Here’s an overview of events and activity in the Kansas Senate this past week:

Floor Action:

Senate bill 262 is the authorization of the construction of a stature honoring Dwight D. Eisenhower. It authorizes the Capitol Preservation Committee to approve plans to place a permanent statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower on the northwest quadrant of Kansas Capitol grounds. No public funds would be used to construct the statue and pedestal. The monument will be an exact replica of the statue created by Lawrence native, Jim Brothers, which currently resides in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.

Transferring Duties from Judicial Administration to Director of Property Valuation (SB 261) revises the law requiring an appraisal prior to the State purchasing or disposing of any real property. The bill transfers the duty to appoint a disinterested appraiser from the Judicial Administrator to the Director of Property Valuation, the head of the Department of Revenue's Division of Property Valuation. This bill passed the Senate 39-0.

Medicaid Suspension Bill Heads to Senate:

On Tuesday, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee sent SB 195 out of committee to the Senate. SB 195 would suspend instead of eliminate eligibility for Medicaid benefits for those in prison, jail, or mental health facilities. The bill does not require the person to reapply for their KanCare coverage therefore allowing them to immediately receive benefits when they are released from a state facility.

Supporters of the bill believe it will lower recidivism rates since it will provide access to continuous mental health coverage. A mental health task force had recommended the policy to legislators earlier this month.

Cybersecurity Act:

On Thursday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on SB 342 which enacts the Kansas Cybersecurity Act. The Cybersecurity Act focuses on making data in the state more secure. Throughout the past eight years, the bill has taken various forms while the need for cybersecurity has steadily increased.

The bill aims to protect Kansas from cyber-attacks, loss of sensitive information, and financial liability due to breaches of information. SB 342 would focus on providing a secure network to the executive branch agency, with the exclusion of elected office agencies, regents' institutions, or the board of regents. Non-governmental agencies would be required to provide their own security services.

Online Sales Tax Hearing:

This week the Joint Tax Committee heard from the South Dakota Attorney General's office on their pending lawsuit before the United States Supreme Court regarding online sales tax. South Dakota passed legislation that would require sales tax to be remitted to the state from remote sellers who do not have a physical presence within the state but have what is considered an economic presence. '

This comes after a growing concern from many states that are seeing sluggish sales tax receipts due to more Americans shopping online rather than in-store.

The Attorney General of South Dakota recommended that Kansas write an amicus brief in support of South Dakota's efforts. This would have to come from the Kansas Attorney General.

Keep up with the Legislature

Visit www.kslegislature.org to keep up to date on bills, calendars, or journals, as well as stream the live audio for committee meetings. Follow the legislature's YouTube channel, KS Legislature, to stream House and Senate sessions live, or watch the recordings afterward. 

Sen. Richard E. Wilborn represents District 34 in the Kansas Senate.