October 24, 2003
Greetings from your State Representative in the 17th District. It has been a busy couple of weeks since I last wrote, but there are legislative developments I want to pass along. For those of you that are new to The Sharp Record, I try very hard not to waste your time if there is no substantive information that would be helpful to my constituents (I refuse to add spam to your Inbox!). Enjoy this edition of The Sharp Record.
Topics in this edition:
Boy Scout Forum
Streamlined Sales Tax meeting with Governor Sebelius
No Child Left Behind and School Report Cards
Interim Committee Schedule
Where’s (Waldo) Sharp? October 1 – October 26, 2003
Boy Scout Forum
Is your Boy Scout working on 1st Class Requirements, or need to speak with an elected official to complete a badge? 17th District resident, Tracy Clark, has organized an all-district Boy Scout town hall forum for me this Sunday, October 26, 2003 at Westside Family Church, 6601 Monticello in Shawnee, from 2:00-4:00 pm. I encourage you to bring your Scout and stay for the conversation – you will have plenty of time to get to the stadium for the 7:30 pm Chiefs game!
Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) meeting with Governor
On Monday, October 20, Governor Sebelius met with about 100 members of the public at the Lenexa Barn complex to discuss the challenges this new law presents to business owners. The SST law changes the collection of sales taxes from point-of-sale, to destination based.
What does this mean for you?
If you buy a new couch at Nebraska Furniture Mart and have it delivered to your home in Red Oak, you will pay Shawnee sales tax, instead of Wyandotte County. Similarly, if you purchase a coordinating chair at Benchmark Furniture and load it in the back of your SUV, you will pay the Olathe sales tax. Confused yet? Imagine pizza and floral delivery! A different sales tax for every pizza! (There are about 25 different sales tax rates in Johnson County alone.)
There will be software available to upgrade to this law, but the costs are high for many small businesses. Many alternatives are being discussed:
1. Tax credits for software, hardware, or consulting services
to change over your sales tax system.
2. Further delay of enforcement. Currently, the Governor has placed an informal moratorium on enforcement of the bill until it can be further researched. At the forum on Monday, Governor Sebelius said for the meantime, businesses can collect the tax the new way, or the old way, and will not be penalized in retrospect.
3. Repeal or major overhaul of the law? The Governor put this problem entirely in the hands of the legislature, and it will certainly be a major topic of discussion when the session starts in January.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and School Report Cards
The definitions listed below are what the State Board of Education uses for its “Report Card” reports on schools. Many are complaining that the expectations are too high – but check out how “proficient” is defined. Wouldn’t you want YOUR child to at least be “proficient?”
There is so much misinformation out there about this act - no one really knows which end is up (including me, Congressmen, Senators, etc.) because that information changes daily… I have heard that from administrators, teachers, and parents alike. Even the loudest opponents of the bill will agree that the intent is good – everyone wants children and schools to succeed. It’s implementation and enforcement that poses the problem, both for states that do not have funding to do it, and the federal government who passed a bill with a multitude of unintended (and unknown?) consequences.
The following are the basic definitions, but I would encourage ALL parents to check out the information about your school, compare it to the Shawnee Mission School District statistics, and then the state statistics, at: http://online.ksbe.state.ks.us/rcard/searchpage.aspx
Kansas Assessment Performance Levels
Exemplary: Students who perform at the exemplary level on the Kansas State Assessments consistently demonstrate high performance. These students have a well-developed ability to apply knowledge and skills in all situations. Their work is superior.
Advanced: Students who perform at the advanced level on the Kansas State Assessments frequently demonstrate high performance. These students effectively demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge and skills in most situations. They have a command of difficult, rigorous and challenging material.
Proficient: Students who perform at the proficient level on the Kansas State Assessments demonstrate a mastery of core skills. These students exhibit competence in applying knowledge and skills in most problem situations. They show evidence of solid performance.
Basic: Students who perform at the basic level on the Kansas State Assessments show partial mastery of fundamental skills. These students have a basic knowledge of content, but struggle in applying knowledge and skills in problem situations.
Unsatisfactory: Students who perform at the unsatisfactory level on the Kansas State Assessments demonstrate a lack of core knowledge, skills and concepts. Their command of the content is very limited and their ability to apply knowledge or demonstrate understanding is minimal.
House hearings are approaching (Nov. 6-7) on the new Worker’s Comp legislation that passed the Senate last year. If you have aggravated a pre-existing condition on the job, or are an employer with concerns about pre-existing conditions and your Worker’s Compensation claims, I would encourage you to become an active participant – legislators NEED to hear from people on the front lines, not just the lobbyists who represent you. While lobbyists are a fantastic resource for us, we need to hear from YOU!! Please email me if you are at all interested, and we can talk about how you can get involved.
Here is the Interim Committee schedule – you may see an
upcoming hearing on your area of expertise!
Where’s (Waldo) Sharp? October 1 – October 26,
* Shawnee Mission School District “Follow A Scholar” program, THANKS MILL CREEK! Kelsey Hulse was my scholar – I had a GREAT time!
* KU-KSU legislative reception and football game (I’m wearing “neutral” since I did not attend either school!)
* Spoke to the government class and an all-school assembly at Midland Academy
* American Royal Governor’s reception
* 5 one-on-one constituent meetings
* Southwestern College career fair, speaking with students about public service (new pics on the website!)
* 3 interest group meetings regarding upcoming Worker’s Compensation legislation
* JOCO/WYCO Credit Union Association legislative reception
* Lenexa Chamber of Commerce luncheon and Business After Hours
* Society of Professional Engineers legislative agenda reception
* Good Morning Overland Park Chamber breakfast
* Governor Sebelius SST forum
I hope this edition of The Sharp Record is helpful for you, and as always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas!