Hello from Agra. The 2018 Kansas Legislative session is over and all us are back home either getting ready for the upcoming election or getting ready for the next chapter of our life. Congratulations to the high school and college graduates, I wish you well in your future activities.
Today, I wanted to share some of the numbers of this biennium (at the time this is written): 799 House bills introduced; 243 House bills passed and sent to the Senate; 131 House bills passed by the Senate; 105 House bills signed by the governor; three House bills vetoed by the governor; one House bill became law without the governor’s signature; 462 Senate bills introduced; 157 Senate bills passed and sent to the House; 103 Senate bills passed by the House; 86 Senate bills signed by the governor; one Senate bill vetoed by the governor.
No Senate bills became law without the governor’s signature. All of these bills started out as an idea, either to improve something or limit something. Some were introduced by individuals, some by groups, some by committees. Of those that did not make it through the process to the governor’s desk, how many will be re-introduced in January?
In Kansas we do a biennium (two-year) budget in the first year of a new session then come back the next year and make adjustments according to priorities and available funds. The Department of Revenue continues to report sales tax receipts are coming in larger than projected, so that has led to funding some much needed priorities that have not been funded as proposed in the past. Some of the highlights include:
• Adding $3.25 million to the State Water Fund, including dollars to go for sorghum research at Kansas State University, which will be leveraged with private dollars to make a greater impact.
• $15 million for partial restoration of the 4 percent cut to the Board of Regents/institutions.
• Fully funded the $194 million KPERS payment that had been deferred, ensuring that the full payment is made during FY 19 and FY 20.
• Completely funded Human Services Caseloads, ensuring funding is provided for the needs of some of the most vulnerable Kansans. A total of $18.2 million SGF was added for FY 18 and $28.3 million for FY 19 to address foster care needs. $15 million of the FY 18 total was for foster care caseloads and $20.3 million was the FY 19 total. A total of 20 FTE was added as Child Welfare Staff. Additional funding was provided for emergency beds, increasing kinship payments, and a protection investigator position. $2 million from TANF funding is budgeted for Family Preservation.
• Reduced State Highway Fund transfers to the Department of Education by $57 million, leaving more state funding in KDOT.
• Provided salary adjustments to state employees who did not receive a salary adjustment in 2017. Additionally, uniformed corrections officers received a 5.0 percent pay raise, along with non-judicial employees in the Judicial Branch. Judges received a 2-percent pay increase.
There are other highlights of the session, which will be discussed in the coming weeks. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to me. You can email: firstname.lastname@example.org, my personal cell number is (785) 302-8416.
Ken Rahjes, R-Agra, represents the 110th District in the Kansas House.