Lobbyist Report: March 2021

As your state lobbyist, I am going to start this out on a negative note, talking with my house rep. he commented that there had been over 1100 new bills introduced this year already and that does not include any bills from last year that are still active. He said that probably 1/2 to 1% of these will go anywhere. The priority for the legislature will be focused on Medicaid Expansion, Medical Marijuana, COVID-19, and the Kansas Economy.
Moving on
#1 Distracted Driving SB 113 - This is the senate version of the hands free bill that passed House Transportation last year before COVID-19 hit. It was moved to the senate ways and means. It needed to go from ways and means to senate transportation. The only one that can move it to ways and means to transportation is Senator Peterson who is the head of senate transportation. In a brief visit with Senator Peterson in person, he implied that he was not going to move SB 113 into Transportation for a hearing. He asked that we support SB 25. SB 25 is a hands-free driving bill that makes it illegal to use a cell phone in a work zone, an active school zone, and for anyone under 18. Senator Peterson said if we can get this to pass into law then we can try to add or change it. Senator Peterson said this would be easier to do. Senator Peterson has been an advocate for hands-free for many years. His comment to me was we will have to learn to walk before we run.
#2 The Profiling Bill is still in the revisor stage. After a person to person visit with Senator Claey who has taken this on, along with Senator Kloos has said that Kansas already has a Profiling Statute. They both have implied that we did not have enough language to work with. Their thoughts are we try and put our language into the existing statute KS 22-406 thru KS 22-411. It would then have to go through the legislative process but would be easier to pass into the existing statute. After it comes out of the revisor it would have to go to Senate Transportation.
Both Senator Claey and Senator Kloos sit on the Senate Transportation committee.
#3 Is the Vulnerable Road User HB 2337. This replaces the right of way bill that died last year in the House Transportation Committee. This bill has a much broader form to it. This would protect Motorcyclists, Bicyclists, Pedestrians, Skate Boarders, Emergency Vehicles, Law Enforcement, KDOT, and Transportation by Farm Animals. Representative Probst introduced this bill for us and said he has a good feeling about this. The next step is to get it to the House Transportation Committee for a hearing. Before we try and make this happen, we as ABATE members need to get people on board to testify from as many of these different road users as possible. Anyone that can help me with this please feel free to call me (620) 204-8018. If I do not answer, please leave me a voicemail.
#4 There are some little bills we are watching that pertain to motorcyclists.
I will try and keep everyone apprised of any major changes. These actions were all approved at our last State BOD meeting to continue traveling forward with this current legislative agenda.

ABATE of Kansas
Vice President and Lobbyist
Tony Railsback