Les Mason: Legislative Update

Representative Les Mason

Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan

On Thursday, March 12th, the House Appropriations Committee improved on HB 2588, the governor’s transportation plan.  Transportation Chairman, Richard Proehl (R-Parsons) offered a balloon amendment to make a good plan better.  The amendment included the following changes:

  •       Changed the name from the FORWARD transportation program to the Eisenhower Legacy transportation program.  This name change honors the legacy of the father of the interstate system, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  •       Bonds issued for new projects are paid from sales tax money.  This provides $80-100 million over the course of the plan that cannot be transferred back to the SGF.  Bonds are still subject to the 18 percent cap.
  •       Alternative Delivery is allowed when federal grants require it.
  •       Work will be spread across all 6 KDOT districts
  •       All existing TWORKS projects will be let to construction by July 1, 2022, one year ahead of FORWARD
  •       Expanded reporting on: anticipated payouts for construction projects under contract; proposed projects to be let; three-year projection effects on remaining agency debt service, programs, and operations; comparison of annual revenue expected into the State Highway Fund.
  •       Focus on short-line rail will help keep large trucks off highways.

The bill passed out of committee and awaits action by the House.

Update on Make Kansas Work Proposals

HB 2515: Creating the Kansas Promise Act scholarship program.  The bill passed the House on February 20 and has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.  The bill was heard this past  week in Senate Education Committee and is scheduled to be worked this week.

HB 2516: Creates the First-Time Homebuyers Accounts.  Encourages individuals to set aside funds for costs associated with the purchase or construction of a first home.   The bill is set for hearing on March 17 in Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee.

HB 2522: Creating the Rural Healthcare Innovation Fund.  The bill has been heard by the House Appropriations Committee.  The House Appropriations Committee further amended the bill and passed it out favorably on March 12.  The bill now awaits action by the House.

HB 2416: Creating the Kansas Targeted Employment Act.  The bill was heard earlier this month in House Commerce, Labor, and Economic Development Committee.  The Committee amended the bill and passed it out favorably on Tuesday March 10.  The bill now awaits action by the House.

HB 2542: Creating tax relief for Kansas seniors by raising the exemption for senior citizens receiving Social Security from $75,000 to $100,000 in annual income.  The bill awaits further action by the House Taxation Committee.

Appropriations Wrapped Up Budget Work

This week the House Appropriations Committee received and acted on the remaining reports from House Budget Committees.  House Budget Committees made recommendations on every state agency and board and then those recommendations went to the Appropriations Committee for consideration.  All of these recommendations are drafted in with existing appropriations language from the Governor’s Budget Report.   The Committee further amended the budget on Friday, March 13 and passed out HB 2597.

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