Full Week at the Capitol!

This week the House debated numerous issues in preparation for first adjournment next week.

I voted in favor on the following issues.

State Employees

The House approved a bill that will grant state agencies the ability to change unfilled classified positions to classified, if the agency choses to do so.

Additionally, the bill gives state employees the ability to change from classified to unclassified, which would allow the employee the ability to negotiate their wages and job duties.

The bill will provide opportunities to employees to advance in training and pay if they choose to change from classified to unclassified. Regardless, any moves would be the sole decision of the employee. The bill does not require employees to change their status.

In effect, the bill empowers state employees to advance their careers and expand their skill sets beyond their job descriptions if they choose to do so.

Granting state agencies the authority to change unfilled classified positions to unclassified will enable them to better manage and develop their workforce to meet the needs of the state.

This bill was developed by the Department of Administration as a larger modernization of human resources policies.

The bill keeps longevity bonuses and shared leave programs for state employees intact.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Right to Carry

The House approved a bill this week that will remove the need for a license for Kansans who want to conceal and carry a handgun.

The purpose of the bill is to remove the requirement of requesting permission from government to exercise Second Amendment Constitutional rights.

The bill eliminates tests, fees, and paperwork. It will no longer require responsible gun owners to give their fingerprints for government databases.

There will still be plenty of reasons for gun owners to obtain a concealed carry license. Those who want to carry their weapon in the 36 other states that have concealed carry license reciprocity with Kansas will still need to go through the licensure process. In addition, having a concealed carry license will make police stops easier for lawfully abiding gun owners. If they’re stopped for a traffic violation, they can simply show the license to demonstrate that they are legally permitted to have their weapon, rather than having to wait for the law enforcement officer to check to ensure they haven’t been convicted of a felony that would preclude them from being allowed to own a gun.

The Senate concurred to the House’s version of the bill, so it now goes to the governor to be signed into law.

KPERS Bonding

The House initiated $52.1 million in savings to the state (SGF) in this fiscal year by refinancing some of the debt owed to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS).

Essentially, the bill will authorize the issuance of $1.5 billion in bonds to get rid of a portion of the state’s $7.35 billion unfunded pension liability for retirement plans for teachers and state workers.

The state will be taking advantage of the current low interest rates on bonds (approximately 4.4 percent instead of the 8 percent it currently pays), and direct that money into higher-yielding investments.

This bill plays a very important role in balancing the state’s budget this year.

The issuance of the bonds is subject to the State Finance Council.

Banning D&E Abortions

The House overwhelming passed a bill that will stop the inhumane practice of aborting babies by extracting their body from the mother’s uterus one piece at a time.

While the bill will protect women who have these types of abortions from criminal charges, it would allow the attorney general to request injunctive relief against doctors who use this method of abortion. First time convictions would result in a Class A person misdemeanor, while subsequent convictions would mean a severity level 10 person felony for the physician.

After the bill is signed into law, doctors who engage in this practice will also be subject to civil suits from the mother, the father of the child, or the parents or guardians if the mother is under 18 years of age or who dies as a result of the procedure.

The bill contains protections to ensure the mother’s anonymity in the case of civil or criminal action.

In closing, know that it’s an honor to represent Olathe and Lenexa in Topeka. 🙂