House Happenings Week 12

The week of March 30th marked the first adjournment for the Kansas Legislature. On Friday, after several long hours of work, the House of Representatives adjourned until April 25 for its annual break. During this time research and revenue staff will compile information on the state’s economy and revenue collections to update our fiscal outlook so we can take additional action on the budget upon our return, if necessary. When we return to Topeka at the end of April for the veto session, our focus will be to reach an agreement with the Senate on areas of unfinished business like redistricting, the budget, tax reform and addressing the unfunded liability of KPERS. Although each legislative session is traditionally limited to 90 days, the reality is we will not leave Topeka until both chambers reach an agreement on the aforementioned issues.


March Revenue Update
On Friday, the Kansas Department of Revenue announced corporate and personal income tax receipts for March out performed expectations, putting revenues above estimates by $40.1 million. Corporate income taxes doubled estimates by $21.5 million and personal income taxes came in $14.6 million more than anticipated. For March, revenues were 10.3 percent more than anticipated putting the state $72.2 million ahead of consensus revenue estimates for the year. These figures indicate the state continues to make economic improvements under the fiscal policies passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Brownback.

Redistricting Update
The United States Constitution requires each state to redraw their congressional and legislative district boundaries based on the most recent census figures to ensure one person equals one vote. Census figures show the population of Kansas has grown in the eastern part of the state while western Kansas continues to struggle with declining population numbers. The ultimate goal is to have 713,280 persons in each congressional district. The congressional map is particularly difficult because the first district needs to grow by 58,000 residents, the third needs to considerably shed residents, and standing in between the two are the second and fourth districts, where population figures have remained relatively stable. Two major factors are essential to crafting each congressional map. First and foremost is creating a map with the population deviation for each district as close to zero as possible. The second is to find a way to fairly expand the first congressional district while also being mindful of the impact it could have on the other three congressional districts and their communities.

This week the House was able to successfully pass its congressional map and send it to the Senate for their consideration. Known as “Bob Dole 1,” the map divides Topeka between the first and second congressional districts with east Topeka shifting to the first district and west Topeka remaining in the second. Fort Riley and Junction City remain in the second congressional district and Johnson and Wyandotte Counties remain in the third congressional district. Currently, divided between the second and third districts, the entire city of Lawrence would be in the second congressional district. Portions of Kingman and Greenwood County would shift from the fourth congressional district to the first district.
Legislative maps must pass a mandatory review by the Kansas Supreme Court in time to meet federally imposed deadlines to ensure ballots can be sent to troops serving overseas. If you have the time, please visit the following link to review all the maps under consideration: http://redistricting.ks.gov.

Repealer Update
This session Secretary Taylor with the Office of the Repealer has introduced over 50 pieces of legislation in the House and Senate to do away with outdated rules and regulations, expired commissions, and other aspects of state law viewed as unnecessary. Over the week Governor Brownback signed a total of 54 pieces of legislation removing expired and unnecessary policies, regulations and areas of government for possible repeal. If you believe that an unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous or conflicting law, regulation or other governing instrument, detrimental to the economic well-being of Kansas, exists, please visit http://repealer.ks.gov. You may also send your suggestion to: Office of the Repealer, 1000 S.W. Jackson, Ste. 500, Topeka, KS 66612

Mental Disability Terminology Change (SB 397)
This week the House approved legislation sent to us by the Senate that changes the terminology in state law regarding references to “mental retardation” and similar terms with “intellectual disability.” In addition, the bill replaces terms similar to “mentally retarded” with “person or people with intellectual disability” and “handicap” with “disability.”


I look forward to visiting with my constituents during my time home in April. The Legislature still has a significant amount of work to do when we return for the veto session, and it is critical I know your thoughts and opinions as we work to resolve the remaining issues. If you have questions regarding legislation, legislative procedures or need help following a bill’s progression, please give me a call and I’ll be happy to explain the process. I hope you take the time to track the Legislature’s work in Topeka over the course of the 2012 session. You can also visit the Legislature’s website, www.kslegislature.org to follow the bills we’re debating. Simply access the website and click the “calendars” tab at the top of the page. There you will find our debate calendar under the heading “General Orders” and our anticipated votes under “Final Action.”

Rep. Elaine Bowers
1326 N. 150th Rd
Concordia, KS 66901
785 296-7642
elaine.bowers@house.ks.gov