Fast facts

HB 2017 was the first bill signed into law of the 2017 session. This bill relates to vacancy elections and changes the minimum number of signatures of registered voters required for an independent candidate to petition for nomination to fill a congressional vacancy to 3,000.

There were 60 bills introduced this past week bringing the total number of bills introduced in the House to 121.

Four bills have already passed out of committee last week and now sit “below the line” on the House calendar.

Kancare update

The afternoon of Jan. 19, news broke that our state’s application to the federal government to extend KanCare — Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program that provides overage for over 400,000 individuals — for another year, was denied. The House Health and Human Services Committee received a briefing on the issue from Secretary Susan Mosier of Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Monday.

Taxation committee

On Jan. 17, our Committee heard from Jay Langley on behalf of the Kansas Society of CPAs. He provided information on the non-wage business income exemption, and presented his organization’s consensus on a full repeal, retroactive repeal, and a Kansas tax rate increase.

On Jan. 18, we heard from Acting Secretary Sam Williams, regarding the Governor’s Tax Plan. He provided the committee the assumptions the department made in creating the estimates associated with each part of the proposal.

On Jan. 19, we held a hearing on HB 2023. As written, the bill would require non-wage business income to be included as income for Kansas income tax purposes. This would begin in tax year 2017. The fiscal note on the bill will be updated by the Department of Revenue, as the estimates of revenue were too low per Williams.

Over 30 conferees signed up to provide testimony on the bill. The committee heard nearly five hours of testimony, from several businesses, organizations, and private citizens, and concluded the hearing Monday.

Live streaming

The 2016 Legislature authorized the expansion of livestreaming committee rooms in the Statehouse. Previously, only the Old Supreme Court Room (346-S) could livestream.

For the 2017 Session, Rooms 112-N, 548-S, and 582-N are now livestreaming (audio only). Kansans can listen in live to the following Committee meetings:

112-N: House Appropriations (9 a.m.); House Commerce, Labor, and Economic Development (1:30 p.m.); and House Judiciary (3:30 p.m.)

346-S: House Federal and State Affairs (9 a.m.); Senate Judiciary (10:30 a.m.); K-12 Education Budget Committee (1:30 p.m.); and House Taxation (3:30 p.m.). 346-S streams both audio and video feed.

548-S: Senate Commerce (8:30 a.m.); Senate Assessment and Taxation (9:30 a.m.); Senate Ways and Means Committee (10:30 a.m.); and Senate Utilities (1:30 p.m.)

582-N: House Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications (9 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays); House Water and Environment (9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays); House Transportation (1:30 p.m.); and House Agriculture (3:30 p.m.)

To listen in live, go to the Kansas Legislature’s website's Committee page: http://kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/committees/ and click on the specific committee that you are interested in following. Financing for the livestreaming project was made possible from grants from the Information Network of Kansas Board.

— Les Mason represents much of McPherson County in the Kansas House of Representatives.