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SPOTLIGHT
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Clock is ticking on redistricting fight

Published on -5/7/2012, 9:16 AM

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After a nice break, we were back to work to bring the 2012 session to its completion, which is scheduled for Friday.

One issue that is most pressing has been creating jobs and strengthening the state’s economy. During the 2011 and 2012 sessions, the House has considered and passed a variety of broad-scale tax policies aimed at reducing the tax burden on the residents of Kansas. 

On Thursday, with our counterpart, the Senate, an agreement was reached.

This will bring relief through reduced sales tax rates, property tax relief, and decreased sales tax rates from 6.3 percent to 5.7 percent. 

Still no agreement has been made on the redistricting of the House, Senate, congressional and State Board of Education maps. The majority of the House members feel that the proposed Senate district map violated most if not all the court requirements. One of the primary reasons states are required to endure the redistricting process is to ensure one person equals one vote. 

Long-standing court precedents require maps to minimize population deviations, avoid diluting the minority voting power, preserve county and municipal boundaries, create compact and contiguous districts, preserve existing districts, and unite communities of common interests. The clock is ticking toward the end of this year’s session, and we must do everything we can to resolve this issue.  
The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act prevents state dollars from being expended for an abortion, prevents tax credits and exemptions for abortion related expenses, stops insurance rider coverage for abortions and prohibits the state health plan from including abortion coverage.

The bill prevents: employers from taking an income tax credit for health care insurance for purchases of optimal health riders for abortion coverage; income tax credits for research and developmental activity expenditures for abortion procedures; income tax credits for community service organizations providing health services that include services involving abortions; deferred maintenance income credits for buildings where abortions are performed; and sales tax exemptions for abortion inducing drugs. A final vote is expected this week.

The amendment to the current law regarding hunting and fishing licensing fees for Kansas senior citizens is also expected this week.
The bill increases the age from 65 to 75 for persons who are exempt from paying license fees. 

In addition, the bill creates a resident hunting and fishing pass for those 65 and older, establishes an annual hunting or fishing license fee for residents between the ages of 65 and 74, and allows an annual combing hunting and fishing license for resident between the ages of 65 and 74. The bill also allows any person with a big game permit to use a crossbow during an archery big game season.  
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks contends the lack of fees on senior hunting and fishing licenses are jeopardizing the stability of wildlife programs.

God bless.

Dan Collins, R-Plainville, represents the 110th District in the Kansas House.
 dan.collins@house.ks.gov
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