KS Legislative Tracker

On this page we keep track of legislation in the KS Legislature in Topeka. These are the bills we have noticed and think important to keep in mind. As always, check our more immediate feeds for information that may be more up to date: email, Facebook, or Twitter. And check the Legislature's official Senate and House Actions Report, updated regularly.

Contact us if you'd like us to consider a particular bill or issue.

How legislation is made in KS: Here's a brief pdf from the Kansas Legislature on how a bill becomes law (or the long version, Kansas Legislative Procedures). Basically, laws are proposed and sent to a committee, where the chair determines if it should come up. It then receives a hearing, any amendments, etc and is voted on. If passed, it goes to the floor of the main chamber. The chamber leadership decides if it comes up, and if it does, it gets debated, amended, and voted upon. If passed, it goes to the other chamber, goes through the same process. If the two chambers disagree but pass the bill, a conference committee is formed to hash out differences. The compromise bill then has to get an up or down vote in each chamber. If passed, the Governor can sign it or veto it. These are the slim basics, but there are a lot of blind alleys and secret doors and hidden staircases the legislators can use in the process.

On the veto. The Governor has a line item veto, such that he (or she) can eliminate all or part of legislation. It takes a 2/3 vote of both chambers in the Legislature to overcome a veto, so 27/40 in the KS Senate, and 84/125 in the KS House.

A note about status: No bill is ever dead in the Kansas legislature. Knowing exactly the status of a bill is an art, and one few have mastered. Some bills thought dead can be brought up as amendments to other bills, though they must pass a test of germaneness (meaning they must be related to the subject of the original bill). Bills can also be hollowed out and have their previous content replaced by the content of another bill, in a move called a "gut and go." In this way, bills thought dead can come back at the expense of whatever bill was gutted to act as the host. Finally, the Kansas Legislature runs on a biennial schedule, meaning it resets every two years (at the same time as Representatives are elected to the House). Bills that are heard in the first year, but not acted upon, retain that status in the next year, and can be brought up again.

Deadlines and schedule for 2019: The session begins Jan 14, Turnaround is Feb 29, Drop Dead day is Apr 5, and the Veto Session is anticipated to start May 1. Anticipated 2019 Session Deadlines (Source: KS Legislature)

Here are previous sessions: 201820172016


2019 Kansas Legislative Session

January 14, 2019 - Sine die May 29, 2019
Last updated June 10, 2019


Budget, Taxes, and Financing the business of the State
Public Education & Finance
Health Care
Other Bills of Note


Budget, Taxes, and Financing the business of the State

Governor Kelly's proposed budget includes money for several of the state's obligations, fully funds public education in compliance with the Kansas Supreme Court, reduces reliance on KDOT funds, and leaves a budget surplus for emergencies. It does so by re-amortizing the KPERS funding long delayed by former Gov. Brownback's administration.

Most of the visible work on this issue has been around SB22, Sen. President Wagle's attempt to give tax breaks to high earning individuals and multi-national corporations with a presence in Kansas. The cost is not exactly known, but estimates have it currently at $200 million to Kansas. Compare that to the $91 million the Governor has requested to finally fully fund public schools, a state function that improves the life of every Kansas child. The bill did pass, but Governor Kelly has vetoed it, and the Legislature could not find the votes to attempt an override.

The Legislature has also fixated on making long-due payments to KPERS in SB9, the state retirement system, after happily delaying payments and mortgaging the state during the Brownback Administration. Gov. Kelly suggest re-amortizing the payments, extending the end date but lowering annual payments (and then actually paying them on time), but that plan was rejected by Republican Leadership. SB9 passed, and was reluctantly signed by the Governor.

Of course, a budget is required by law, and there are omnibus budget bills working their way through the Legislature. True to form, none were completed by the end of the regular session, and they had some difficulty passing one in the Veto Session, but in the end they did (H Sub for SB25), also passing a slimmed down version of Sen. Wagle's tax giveaway, now call HB 2033.

Update June 10, 2019: In the end the Governor vetoed a portion of SB 25, the budget bill, and also the entirety of Hb 2033, the return of the tax windfall giveaway. The Legislature managed to overturn her veto on the budget bill, but not the tax giveaway, and the session ended.


Public Education & Finance

Governor Kelly proposed to fully fund public school education, as required by the Kansas Supreme Court, keeping the finance plan adopted last year and approved by the Court. Her inflationary total would not cover all the inflation needs, but is agreed upon by the Gannon plaintiffs, and so would meet the legal requirements. But Republican Leadership has discussed other options, including scrapping the plan entirely, only honoring the first three of the five years, and not funding the inflationary increase (they argue the amount would be well above the Governor's $90-some million).

The Court will return to the case on April 15. The Kansas Attorney General had asked the Legislature to have something prepared by Feb. 29 if they intend to change the formula, or by March 15 if they only intend to change the amount of money allocated, so that he can prepare his arguments. Legislative Leadership ignored his request, of course. The Legislature finally passed a bill on April 4, in the end called H Sub for SB16, that offers up the Governor's suggested funding, with a few policies attached. The Governor signed it, and it was presented to the Court, along with arguments. A ruling is expected before the July 1 start of the fiscal year.


Health Care

KanCare expansion came within three votes of overriding Gov. Brownback's veto in 2017, but got no traction last year (with the same lawmakers in the Legislature...). This year, Gov. Kelly has convened a team to explore how to get expansion accomplished. Despite lots of activism, including by MainStream at our Time to Act events, prospects are dim. The House did manage to force a vote on it, and passed it, but the Senate looks to try to avoid a vote. As it stands, a motion was made in the Kansas Senate to pull the bill out of committee for a vote on the Senate floor. The motion fell short by one vote. In the House, an effort was mounted to force a vote on expansion in the Senate by blocking the end-of-year budget, but although the coalition held strong for two votes, one the third vote a budget was passed, and Medicaid expansion was shelved until next year.

But a bill to allow Farm Bureau to set up health insurance outside of the oversight of the Insurance Commissioner (SB32) received support from Republican Leadership. FB promises lower premiums for rural customers, but nothing in the bill prevents them from offering it in urban communities, or rejecting patients for pre-existing conditions or emerging conditions, or dropping patients that end up being too expensive to insure. This bill was bundled with other bills in conference committee and passed.

  • HB2066 SHELVED - This was a bill updating nursing practices, but on 3/20/19, an attempt was successfully made on the House floor to gut it and insert the content of HB2102, to expand Medicaid. It passed, and then languished in the Senate, but a last minute maneuver to pull it out of committee for a vote was made on the last day of the regular session. A vote will be held on that maneuver when the Legislature reconvenes on May 1, 2019. If successful, it will be followed by votes on the Senate floor to could lead to passage of KanCare Expansion.
  • HB2209 PASSED - This bill will allow the Farm Bureau to offer health insurance policies outside of the oversight of the Kansas Insurance Commissioner, allowing them to not cover pre-existing conditions, terminate coverage at any time (if a covered person becomes pregnant, for example), and charge more for some patients. Also, other health care measures were bundled with this bill, including Association Health Plans.
    • Originally SB32, that bill passed the Senate 28 to 11.
    • In the House it received a hearing, but no action. It was then bundled into HB2209 in Conference Committee, along with other bills, making it difficult to defeat without defeating those other bills, too. The conference report passed by the Senate 28-12, and the by House 84-39, and was sent to the Governor on 4/5/2019.
  • SB54 and HB2102 - Establishing the KanCare bridge to a healthy Kansas program. These are the bills to give 150,000 working Kansas access to health insurance, bring back $700 million Kansas taxpayers send to the Federal Government for health care (that now goes to other states that have expanded), and add up to 3,000 health care jobs to the state's economy. They have not even received hearings in committee. SB54 did not survive turnaround, but HB2102 is in an exempt committee. Neither bill advanced, and the contents of the measure were inserted into HB2066, above.
  • None of these other bills survived Turnaround: SB31, SB34, SB36HB2029, HB2030HB2074, HB2089, SB113, SB109,

Other Bills of Note

There are a number of other bills covering issues Kansans care about. Here are some of them.

Children and Families

  • SB218 - Requiring a duly ordained minister of religion or an employee of or volunteer for a religious organization to report certain abuse and neglect of children. It was passed by the Senate 39-0, but does not appear to have been heard in the House. (See also SB37)

  • These bills did not get past Turnaround:
    • HB2025 - Including a person who has filed a petition for adoption in the definition of an interested party in the child in need of care code.
    • HB2157 - Concerning state benefit requirements and limitations for the temporary assistance for needy families program.

Employment

  • None of these bills made it past Turnaround:
    • HB2060 - Repealing prohibition on municipal regulation of paid leave for employees.
    • HB2061 - Repealing prohibition on municipal regulation of minimum wages.
    • HCR5008 - The Right to Work For Less Act

Guns

  • HB2326 - This bill began as a "reciprocity" bill, allowing 18 year-olds with concealed carry permits from other states to carry legally in Kansas. It was amended, as was expected, to allow Kansas 18 year-olds to carry a concealed handgun, as well. The bill passed the House 83-41, but did not receive a vote in the Senate, and is likely dead for this year.

  • None of these bills received votes before the end of the regular session
    • SB8 - Purchase of a firearm; three-day waiting period, background check.
    • HB2036 - Repeal of prohibition on use of state appropriated moneys to lobby on gun control issues.
    • HB2111 - Requirements for the sale of firearms at gun shows or over the internet.
    • HB2129 - Creating the gun safety red flag act.
    • HB2234 - Creating the voluntary gun safe act.
  • These bills did not make it through Turnaround, and may be considered "dead"
    • SB80 - Increasing the criminal penalty for criminal possession of a weapon by a felon and adding ammunition to the definition of weapon.

Justice Reform

  • These bills did not survive the Turnaround deadline, and can be considered "dead"
    • SB21 - Abolishing the death penalty and creating the crime of aggravated murder.
    • SB103 - Increasing criminal penalties for hate crimes.
    • HB2079 - Removing the spousal exception from sexual battery.
    • HB2208 - Creating the crime of sexual extortion.

LGBTQ+ Rights

  • These bills did not receive a vote before the end of the regular session.
    • HB2130 - Amending the Kansas act against discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
    • HB2164 - Repealing the adoption protection act.
  • These bills did not make it through Turnaround and could be considered "dead"
    • SB84 - Amending the Kansas act against discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. 
    • HB2320 - Enacting the marriage and constitution restoration act, a ridiculous, hateful bill to limit the rights of LGBTQ+ Kansans.

Transparency

  • These bills did not receive a vote before the end of the regular session.
    • HB2067 - Providing for audio and video broadcasts of legislative meetings.
    • HB2069 - Providing certain requirements regarding the taking of minutes of legislative committees.
  • These bills did not get through Turnaround and are considered "dead"
    • SB3 - Election commissioners of large counties to be appointed by board of county commissioners instead of by secretary of state.
    • SB51 - Governmental ethics: two-year restriction on lobbying by former elected and appointed state officials.
    • HB2010 - Lobbying restrictions; certain elected state officers and executive staff.
    • HB2219 - Requiring bodies subject to the Kansas open meetings act to record proceedings and make the recordings available to the public.

Elections/Voting

  • SB130 PASSED - The final version of this bill also added content from SB129. As passed, this bill would do two things. First, it would require county elections officers make an attempt to contact voters whose advance ballots would otherwise be thrown out because of missing or unmatched signatures. Second, subject to the decision of the county election officer, it would allow any voter in that county to vote at any county polling location. It passed the House 119-3, and the Senate 38-1, and was sent to the Governor.
  • SB105 PASSED - Elections; cities; date for taking office. This bill gives some local control to cities for when newly elected officers begin their terms. It passed both House and Senate unanimously and was sent to the Governor.
  • HB2018 and HB2042 - Blessed and moved to an exempt committee - Removing power of secretary of state to prosecute election crimes. It passed the House but was not brought up in the Senate.

  • These bills did not get through Turnaround, and are considered "dead"
    • SB43 - Elections; registration; election day registration. (Sponsored by Senators Pettey, Bollier, Doll, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Miller, Skubal, Sykes, Ware = average 97%)
    • SB115 - Interstate compact on the agreement among the states to elect the president by national popular vote.
    • SB129 - Allow voters to vote at any polling place within a county if approved by the county election officer.
    • HB2090 - Automatic Voter Registration, "Voter registration; departments of aging and disability services; children and families; labor and state board of education."
    • HB2091 - Allowing early voting in person at least 10 days prior to an election.
    • HB2092 - Allowing voter registration on election day.
    • HB2189 - Elections; voting provisional ballot allowed when voter moves to a new county without reregistering.

Women's Reproductive Health

  • SB67 VETOED - A bill that would require doctors inform patients about "abortion reversal," a procedure with no scientific evidence of efficacy, and some concerns about safety. Professional organizations call it an unethical practice. The bill eventually died, the result of not having enough votes in the House to override the Governor's veto.
    • The original bill, HB2274, was passed by the House, 85-35, after much floor debate on 3/26/2019.
    • But HB2274 never did receive a hearing in the Senate, and instead was put into the shell of a gutted bill, SB67, in conference committee.
    • SB67 was passed by the House (again) on the conference committee report on 4/5/2019, 85-35, and headed to the Senate, which also passed it, 26-11.
  • These bills did not receive votes before the end of the regular session.
    • HCR5004 - While this bill did not get a vote, it was moved to an exempt committee, and was not worked, in the end. It will receive a hearing. Proposition to amend section 1 of the Kansas bill of rights regarding equal rights for all human life. Sponsored by Reps. Garber, Awerkamp, Bergquist, Blex, Burris, Carpenter W., Dove, Ellis, Eplee, Highland, Hoffman, Huebert, Jacobs, Resman, Rhiley, Seiwert, Smith A, Smith E, Tarwater, Thimesch, Vickrey, who amount to an average *M score of 16%.
    • HB2107 - This bill also received no work, but resides in an exempt committee. Requiring full reimbursement for contraceptive prescriptions.
  • This bill did not get through Turnaround, and is considered "dead"
    • HB2124 - Requiring health insurance plans to cover contraceptives.

Other

  • HB2321 - This bill is not in an exempt committee, and is "dead." Creating the optional elevated marriage act.
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