By Terry Humphrey, Executive Director
Last fall the state of Kansas retained consulting firm Alvarez and Marsal (A&M) to find ways to make the state run more efficiently. This week experts from the firm met with several committees to discuss their findings.
Phase I of the A&M report, which came out last month, makes 105 budget recommendations that they say can save the state $2 billion over the next five years. Not surprisingly, the potential savings has sparked lawmakers’ interest and will likely spawn a raft of proposals in the future.
One area of particular interest to AIA Kansas is contained in the Transportation & Turnpike section. More specifically, this chapter includes a recommendation to move away from the Federal Highway Administration procurement laws, including the Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) process. AIA Kansas strongly supports maintaining QBS because it provides the best value for Kansas taxpayers.
The report’s closing chapter indicates that A&M will meet with the Legislative Coordinating Council and multiple legislative committees as well as state agencies before making any final recommendations. Their final recommendations and “detailed roadmaps” will be included in the Phase 2 final report. The efficiency report promises to continue to be top of mind for legislators who are seeking to cut costs, and we will continue to follow it. You can read the full Phase I report here.
Legislative Calendar Revisions
Legislative leaders have revised the calendar, effectively compressing the session and pushing up deadlines as follows:
Feb. 23: Turnaround day, the last day for consideration of non-exempt bills in their house of origin.
Feb. 24 to March 1: Legislature out of session. Lawmakers return March 2.
March 21: Last day for consideration of opposite-chamber’s bills, except bills from exempt committees.
March 25: Drop Dead Day, the last day for considering bills, except Omnibus and Omnibus reconciliation bills and governor’s vetoes. Also marks the first adjournment before Spring Break.
April 20: Consensus Revenue Estimating Group meets.
April 27: Veto Session begins (no change).
Bills. Here are some of the bills we are following this session. Links have been provided so that you can read each bill in its entirety:
SB 338. On Senate General Orders. This bill addresses abandoned properties and their “blighting influence” across the state. The bill would revise certain legal provisions to allow cities and nonprofits to gain temporary possession of these properties for rehabilitation purposes. A similar bill was introduced last year and passed out of committee but was stricken from the calendar in May.
SB 365. On Senate General Orders. This bill enacts the Contaminated Property Redevelopment Act. “The intent is to provide a mechanism to allow real property with environmental contamination to be purchased without the purchaser becoming liable for cleanup costs. This act establishes the contaminated property redevelopment fund to help municipalities redevelop contaminated and potentially contaminated properties.”
SB 366. On Senate General Orders. This bill prohibits “any ordinance or resolution that would have the effect of controlling the amount of rent charged or the purchase price agreed upon between the parties to the transaction for the lease or purchase of privately-owned residential or commercial property.”
SB 475. This bill Requires performance and payment bonds for certain public construction contracts
HB 2407. This bill in the House Federal & State Affairs Committee addresses when and how public-private partnerships, or P3, delivery methods are implemented on public infrastructure projects. AIA Kansas recommends that this bill be tabled until next session so that it can be discussed and evaluated in more detail over the course of the summer. The bill was originally scheduled to be heard by the committee on February 12; however, that hearing was cancelled.
HB 2539. This bill in the House Local Government Committee allows counties to repair, rehab or remove unsafe structures in unincorporated platted areas.
HB 2703. This bill in the House Appropriations Committee deals with the authority of state agencies to enter into indebtedness on behalf of the state and addresses the issuance of bonds by the Kansas development finance authority. It appears to be a response to The University of Kansas’ decision to use a Wisconsin agency, rather than the Kansas Development Finance Authority, to issue nearly $330 million in bonds to build facilities. By going out of state, KU avoided the required legislative approval processes—and raised the ire of a number of Kansas legislators.