It was another eventful week at the Statehouse as lawmakers prepared to end the regular session Friday, April 7. Lawmakers will return on May 1 for the Veto Session.
Rescission bill passes. On Thursday the rescission bill, which eliminates this year’s estimated $280 million budget shortfall, passed the Senate (30-10) and the House (108-15) and is on its way to the Governor. Now legislators must figure out how to budget and pay for future years. Their task got a little harder with the news that tax revenues for March fell $11.6 million below expectations. The Consensus Revenue Estimate, on which the budget for the current fiscal year and the following two fiscal years will be based, is expected on April 20.
Flat tax fails. One proposal, a “flat-tax” income tax rate of 4.6%, was soundly rejected (37-3) by the Senate on Thursday. Meanwhile, the House K-12 Education Budget Committee readied its new school finance bill. The bill will first be reviewed by a yet-to-be-hired lawyer to ensure it meets the Supreme Court’s order. It will be presented to the House during the Veto Session.
Governor’s veto of Medicaid sustained. On Monday, the House failed to override the Governor’s veto of the Medicaid expansion bill. The vote was three votes shy of the 84 needed to overturn the veto.
Docking Building. The Joint Committee on State Building Construction met Thursday to discuss a “possible RFP for Docking Remodel.” According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, the committee was considering whether or not to hire “an independent expert to assess options for renovating all or part of the mothballed structure.” At press time, there was no word on what was decided. Stay tuned.
Other bills of interest:
SB 55 This bill addresses public construction contracts and performance and payment bonds. It passed the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor. SB 55, as amended, would revise the Kansas Fairness in Public Construction Contract Act by requiring a contractor involved in a public-private partnership (P3) agreement with a public entity to furnish the following bonds:
- A performance bond, which would be equal to the full contract amount; and
- A payment bond, which would be equal to the full contract amount for the protection of claimants supplying labor or materials to the contractor or subcontractors in the performance of work.
The bill would apply to P3 contracts valued at more than $100,000. The bonds would include a provision allowing for the recovery of attorney fees and related expenses.
The bill would define the terms “public-private agreement,” “private contribution,” and “public benefit.”
SB76 This bill, which was passed with amendments by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, makes several changes in how the state licenses professional occupations. Specifically, it waives occupational fees and licensing fees for military and low-income individuals. The committee amended the bill so that it would not affect local government fees and licensing. Currently on General Orders awaiting Senate action.
HB 2130 This bill remains in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It changes some Department of Administration regulations on state contracts and purchase orders. From the supplemental note to the bill: “HB 2130 would remove the requirement that state agency contracts or leases extending for a period longer than one year be filed with the Director of Accounts and Reports. The bill would also remove the requirement that contracts subject to approval by the Attorney General be countersigned by the Director of Accounts and Reports. Finally, the bill would remove the requirement that orders or requisitions for contractual services be made on a prescribed form unless a purchase order is required for each contracted payment.”
HB 2201 This bill creates “the taxpayer empowerment, accountability and transparency in state contracting act.” It is in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee.
HB 2227 This bill proposes a 5-mill tax levy for the Kansas Education Building Fund, “for the use and benefit of the state institutions of higher education.” The fund is to be administered by the State Board of Regents. The bill is in the House Taxation Committee.