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Bills debated after snowstorm

The blizzard conditions last week held off legislative action since state offices were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Legislative matters resumed on Thursday, February 6, 2014, and we debated the following bills before we recessed for the weekend.

House Bill 2514, which would alter the priorities in the liquidation of insolvent insurance companies where the Federal Home Loan bank is a secured creditor, states that no Federal Home Loan Bank shall be stayed, enjoined or prohibited from enforcing any right or cause of action regarding pledged collateral under any Federal Home Loan security agreement during an insurance company liquidation.

Another bill that we debated was House Bill 2223 which would amend the Kansas Liquor Control Act to allow homemade fermented beverages to be transported and consumed for exhibition, demonstration, class, judging, tasting, sampling or competition. This bill would allow clubs and other drinking establishments to hold these events as long as the homemade beverages are not sold but the licensee would be authorized to charge an admission fee for the event, just not for the consumption of the beverage. Homemade fermented beverages are defined in the bill as limited to beer or wine that is produced at a residence or another location only for personal consumption.

House Bill 2223 also stipulates a number of requirements regarding fermented beverages, such as, the possession, transportation or storage of homemade fermented beverages must be by a person at least 21 years of age; the production cannot exceed 100 gallons per person each calendar year or 200 gallons if the household has two or more persons 21 years old or older; these beverages cannot be for sale or offered for sale; and a person that produces, possesses, transports or stores homemade fermented beverages could not be deemed a manufacturer, microbrewery, microdistillery, farm winery, wholesaler, distributor, supplier or retailer.

Another bill that was debated on Friday, February 7, was House Bill 2516 which amends the Health Care Provider Insurance Availability Act. This bill requires the governing board of an association, which forms a mutual insurance company and provides health care provider liability insurance to approve, by resolution, any plan or agreement for the sale, merger, consolidation or change of control of the company.

House Bill 2516 would increase the Board of Governors membership of the Health Care Stabilization Fund (HCSF) from ten to 11 by adding a representative of adult care homes. All Board members are appointed by the Commissioner of Insurance. House Bill 2516 would also require HCSF tail coverage to equal the amount of an inactive provider's primary insurance plus the amount of the HCSF coverage selected and in effect at the time of the event resulting in a claim on commercial liability insurance. When

a health care provider has retired or otherwise discontinued his or her Kansas practice and had purchased $200,000 per claim commercial liability insurance and continuously paid surcharges for $800,000 HCSF coverage, the inactive provider would have $1.0 million per claim coverage instead of $800,000 per claim coverage.

House Bill 2516 would add the following healthcare providers to be covered by the HCSF: licensed physician assistants, licensed advanced practice nurses, licensed nursing facilities, licensed assisted living facilities, and licensed residential health care facilities. The bill would also delete references to HMOs, optometrists, and pharmacists who have not been covered by the HCSF for several years.

Finally, the bill would make several technical amendments such as replacing references to the Director of Accounts and Reports with references to the Secretary of Administration and replacing references to the Secretary of SRS with references to the Secretary of the Department for Children and Families or the Secretary for Aging and Disability Services.

Given the cold and snowy weather the state of Kansas has received, it is important to note that Governor Sam Brownback issued an executive order to grant temporary relief from motor carrier rules and regulations to ensure the continued delivery of propane to businesses and individuals across the state. As the propane levels in the Midwest are at record lows, more than 1400 Kansans are at risk of going without their primary heating source. The declaration provides relief for 30 days and applies only to motor carriers delivering propane directly in relief efforts. For a full description of Executive Order 14-02, visit https://governor.ks.gov or call (785) 368-8500.

The Kansas Department of Labor reported that the December seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, down from 5.1 percent in November. Kansas gained 10,100 seasonally adjusted private

sector jobs, an increase of 0.9 percent since last December, and 10,000 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 0.7 percent. This marks the first time since 2008 that the state's unemployment rate has fallen below 5 percent.

January tax receipts were $16.8 million more than expected, putting the state $21.1 million above estimates for FY 2014. Revenue receipts for three key economic indicators beat projections for January, further indicating that Kansas' economy continues to grow. Corporate income tax receipts finished the month 225 percent more than expected, or $11.2 million, while use tax receipts ended $5.7 million, or 16 percent above estimates. Individual income tax receipts were $4.5 million more than expected.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at (785) 296-7672 or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov. It is an honor to serve the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. I appreciate the perspectives from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas.

Rep. Troy L. Waymaster, R-Luray, represents the 109th House District, which includes portions of Smith, Osborne, Russell and Rush counties.

troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov