April 5 was first adjournment. The Legislature will return on May 1 for veto session. Here are a few of the bills that passed last week that might be of interest to the 40th District.
H Sub SB16, House Substitute for Senate Bill 16 is the school finance plan that appropriates funds to the K-12 base aid for FY 2020 and FY 2021. The legislation supplements the state’s $525 million, five-year investment that passed last year, with a series of an additional $90 million over the next four years. The legislation was crafted to comply with the Kansas Supreme Court’s instructions to add an inflation adjustment and was supported by the Senate, the Board of Education, and Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. H Sub SB 16 did include some policy placed in by the House, including the Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program which provides a policy fix to allow for early intervention for at-risk elementary aged students. This bill was supported by Governor Kelly, the Senate and the Board of Education.
SB 67 passed and is an abortion pill reversal bill that would require certain notifications be posted in facilities where medication abortions that use mifepristone are provided and be given by physicians providing such abortions. The bill would provide relevant definitions and create civil and criminal penalties for violating the notification requirements. As currently administered, a chemical abortion involves taking the drug mifepristone, which makes the uterus inhospitable to new life by blocking the hormone progesterone. One or two days later, a second drug, misoprostol, is taken to induce contractions and expel the unborn child. The reversal process, which is gaining in usage as it becomes more widely known, can reverse the impact of the first drug by giving women high doses of progesterone. Doctors who developed the reversal say more than 400 unborn babies have been saved from abortion as a result of the treatment.
Senate substitute for House Bill 2167 will establish a commercial industrial HEMP program that would require the Kansas Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the governor and attorney general, to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding how the KDA will monitor and regulate the commercial production of industrial hemp within the state, in accordance with federal law. In addition, the bill would establish the Commercial Industrial Hemp Program; make changes to the Industrial Hemp Research Program; and establish hemp processing registrations, prohibitions on specific products, sentencing guidelines, and waste disposal requirements.
House Bill 2209 Association Health Plans allows the Kansas Farm Bureau to establish a health care benefit that offers coverage specifically for Farm Bureau members in Kansas. The contents of HB 2209 were originally included in Senate Bill 32 which passed the Senate on a vote of 28-11. The bill aims to reduce the number of uninsured Kansans by creating competition and free-market options for health care. Senate Bill 32 is the Farm Bureau’s solution to addressing the critical need for KFB members to find affordable health care coverage. A recent study pointed out that 65 percent of agriculture producers view health care as the number one threat to the future of their operation.
Rick Billinger, R-Goodland, serves the 40th District in the Kansas house.