changes the Senate made to the bill, and the bill passed 119-4 in the House. It is now headed to the governor's desk!
Passed the House on motion to concur 119-4. I voted YES.
For K-State fans, HB 2758 renames part of Hwy 177 the "Coach Bill Snyder" Highway.
Passed the House 122-2. I voted YES.
DNA bill: Arguing that many unsolved crimes have abundant DNA evidence that cannot be linked to the perpetrator, HB 2554 would require anyone arrested and booked for a felony, including a DUI (language was added in committee), to provide an oral swab of their DNA. The DNA would then be examined to identify 13 neutral points and be processed against DNA already in criminal databases. The DNA would be used for identification purposes only and would be destroyed if the person was acquitted of the crime for which they were accused. Most violent felonies leave some DNA evidence behind and this method of investigation will help law enforcement match that evidence to a criminal who is arrested for a different crime in the future.
Passed the House 119-6. I voted YES.
HB 2916 - People who are arrested and convicted of more than one DUI would now be required to show proof of the installation of an ignition interlock system before their driving privileges are restored. An ignition interlock is a device that prevents the car from being started by an intoxicated driver, normally by a breath testing device attached to the steering column.
Passed the House 125-0. I voted YES.
HB 2576 would enact a penalty of life without the possibility of parole for aggravated persistent (word that won't pass your filters) offenders/predators. There were so many committee amendments on this one, and it is REALLY involved, but if you're interested in all of the details, check out the explanation below.
Passed the House 122-3. I voted YES.
HB 2829 – Finally a bill that will regulate and inspect abortion clinics, that has a dandy chance of being signed into law (meaning it will actually accomplish the task of clinic regulation!) The bill mandates inspections of abortion clinics, and it also says they have to be first in line, and following that, requires surprise inspections. The bill also brings outpatient clinics into the regulatory requirements.
Passed the House 63-62. I voted YES.
HB 2706 allows "deadbeat dads and moms" to have their driver's licenses suspended for defaulting on child support payments.
Passed the House 102-23. I voted YES.
HB 2938 is a bill increasing penalties for driving under a revoked or suspended license. Late Tuesday evening, my bill, HB 2690, regarding driver's license suspension upon default on a payment agreement, passed out of the Insurance Committee without incident. However, it did not get read into the House in time to be considered by the full House this week before Turnaround. Fortunately, the sponsor of HB 2938, the Chairmen of both the Governmental Org and Elections Committee and Insurance Committee, and House leadership supported amending my bill onto HB 2938, which passed this morning.
Bill amended into 2938: http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2006/2690.pdf
Passed the House 118-7. I voted YES.
I'm sure I forgot a bill that was important to someone, but there were so many, I just couldn't cover them all!
Commerce and Labor
After voting to keep HB 2841 (that would establish penalties for employers that knowingly classify employees as 1099 independent contractors, when they should be W-2 employees) in committee, we passed out of committee the following bills:
Landlord/tenant changes that would allow landlords to set belongings outside a rental property whose possession has been returned to the owner.
Bill: HB 2839 http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2006/2839.pdf
On the House floor, the bill was rereferred to the C & L Committee for more work.
Allowing victims of domestic violence or sexual crimes to take care of court, health, or shelter issues during work hours, up to five days per year, without being fired from their jobs.
Bill: HB 2928 http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2006/2928.pdf
Passed the House 120-5. I voted YES.
The gift certificate bill has been fixed to protect retailers against potential fraud and protect consumers against expiration date abuse.
HB 2658: http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2006/2658.pdf
Passed the House 100-24. I voted YES.
Governmental Organizations and Elections
Nothing too interesting - we did increase penalties for driving with a suspended license.
See above information regarding my amendment to this bill.
(Besides session and committees 9 am - 5 pm)
§ KU v. MU basketball game on Saturday, and meeting with KU's External Affairs guru, Paul Carttar
§ Meeting with Bob Walker, Bayer Corporation, to discuss Kansas involvement international affairs and trade
§ Washburn University chili feed
§ Spoke with the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce Centurions program about the ramifications of TABOR (so-called "Taxpayer Bill of Rights")
§ DeSoto KNEA lunch
§ Concrete Day at the Capitol - Sheridan's custard!
§ Johnson County Delegation lunch sponsored by Johnson County Government
§ Greater KC Homebuilders reception
Johnson County Statehouse Hotline - Call Topeka for free! Dial 913.715.5000 and ask for your Representative or Senator. If you don't know, simply give them your address and they'll head you in the right direction!
Please do not hesitate to contact me about these or any other issues of interest to you. I appreciate the opportunity to represent you in Topeka.
Rep. Stephanie Sharp
17th District, Kansas House
Serving Lenexa and Shawnee
Topeka phone: 785-296-7654 (Note: this is a change from last year.)