Lobbyist Report: April 2017

As of April 7, there were 420 bills submitted on the House side and 247 on the Senate side. The Legislature adjourned for their spring break on April 7 and reconvened on May 1st, which is the veto session. Prior to the break both chambers passed the rescission bill, HB2052, which is supposed to fix this year’s budget shortfall, which went to the Governor who signed it on April 18. This should produce a positive ending balance for the current fiscal year that ends June 30th. The Senate and House returned on May 1st and the main focus has be on creating a tax bill, a budget bill, and an education financing formula. The governor vetoed the first budget bill that both houses passed, but the Senate could not get enough votes to override it. As of May 5th the legislature has yet to come to any agreement on any of these three issues. They will take off May 6 and 7 and return on the 8th to resume the discussion.

Bills that could/will affect ABATE members:
SB-99 and HB-2010: Prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while using wireless communication device. Neither Transportation Committee acted on this. Texting is already illegal, and this would have extended that to cell phone use unless hands free technology is being used. Apparently did not get any traction.
HB-2104: Would have increased the minimum vehicle insurance requirements from $25K to $50K for one person injuries and from $50K to $100K for two persons. This would have, no doubt, increased insurance premiums, however it was not acted on in either chamber.
HB-2152: Would have allowed hemp treatment for certain medical conditions. The Committee on Health and Human Services heard the bill on March 15 but took no action on it.
HB-2174, regarding disabled veteran/disabled persons license plates was heard and approved in the Committee on Veterans. With amendments it passed the House and the Senate and was signed into law by the Governor on April 12th.
HB-2188, the right of way bill, was never worked by the House Transportation Committee, despite written testimony and testimony at the hearing from myself and by many of our ABATE members (thank you Robin, District 11, for your very moving testimony). Consequently it is dead this year so we’ll have to do some legwork to get it re-submitted next year.
HB-2194, regarding motorcycle licensing and fees, impacting rider education programs and reciprocal recognition of training certificates from other states. It was worked by the House Committee on Transportation on March 15th and was approved by the full House on a 122 to 0 vote on March 27th. It was sent to the Senate Committee on Transportation on March 28th. Unfortunately, with the time it took for the amendments to be made it was so late in the session that the Senate Transportation committee never met about it, so now it will be pushed off to 2018.
HB-2202, Drivers' licenses renewal period, test fees. This bill would have extended licensing periods from 6 to 8 years except for those 65 and older, which would have been 4 years. Renewal fees would have increased from $18 to $27 for those under 65. This bill was never worked by the House Committee on Transportation.SB 13, the so-called "UnCork Kansas" bill that will start April 1, 2019, and allow convenience and grocery stores to sell 6% strong beer rather than 3.2% cereal malt beverage beer. The measure also will allow liquor stores-now the only place to buy that strong beer-to sell nonalcoholic products for up to 20% of their revenue. It passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.
Concealed Carry: Much discussion and several bills submitted, although none acted upon. There is a slight chance in the veto session that an extension prohibiting firearms at state public hospitals, and mental health centers might arise again, but nothing beyond that to include universities and even government offices. It would take millions of dollars to hire security and install metal detectors at entrances of all these facilities.

Proclamation for Motorcycle Awareness Month signing: Several ABATE members, KSTRO and KDOT staff, and other motorcyclists met at the Governor’s Office for on April 27th for the proclamation signing. Pictures were taken with the Governor in his office, as well as outside the Capitol, and should be in the newsletter.
As always, contact me if you have questions or concerns or issues you would like ABATE to address, or that you have personal interest in.

Steve Christenberry
ABATE of Kansas