Turnaround Day Has Arrived

On Feb. 28, the Legislature officially reached the halfway point, known as Turnaround Day. Turnaround marks the last day for non-exempt bills to be considered in their house of origin.

That means we will now shift our focus primarily to working bills that were passed by the Senate during this first half of session, while the Senate takes up bills that were passed by the House

This past week was exclusively devoted to debating bills and moving the process forward. A total of 34 bills were vetted and approved on the House floor this week. They will now go to the Senate for consideration

Legislators return to Topeka on March 6 th for the second half of the Session. We should see action on issues like the budget, school finance, and taxes as we work to address the key priorities facing our families and our local businesses. The Legislature’s next deadline is April 5 th , known as First Adjournment

KPERS Bill Presented to the Governor

SB 9, hit the Governor’s desk on Tuesday, February 26. This is the KPERS stabilization bill that was passed unanimously by both the House and the Senate. The Governor has 10 days to consider whether to sign, veto, or allow the bill to become law without her signature.SB 9 helps keep our promise to KPERS - the retirement system for our teachers and other public employees - by paying off a $115 million debt that the state owes to the retirement plan.

Earlier in the session, the House resoundingly turned away HB 2197, which would have generated $160 million in short-term cash for increased state spending, but increased the state’s debt costs in KPERS by $7.4 million over the next 30 years. That bill, introduced on behalf of the Governor, failed on vote of 36-87 with both Democrats and Republicans opposing the reamortization effort.

By passing SB 9 and rejecting HB 2197, we can protect funding for our retirees, responsibly pay down the state’s debt, and ensure that the next generation isn’t left to pick up the tab for today’s spending.

Tax: SB 22

As we speak, the state is poised to inadvertently raise taxes on certain Kansans. If we do nothing, the effects of the Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act will trigger a tax increase on Kansans who itemize their mortgage interest, property taxes and medical expenses, as well as on several of the state’s largest employers. Senate Bill 22 seeks to change the Kansas tax code to address those changes, so Kansans can continue to itemize and so that employers are not hit with a tax hike on income that has historically never been taxed at the state level.

SB 22 would, also, reduce the sales tax on certain foods by one percent and give help to working Kansans every single time they go to the grocery store. SB 22 would, also, close a loophole that makes Kansas brick-and-mortar businesses collect sales taxes, while out-of-state competitors have not. The bill also removes the line for out of state use tax from the Kansas K-40 return, so that Kansans are no longer tax collectors for other state’s businesses. Floor action on SB 22 is expected shortly.