Where We Stand At The End of a Long Week in the #KSLeg

The Kansas Legislature has adjourned for a long weekend with plans to reconvene next week for conference committee work. Over the past few days, the legislature has advanced bills attacking public education, elections, and transgender youth. Here's where we stand right now.

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Public Education

  • SB 496, the so-called "Parents' Bill of Rights," passed out of the Senate on a vote of 24:15, with Republican Senators Brenda Dietrich, John Doll, Jeff Longbine, and Kristen O'Shea joining Democrats in opposition. It has been referred to the House Committee on K-12 Education Budget. The Senate amended it on the floor to remove the language regarding vaccinations and immunizations, but it still reads "a parent has a right to be able to make healthcare and medical decisions for their child," calling into question whether or not immunizations would still fall under these categories.
  • HB 2662, the House version of the "Parents' Bill of Rights" with the addition of a "transparency portal" passed out of committee. It somehow stayed below the line on the House Calendar this week, keeping it in a holding pattern for now.
  • Vouchers, or the so-called "Education Savings Accounts," were pulled from the open enrollment bill (sub HB 2615) before passing out of the House K-12 Education Budget Committee. They do not currently exist within any active bills.

LGBTQ Equality

  • SB 484, the bill attacking trans youth, passed out of the Senate on a vote of 27:12 with Republican Sen. Brenda Dietrich joining Democrats in opposition. An emotional debate took place on the Senate floor about the impact this would have on LGBTQ youth, who are already twice as likely as their cisgender peers to attempt suicide. A proposed amendment by Sen. John Doll that would have limited the ban to trans girls in high school through college was voted down. The bill was subsequently referred to the House Committee on Education.

Voter Rights

  • Senate sub HB 2056, the Frankenstein voter suppression bill that would make it harder to vote by reducing the amount of time for voter registration, decreasing the number of drop boxes available, and eliminating the three-day voter protection period for mailed ballots, passed the Senate after a late night final vote of 22:17 with 6 Republican Senators joining Democrats in opposition. An amendment was added that requires drop boxes to be monitored when open by either an employee of a county election office, staff at a municipal building, or two authorized poll agents from different political parties when located outside of a municipal building.

Redistricting

  • Both the Senate and House map have cleared their originating Chambers, with the House bundling both maps together into sub SB 563 and passing them on a final vote of 112:9. The final House map - Free State 3f - was largely praised on the House floor for being bipartisan and responsive to legislator input. The Senate was less complimentary on the approach to creating the Senate map - Liberty 3 - with a final vote of 28:8 with a few Democrats and Republicans crossing the aise.
  • The State Board of Education map - Apple - has been introduced in the Senate and will receive a hearing on Monday.

Other Things to Watch 

  • HB 2717, a bill to overturn the recently passed Wyandotte County Safe and Welcoming City Act, was passed out of the House on a vote of 84:38 with Republican Rep. Dave Baker joining Democrats in opposition.
  • SB 541a monster bill that includes multiple public health and vaccine-related provisions and adds “philosophical objections” to required school vaccine exemptions, was passed by the Senate on a vote of 24:14 after being amended to add language prohibiting governmental entities or public officials from restricting worship services or activities.
  • Senate sub HB 2280which would allow for an expansion of religious exemptions for childhood immunizations and make it easier to receive unproven treatments, such as ivermectin, for Covid, passed the Senate on a vote of 21:16 with 5 Republican Senators joining Democrats in opposition and 2 present and passing.
  • HB 2711, the surviving bill to eliminate the food tax passed out committee but has not been scheduled for a House floor vote. 
  • Constitutional amendments - several attempts to place proposed constitutional amendments on the Primary or General Election ballot were taken up by the House and Senate this week, including:
    • SCR 1620, proposing a constitutional amendment to require a supermajority for passage of certain bills containing new or increased state taxes, did not pass the Senate.
    • SCR 1621, proposing a constitutional amendment to provide that the governor will appoint supreme court justices subject to senate confirmation and to eliminate the supreme court nominating commission, did not receive the required 2/3 majority to pass on final action.
    • SCR 1622, proposing a constitutional amendment to provide for partisan, statewide election of justices of the supreme court and abolish the supreme court nominating commission, did not pass out of the Senate.
    • HCR 5014, proposing a constitutional amendment that provides for legislative oversight of rules and regulations adopted by executive branch agencies and officials, squeaked by with a vote of 27:12 in the Senate after already clearing the House in February. This will be placed on the November ballot.
    • HCR 5022, Proposing a constitutional amendment requiring that a sheriff be elected in each county passed on a final action vote of 36:2. This will join the constitutional amendment on reproductive rights in the August 2 special election.
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published this page in Blog 2022-03-25 12:50:21 -0500
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