Apr 02, 2024

BOWERS: Senate Scene Week 12; 40+ bills in conference committee

Posted Apr 02, 2024 12:20 PM
Sen. Elaine Bowers, R-Concordia, 36th Dist.
Sen. Elaine Bowers, R-Concordia, 36th Dist.

April 1, 2024


The Kansas Senate completed a whirlwind three days of floor action debating more than 40 bills ending after 5 p.m. last Wednesday.

Monday will start a five-day week to complete the regular part of the 2024 legislative session and head us towards first adjournment on Friday. There are more than 40 bills in conference committees and this week’s work will primarily consist of voting on these conference committee reports.

In this process, the committee chair, vice-chair, and ranking member will gather from the House and Senate committees and hammer out the differences in bills. Conference committees will have until Friday, April 5, to meet.

A conference committee is a small, bipartisan, and bicameral committee that works to smooth out the differences between the House and Senate’s version of a similar bill. Once the conference committee reaches a compromise, the negotiated bill is sent to both the House and Senate for a final vote before advancing to the governor’s desk.

After the conclusion of the regular session this week, the legislature is scheduled to take a three-week break before returning for the veto session in late April.


HB 2144 would create the crime of organized retail crime, providing criminal penalties for violation thereof increasing the criminal penalties for theft of property, including organized retail crime in the definition of racketeering activity under the Kansas racketeer influenced and corrupt organization act and authorizing the attorney general to prosecute crimes concurrently with county or district attorneys. HB 2144 passed 30-10. I voted yes.

HB 2583 would amend the crime of inflicting harm, disability, or death to law enforcement animals to include police dogs and horses and increasing penalties for inflicting harm that results in disability or death to these animals including restitution. HB 2583 passed 25-15. I voted yes.

SB 367 would amend the Transparency in Revenues Underwriting Elections Act regarding the designation of voter registration agencies and the acceptance and use of certain election-related funds. SB 367 passed 28-12. I voted yes.

HB 2577 would provide discretionary authority to the state treasurer to determine the amount of unclaimed property receipts available for long-term investment and to liquidate such investments by the Pooled Money Investment Board (PMIB) for necessary payments to owners of unclaimed property. HB 2577 passed 38-2. I voted yes.

HB 2560 would amend the State Banking Code and provisions pertaining to trust companies to address the abandonment or expiration of certain applications and allow an originating trustee to have its principal place of business outside of Kansas. HB 2560 passed 39-1. I voted yes.

HB 2663 would permit title insurance agents to deposit escrow, settlement, and closing funds for real estate closings, including closings involving refinances of existing mortgage loans, which exceed $2,500 to be in the form of a real-time or instant payment systems. HB 2663 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

SB 524 would authorize mail ballot elections for certain irrigation district boards of directors, would change the definition of “dams” & “water structures” as the terms relate to agriculture use, and add a civil penalty that could be assessed by the chief engineer at the Division of Water Resources. SB 524 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

SB 488 would expand the scope of the inspector general within the Office of the Attorney General to include the audit, investigation, and performance review of all state cash, food, and health assistance programs. The bill would grant the inspector general the power to subpoena, administer oaths, and execute search warrants. SB 488 passed 22-18. I voted no.

SB 427 would have required districts to publicly list the names and email addresses of current school board members, authorizing local school board members to add new items to board meeting discussions, ask questions or engage in discussion with members of the public and access school property, authorizing members of the public to address school boards at board meetings and authorizing payment of annual dues to any not-for-profit organization that provides services to member school districts. SB 427 failed 13-24. I voted no.

SB 386 would amend certain enrollment determination criteria in the Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act to require school district enrollment be determined using the current or preceding school year. The bill would also authorize an additional enrollment count determination for school year 2024-2025 only. SB 386 passed 33-6. I voted yes.

HB 2501 would designate the official state steam locomotive and the official state heritage railroad. It names The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe #3415 Pacific class 4-6-2 as the official steam locomotive for the state. The Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad would be designated as the official state heritage railroad. HB 2501 passed 39-1. I voted yes.

S Sub HB 2436 would create the crime of coercion to obtain an abortion and providing enhanced criminal penalties for offenses committed with the intent to coerce a woman to obtain an abortion. HB 2436 passed 27-11. I voted yes.

HB 2703 would add students in the custody of the Secretary for Children and Families to the list of students identified as eligible to receive at-risk programs and services. HB 2703 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2590 would increase the maximum penalties that can be assessed for violation of Kansas pipeline safety regulations. HB 2590 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2665 would increase the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident when the driver knew or reasonably should have known the accident resulted in injury or death. The bill would be known as “Levi’s Law.” HB 2665 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2484 would establish the Social Work Licensure Compact to facilitate interstate practice of regulated social workers. The bill would also amend law to add the background check procedure for the Social Work Licensure Act and add a fee relating to the multistate licenses under the Compact. HB 2484 passed 35-5. I voted yes.

HB 2353 would amend provisions in the Care and Treatment Act for Mentally Ill Persons to extend the time period a person may be held for treatment and to add conditions for which continued treatment may be ordered. HB 2353 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2661 would amend the process for filling county commission vacancies when the vacancies are created by an increase of commission districts. HB 2661 passed 40-0.

HB 2477 as amended, would make changes to the Remediation Reimbursement Program that provides remediation funding from the Kansas Agricultural Remediation Fund. HB 2477 passed 39-1. I voted yes.

HB 2749 would require medical care facilities and providers to report the reasons for each abortion performed at such facility or providers to the secretary of health and environment. HB 2749 passed 27-13. I voted yes.

HB 2483 would eliminate the requirement for the Legislative Division of Post Audit to conduct recurring audits of the implementation of the 911 system, Kansas Public Employees Retirement System audits, and the other economic development incentive audits. HB 2483 passed 39-1. I voted yes.

HB 2551 would authorize expenditures totaling $49,343 from existing resources in FY 2024 to pay claims against the State. HB 2551 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2124 would amend law pertaining to microbreweries, including, but not limited to, permitting microbreweries to self-distribute beer and hard cider up to certain limits and lowering the number of barrels per year a microbrewery may manufacture and store. HB 2124 passed 38-2. I voted yes.

HB 2690 would allow counties or governing bodies of cities to contract with another governing body of a Public Safety Answering Point for consolidation of the provision of 911 services, make changes to how 911 is governed within the state by replacing the current 911 Coordinating Council with a new State 911 Board, change how the 911 fees are allowed to be used, and require 911 fees collected from phone bills and prepaid wireless service to be transferred to the state treasury. HB 2690 passed 39-1. I voted yes.

HB 2715 would authorize the Commissioner of Insurance to set the amount of fees and fines for applications, licenses, license renewals, certificates of authority, and other required filings by certain insurance entities and public adjusters under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner. HB 2715 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2787 would amend law relating to the Kansas Insurance Guaranty Association. HB 2787 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2607 would amend and update the Kansas Pesticide Law and Kansas Chemigation Safety Law. HB 2607 passed 39-1. I voted yes.

HB 2547 as amended, would amend law regarding the stock, maintenance, and administration of emergency medication kits in schools, including epinephrine and albuterol. HB 2547 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2628 would modify the law governing access to confidential information regarding children alleged to be in need of care. HB 2628 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2618 would amend current law regarding the crime of false representation of an election official. HB 2618 passed 29-9. I voted yes.

HB 2536 would establish a new legal permanency option for children 16 years of age or older who are in the custody of the Secretary for Children and Families. The bill would also amend various statutes contained in the Revised Kansas Code for Care of Children to reference this new form of permanency, which would be designated as “SOUL Family Legal Permanency.” HB 2536 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 553 would amend the Utilization Review Organization Act and the Electronic Notice and Document Act. HB 553 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2358 would modify the Uniform Vital Statistics Act provisions concerning who may certify a cause of death. HB 2358 passed 39-1. I voted yes.

HB 2754 would allow counties to opt out of conducting school sanitary inspections pursuant to home rule powers granted to counties under the County Home Rule Act. HB 2754 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2614 would amend Rules and Regulations Filing Act provisions authorizing expedited revocation of certain rules and regulations to require certain notifications be made during the revocation process. HB 2614 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2675 would enact the Uniform Nonparent Visitation Act. HB 2675 passed 40-0. HB 2711 would amend the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System working-after-retirement. HB 2675 passed 38-2. I voted yes.

HB 2453 would enact the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact to provide interstate practice privileges for dentists and dental hygienists. The bill contains uniform language that would enact the Compact in Kansas. HB 2453 passed 38-2. I voted yes.

HB 2527 would create new definitions and modify definitions pertaining to cost recovery and rate making procedures before the Kansas Corporation Commission. The bill would establish new mechanisms for the recovery of costs associated with deferred depreciation & new gas-fired generating units. HB 2527 passed 35-2.

S Sub HB 2047 would make clarifying amendments to the Farm Animal and Field Crop and Research Facilities Protection Act. HB 2047 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2588 would amend the Net Metering and Easy Connection Act to further develop regulation and expand capacity for investor-owned utilities to connect customers’ renewable energy generation systems, such as rooftop solar panels systems, to the electric grid. HB 2588 passed 32-6. I voted yes.

HB 2784 would transfer authority for certification of continuing care retirement communities from the Kansas Insurance Department to the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. HB 2784 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

SB 532 would establish the Kansas Blueprint for Literacy. The bill would create a Literacy Advisory Committee, create a Director of Literacy to be appointed and employed by the State Board of Regents, require the State Board of Education and the State Board of Regents to collaborate on a literacy micro-credential and professional development, authorize the oversight of postsecondary classes and provide an annual systemwide analysis of all literary postsecondary courses, and require a plan to create six regional centers of excellence in reading. SB 532 passed 35-3. I voted yes.

HB 2570 would make various amendments to law related to unemployment compensation. HB 2570 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

SB 426 would increase penalties for drivers who fail, upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, to proceed with due caution and to move into another lane away from the emergency vehicle or to slow the driver’s vehicle (move-over law). SB 426 passed 39-1. I voted yes.

SB 544 would replace the Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship Program with the Kansas Education Opportunity Scholarship Program Act. SB 544 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2549 would amend law in the Kansas Adoption and Relinquishment Act governing petitions to terminate parental rights and notice required to be given in a hearing on a petition for adoption. HB 2549 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

HB 2491 would shift deposits of fees previously credited to the Law Enforcement Training Center Fund to the State General Fund. HB 2491 passed 40-0. I voted yes.

SB 457 would clarify the term “public utility” in statute, for the purposes of appropriation of property through eminent domain, to include solar powered electric generation equipment, including solar panels. The bill would prohibit public utilities from exercising eminent domain for the purpose of siting or placement of solar facilities. SB 457 passed 38-0. I voted yes.

SB 552 would create the Kansas Campus Restoration Act authorizing the Kansas Board of Regents to adopt rules and regulations relating to deferred maintenance and demolition of facilities at postsecondary institutions. SB 552 passed 34-6. I voted yes.

Full texts of the bills and supplemental notes as well as the Final Action vote on these measures can be found at www.kslegislature.org.

Pages for the Senate - March 26 and 27

On March 26, Avery Kueker and Tessa Breese, both of Concordia, served as pages for the Kansas Senate. On March 27, Izaak Robbins, Concordia; Noah Peterie, Eudora; and Wesley Swann, Lawrence, served as pages for the Kansas Senate. The pages spent their day with us at the Capitol running errands, working in my office, and taking a historical tour of the Capitol as well as the dome tour.

Legislative Townhalls

Several legislative townhalls have been conducted throughout the 36th Kansas Senate District with more scheduled in the upcoming few weeks. On April 6, Senator Billinger, Representative Rahjes, and I will be in Stockton at 10:45 a.m. at the Stockton City Building. Next, we will be in Phillipsburg at 12:30 p.m. at the Huck Boyd Community Center. On April 13, there is a Legislative Coffee scheduled in Concordia at 8:00 a.m. at Jitters Coffee House with Representative Susan Concannon, Representative Bill Bloom, and I, sponsored by Farm Bureau. Representative Concannon and I are scheduled to be in Beloit on April 20 at 9:00 a.m. at the Zion Lutheran Church.

Thank you for the honor of serving you!

Senator Elaine BowersKansas State Capitol Building Room 223-E300SW 10th St.Topeka, KS [email protected]www.kslegislature.orgwww.elainebowers.com

Elaine Bowers, R-Concordia, is senator of the 36th District in Kansas, which includes:

* Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, Ottawa, Republic, Rooks, Russell, Smith and Washington Counties* Marshall County: Cities: Blue Rapids, Marysville, Oketo and Waterville; Townships: Blue Rapids, Blue Rapids City, Cottage Hill, Elm Creek, Herkimer, Logan, Marysville, Oketo, Walnut and Waterville* Phillips County: Cities: Agra, Glade, Kirwin and Phillipsburg; Townships: Arcade, Bow Creek, Crystal Deer Creek, Freedom, Glenwood, Greenwood, Kirwin, Phillipsburg, Plum, Rushville, Solomon(part), Sumner, Valley and Walnut