From the dome to the home

Rep. Troy Waymaster, 109th Kansas House District
Troy Waymaster

Make Kansas Work Plan

Last week and again this week, the Kansas House passed two bills that were initially part of the Make Kansas Work Plan that was developed during the legislative session of 2020. The two bills from the Make Kansas Work Plan that passed the House were the Kansas Promise Scholarship Act and the Targeted Employment Act.

The Kansas Promise Scholarship Act is modeled on the successful Tennessee Promise Act, although the Kansas version is modified to further enhance workforce development.

Under this bill, scholarships are offered to Kansas graduates who agree to complete a certificate or two-year program in the state’s high needs for labor. Those students participating in the act must work part-time or perform community service during their education and commit to remaining in Kansas post-graduation.

The Targeted Employment Act provides for integrated workshops where those with disabilities could work alongside those who receive public assistance and want to work.

The bill states that private businesses that send work to an integrated employment center would receive a tax credit so long as the workers are paid at least minimum wage and offered benefits upon full employment.

These two bills were debated on the House floor Monday, March 15. The Kansas Promise Scholarship Act passed the House with a vote of 115-9. The Targeted Employment Act passed the House with a vote of 123-1. and delays implementation until 2022. I voted “yes” on both of these bills for the Make Kansas Work Plan.

In-Person Attendance for K-12 Students

In February, Senate Bill 235 was introduced in the Kansas Senate that would require all unified school districts in the state of Kansas to provide a full-time, in-person attendance option for all students enrolled in kindergarten through the twelfth grade. The requirement for in-person attendance, according to the bill, would take effect on March 26, 2021 for the 2020-2021 academic school year and every school year after.

The purpose of this bill was stated by the proponents that remote and/or hybrid learning models have negatively impacted students, including learning loss, increased anxiety, and mental health issues. When this bill was debated and voted on in the Senate it passed, 28-12, and on March 16, 2020 the House voted this bill and it did not pass by a vote of 55-69. I voted “yes” on Senate Bill 235.

Bills Passed the House

I have received numerous correspondence on House Bill 2089, which is one of the bills that we debated this past week.

House Bill 2089, commonly referred to as the Eddie Eagle bill, establishes curriculum for school districts to teach firearm safety. For students that are in Kindergarten through the fifth grade, they will use the Eddie Eagle gun safety program from the National Rifle Association. However, if the student is in the sixth through the eighth grade, they will use the Eddie Eagle gun safety program or the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks hunter safety program. Then, if the student is in ninth or twelfth grade, they will use the KDWP’s hunter safety program. This bill was voted on in the House on Thursday with a vote of 75-47, and I voted “yes.”

The Appropriations Committee this week began deliberations on the House version of the budget bill. We began discussing all of the items of the state budget.

One of the largest items that the Committee had to address was the reinserting of approximately $177 million in the budget since Governor Kelly’s proposal to reamortize the unfunded liability did not pass the legislature.

There was also much discussion about some of the allotments that the Governor had imposed at the beginning of the current fiscal year on July 1. The Committee reviewed all of the allotments made by the Governor and decided to reinstate some of those allotments and place them in the budget. We anticipate debate on the budget bill in the House next week.

Contact Information

Anytime that one would like to participate and listen to the developments of committee hearings or discussion on the House floor, one can tune in by listening to the audio footage at www.kslegislature.org.

As always, if you have any concerns, feel free to contact me (785) 296-7672, follow on twitter at @waymaster4house, or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov. Please contact me regarding any issues and legislation that we are discussing during session.