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SPOTLIGHT
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Chambers come together to act on legislation

Published on -4/9/2013, 2:18 PM

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I don't know what to say about last week. Going into the week, we were hoping to have a tax and budget plan by Friday. This did not happen, as the House and Senate were not able to compromise on many key issues.

It was very interesting to chair a conference committee for the first time. There are many procedural steps, and to learn the procedures plus working with the other house on bill content was very challenging.

This past week, the House did approve a bill allowing a veteran designation of Kansas driver's licenses and non-driver IDs. Anyone who served in the military and left with an honorable discharge can choose to have "veteran" printed on their driver's license by providing the correct documentation.

In addition, the Department of Revenue will share the names and locations of veterans with the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs. The commission will notify the veterans of facilities, benefits and services available.

There has been no move to change current laws to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. The House did vote on and pass a measure that takes a big step forward in working to dig Kansas out of the $9 billion shortfall in the KPERS system. HB 2403 proposes to sell $1.5 billion in Kansas bonds to invest in KPERS.

What is pointed out is that we already have the liability side for KPERS, so this is not new debt for Kansas. What it does do is take advantage of the state's ability to borrow money at low interest rates and use that money to attempt to yield a higher rate of return in other investments. In this case, this effort is about 10 percent of the portfolio. The thought is that interest cannot go much lower, so this is a low-risk way to earn returns that take advantage of current circumstances.

I return to the Capitol for Omnibus on April 28 and 29 for appropriations meetings. We will adjust the budget recommendations in the House on bills passed so far this year that have fiscal notes adding cost to the state general fund.

Ward Cassidy, R-St. Francis, represents the 120th District in the Kansas House of Representatives. ward.cassidy@house.ks.gov

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