Friday marked the last day for non-exempt committees to introduce bills.
News from the State House – Week Five
Friday marked the last day for non-exempt committees to introduce bills. The House has deadlines for progress
of bills to help ensure we end the session in the required 90 days. However, this year House leadership has set
an ambitious goal of getting our work done and ending the session in 80 days. This is very possible, but only
with hard deadlines like the one on Friday. Committees which are exempt, such as Tax and Appropriations,
don't have the same time restrictions because their legislative areas typically take the most amount of time and
are usually required to complete their work before the session can be adjourned.
You can stay up-to-date with committee schedules and bills and find other helpful information regarding the
happenings in the statehouse through the legislature's website, www.kslegislature.org. Please do not hesitate
to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions. I enjoy hearing from you on the topics we are
discussing in Topeka and I appreciate the perspective from those outside of the Statehouse.
Kansas State University Day
On Wednesday this week, the House congratulated Kansas State University for its 150th year as a university
serving the state. With an enrollment of more than twenty-four thousand students across three campuses in the
state, KSU is a world renowned research and teaching institution. The oldest land grant act university in the
country, KSU offers more than 250+ majors and degree programs across a multitude of disciplines.
Opening Session Prayer
Each day the Legislature opens our session with a prayer by either the House Chaplain or by a visiting guest
Chaplain/Minister. On Wednesday of this past week, Representative Willie Dove, District 38 (Bonner Springs/
Basehor) gave the prayer in song as he sang the "Lord's Prayer. It was a moving and totally awesome event.
On Friday, February 8, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) released the results of an
independent analysis, done by Aon Hewitt, on the potential enrollment and budget impact of the Affordable
Care Act's (ACA) implementation to the state Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Assuming that moderate statewide population growth will continue and using CY2010 Medicaid/CHIP
enrollment as a base, the study estimates that if the state chooses not to expand Medicaid, the Medicaid/CHIP
enrollment will increase by 20,563 in CY2014, ramping up to 41,538 (23,740 for Medicaid and 17,798 for
CHIP) by CY2016, when the ACA is expected to be fully implemented. The anticipated 10-year (CY2014-
CY2023) state general fund (SGF) increase for no expansion will be $513 million.
If the state chooses to expand Medicaid, Medicaid/CHIP enrollment will increase by 111,880 in CY2014,
ramping up to 226,003 (25,416 from currently eligible Medicaid, 49,384 from currently eligible CHIP, and 151,
203 from those newly eligible for Medicaid in CY2016, once the ACA is fully implemented. The anticipated
10-year (CY2014-CY2023) SGF increase with expansion compared to no ACA will be $1.1 billion.
Governor Brownback has not yet announced a decision on whether or not the state will expand Medicaid.
Undoubtedly, an increase of $1.1 billion over ten years to state expenditures is a very significant increase that
would have an impact on the state's ability to fund its other core responsibilities, such as education. If the
state expands Medicaid, the ACA does state that the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of
the expansion for the first 3 years and then 90 percent after that. However, if the federal government, which
is currently running trillion dollar deficits, is not able to make good on its offer, then the impact on the state
budget would be even greater. (Comments received from officials in Washington D.C. is that the federal
monies are just not there to fulfill their promises).
Mortgage Interest Deduction
This week, the Senate Taxation Committee approved an amended version of the governor's tax plan that he
proposed at the beginning of the session. Like the governor's proposal, the Senate committee's bill eliminated
the state mortgage interest deduction. While no tax plan has yet been acted on in the House and several
different plans are being considered by the House Tax Committee, concern continues to grow over the possible
elimination of this deduction and it is important to view it in the perspective of broader tax reform.
Resulting from the tax bill signed last year, the current law for tax year 2013 doubles the standard deduction
from $4,500 to $9,000 for single head-of-household filers and increases by 50 percent the deduction for married
couples filing jointly from $6,000 to $9,000. Currently, more than 70 percent of Kansans use the standard
deduction when filing and will not be impacted by the elimination of itemized deductions, such as the mortgage
It is also important to note that elimination of the mortgage interest deduction at the state level does not impact
the federal mortgage interest deduction, which is much larger and would remain available to Kansans eligible to
itemize. Furthermore, the value of itemized deductions at the state level is greatly reduced by the value of large
reductions in overall tax rates and significant increases in standard deductions.
Kansas Joins Dodd-Frank Lawsuit
On Wednesday, Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced that the state has signed onto a multi-state lawsuit
challenging a key provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Kansas
joined 10 other states on the lawsuit pending before the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia.
The Dodd-Frank bill gives the secretary of the Treasury the ability to order the liquidation of financial
institutions deemed "too big to fail." In filing the lawsuit, the attorney general noted that such authority
undermines the property rights of shareholders of any such institutions, including holdings of the Kansas Public
Employees Retirement System (KPERS).
Attorney General Schmidt also observed that the new power granted to the Treasury allows the federal
government to pick winners and losers among investors in large institutions. This is done while circumventing
state bankruptcy laws and, consequently, without any meaningful court supervision. Not to mention, the fact
that such action by the Treasury would leave the Kansas taxpayer responsible for the tab.
HB 2289 is a bill to stop all funding on the implementation of Common Core Education Standards. Three
years ago, numerous states signed onto the concept and many are now having second thoughts about continuing
with the program. Common Core sounds great on paper, but gives away all the state's ability to affect the
curriculum, the standards, the choice of textbooks and everything one would expect to be the domain of the
District and the State board of Education.
Experts in the field of education from several states testified as well as the Kansas State Board of Education and
the Kansas Policy Institute. We expect to see much more discussion on this topic in the coming week.
KanCare Educational Meetings
As a reminder, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has announced it will be hosting educational
meetings for members beginning next week. The educational tour will take place in 16 cities across Kansas
from February 18-21, and announcements about these meetings are being mailed to each KanCare household.
The cities and dates are listed below. For more details, including locations and times, please visit http://
Feb. 18 in Dodge City, Manhattan, Winfield and Topeka
Feb. 19 in Garden City, Salina, Parsons and Kansas City
Feb. 20 in Colby, Great Bend, Fort Scott and Olathe
Feb. 21 in Hays, Wichita, Emporia and Atchison
The Kansas Fair Tax Act of 2013, HB2355 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep Arlen
Siegfried, last year's House Majority Leader and current Chairman of the powerful House Federal and State
Affairs Committee. Thirty-six Representatives signed on to co-sponsor this bill, indicating that they wanted a
full and complete hearing on this innovative concept.
The Fair Tax completely eliminates state Corporate Income Tax in 2013, cuts half the Individual Income Tax in
2014, and completes the removal of the state Income Taxes in 2015. The state will be funded by converting its
complex Sales Tax system into a simple, broad-based consumption tax that will promote maximum economic
Nine other States are also pursuing implementation of the Fair Tax. To read more about the Fair Tax proposal,
go to www.Kansas.gov.
The best legislation involves a collaborative effort between the people and their representatives. I encourage
you to let me know your thoughts on the issues discussed by the legislature and others which might be affecting
you. Please feel free to call or e-mail 785-296-7653 / John.Bradford@house.ks.gov and I'd be happy to discuss
any topic you are interested in. Thank you for the honor of serving you!