The House approved the Kansas Promise Scholarship Act (HB 2515) this past week, which will provide scholarships to Kansas graduates who agree to complete a certificate or two-year program at a community college, technical school, or trade school in one of 10 high-demand areas for skilled workers. These students will work part-time or provide 100 hours of community service while in school and commit to remain and work in Kansas for two years upon completion of their education.
The Kansas Department of Commerce in conjunction with members of business and industry in our state will identify up to ten high need areas for semi-skilled labor. Any Kansas high school or home school graduate who agrees to go into one of those fields will receive a Kansas Promise Scholarship to pay for attendance at a Kansas trade or tech school or community college. Students must work part-time or perform community service while in school and commit to remaining and working in Kansas for two years after graduation. By helping bridge the gap we can build tomorrow’s workforce today. This bill is one of the five bills proposed by House Republicans in the Make Kansas Work Plan.
The bill passed the House on a vote of 116-6 and has advanced to the Senate for consideration.
Kansas Rural Healthcare Innovation Fund Hearing Held, Only Proponents
The Committee on Appropriations held a hearing this week on HB 2522, also known as the Kansas Rural Healthcare Innovation Fund. The Fund will help rural hospitals research and implement changes needed to survive in the current healthcare market. For every $1 of state dollars awarded to a county seeking to support a rural hospital, they must also provide a $2 match from private stakeholders. The Fund will match public dollars with private contributions from hospital foundations, corporations, and other organizations to help rural hospitals research and implement changes needed to survive in the current healthcare market. $10.0 million will be transferred from the SGF to the Fund, for a maximum of $30.0 million available in the Fund.
The Kansas Hospital Association, the Kansas Association of Counties, and the Kansas League of Municipalities all testified in favor of the bill, and there were no opponents. The committee has yet to act on this bill.
First Time Homebuyer Accounts (HB 2516)
These First Time Homebuyer Accounts will allow communities to establish accounts as part of an incentive package to attract certain professionals—such as doctors and dentists—to move into their community The House Rural Revitalization Committee has held a hearing on this bill and passed the bill favorably.
Kansas Targeted Employment Act (HB 2416)
The Kansas Targeted Employment Act will provide a targeted employment tax credit for businesses that employ individuals with disabilities in integrated settings where those individuals work alongside those who do not have a disability. The House Commerce Committee has held a hearing on this bill and has yet to act on this bill
Social Security Exemption (HB 2542)
HB 2542 is a relief plan for Kansas seniors would raise the exemption for senior citizens receiving Social Security from $75,000 in annual income to $100,000 in annual income so that Kansas seniors can continue to work and earn additional income if they wish to do so without having to pay higher taxes. The House Taxation Committee has held a hearing on this bill and has yet to act on this bill.