News From the Kansas Legislature – Week 6

Rep. Bill Sutton


On Tuesday, Governor Jeff Colyer announced Tracey Mann as Kansas’ 50th Lieutenant Governor at the Kansas Livestock Association Legislative Social & Dinner event at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. Lt. Governor Mann is a fifth-generation Kansan from Quinter, Kansas, and earned a degree in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University in 2000.

He currently serves as the managing director and principal of Newmark Grubb Zimmer, a full service real estate company headquartered in Kansas City and is a board member of the City Teen Center in Salina. Previously he served on the boards of directors for the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership program and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. Mann, his wife, Audrey and their four children live in Salina.


Representative Frank Trimboli

On Thursday, at Hilltop Elementary School in Olathe, Kansas, the precinct committeemen and committeewomen gathered for the special election to replace Representative Larry Campbell following his resignation earlier this month. Campbell resigned to become the Budget Director for the Colyer Administration, and the house seat for the 26th District has been vacant since.

The precinct members made nominations for Frank Trimboli, an Olathe businessman and Kevin Weakly, an Olathe attorney. Tromboli was successfully elected by the delegates with a final vote count of 17-7. Representative-elect Trimboli will be sworn in early next week.


In the legislature, there are two bills that would create a “right to shop” – one in the Senate introduced by Sens. Mary Pilcher-Cook and Gene Suellentrop, and HB 2575, introduced by Rep. Abe Rafie. The latter had a hearing in the House Health & Human Services Committee this past week.

The Foundation for Government Accountability poses this question, “Why should an infusion treatment for a chronically ill patient cost $28,000 per treatment in one building, but cost $14,000 down the street? Why do patients have to pay so much more simply based on where they park their cars? And why are patients left in the dark about these price differences? Insurance premiums and health care costs continue to rise every year. Deductibles and copays continue to rise every year. Patients and small businesses are paying more – but are getting less. It is time to protect patients and drive down costs with the Right to Shop.”

That is the essence of the legislation offered in the Kansas Legislature. The Right to Shop legislation offers consumers real health care freedom by giving them control over their own health care costs. The legislation rewards consumers who shop for health care with real savings. This is accomplished by introducing market forces to lower costs and increase patient options.
Under the status quo, patients don’t know the cost of the health care they are receiving upfront. As a result, they end up paying higher out-of-pocket costs than is necessary. With health care costs increasing and choices among providers decreasing for factors unrelated to quality of care, patients often are locked into a particular provider pathway.

When Right to Shop is enacted, insurers and health care providers make available price information upfront. Armed with the tools they need to shop in addition to being rewarded for doing so, patients are free to access high quality, lower-cost medical care.

Patients are the ultimate health care consumer. I support efforts to expand health care freedom.


The KS GOP gubernatorial debate took place last night. Of the top six candidates, four participated. (Colyer went home sick earlier in the day. Barnett refused to agree to the format.)

The candidates were all good and all had good ideas. I could support any of these four in November. Here’s my assessment:

Kobach won the debate. No real surprise there. He’s knowledgeable, confident and an excellent debater.

Hartman was a surprise to me. I know he’s a sharp guy, but handled the debate extremely well.

Selzer was Selzer. Excellent ideas, but not passionate about them.

Hutton didn’t really stand out at any point in the debate. He’s intelligent, but I don’t see volunteers swarming to help. Not particularly inspiring.

This isn’t a voter’s guide. The campaign is just getting started and there will be a lot more development. There will also be a lot of opportunities for candidates to shoot themselves in the feet. This is just my take on the performance last night.



On Tuesday, the Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee heard a several bills, most notably HB 2581, which would institute harsher penalties for those who engage in “swatting.” Swatting takes place when an individual makes a call to law enforcement, SWAT, or other authorities requesting emergency assistance, when there is no assistance needed whatsoever.

Specifically, those who make these false calls typically request assistance at an address other than their own (could be completely random as well). Recently in Wichita, Kansas, a prank call led to the deployment of law enforcement at a residence, which ultimately led to the fatality of the home owner, who had nothing to do with the call or the individual who made that prank call. Another instance occurred in Overland Park, Kansas, in January, however no one was injured at that time. The bill outlines various sentencing levels, should an injury or fatality occur, because of the emergency response of such false alarms and prank calls.
The committee voted to approve this bill, which has yet to be considered by the entire House.


On Wednesday, the House Taxation and Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee met jointly to hear about the impact of the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed on December 22, 2017. The Committee heard from Kathleen Smith and Michael Austin from the Department of Revenue and Jay Langley, on behalf of the Kansas Society of CPAs.

The Department of Revenue estimates that there will be a positive fiscal impact to the State, with additional taxes paid by taxpayers: $137.8 million for FY ’19; $179.9 million for FY ’20; and $187.7 million for FY ’21. The Department and Langley summarized the changes affecting individual and business tax provisions and the effect on taxpayer liability. They noted that the information provided is preliminary and for informational purposes. According to Chairman Steven Johnson, “This (briefing) identifies the magnitude of issues we have to review regarding the tax changes. There is no free money. We need to confirm if we wish to have these changes (which is effectively a tax increase) continue into effect on our taxpayers.”


On Tuesday, Representative Claeys carried HR 6043. The resolution urges the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to accept Kansas’ application for the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Integration pilot program. The goal of the pilot program is to conduct advanced UAS operations safely and with public support, oversight provided by the FAA.

The program is to address the challenges in integrating drones into the national airspace, while reducing risks to public safety and security. The resolution further states the “The State of Kansas is heavily vested in UAS and is demonstrating national leadership in this industry by becoming the first state to have an operational unmanned traffic management system in place for state agencies, all 138 airports and 37 institutions of higher learning.” The resolution was adopted without roll call.


HB 2531— Designating segments of Kansas and United States highways to members of the Kansas Highway Patrol killed in the line of duty. This bill was placed on the Consent Calendar by the House Transportation Committee.
Final Action, February 12, 119-0
I voted “aye.”

HB 2444— Repealing requirements of the KPERS board regarding new investments and divestment of current investments in companies with business operations in Sudan. This bill was introduced by the Joint Committee on Pensions, Investments, and Benefits.
Final Action, February 14, 111-9
Bill carried by: Representative Ed Trimmer
I voted “aye.”

HB 2455— Requires the Juvenile Oversight Committee to monitor, rather than calculate, any state expenditures that have been avoided by reductions in the number of youth placed in out-of-home placements. This bill was introduced by the Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight. Current law calls for the Joint Committee to calculate any state expenditures that have been avoided by reductions in the number of youth placed in out-of-home placements. Final Action, February 14, 118-2
Bill carried by: Representative Leo Delperdang
I voted “aye.”

HB 2456— Tolling case length limits for certain juvenile offenders. This bill was introduced by the Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight.
Final Action, February 14, 120-0
Bill carried by: Representative Eric Smith
I voted “aye.”

HB 2436—Designating a portion of United States Highway 69 as the Brandon Collins Memorial Highway. This bill was requested for introduction by Representative John Resman and Representative Sean Tarwater. The bill was placed on the Consent Calendar by the Transportation Committee.
Final Action, February 14, 120-0
I voted “aye.”

HB 2476— Creates and amends law related to the sale of alcoholic candy and to the sale of domestic beer in refillable containers. This bill also contains provisions of HB 2475, which would allow microbrewery licensees to sell growlers and crowlers on their premises for off-premises consumption. The Federal and State Committee also amended the definition of “domestic beer.”
Final Action, February 15, 107-15
Bill carried by: Representative Tory Arnberger
I voted “aye.”

HB 2505— Cities; when mayor is considered part of the governing body for voting purposes. This bill clarifies when a mayor is considered a member of a governing body based on the form of government used by a city. Final Action, February 15, 122-0
Bill carried by: Representative Eber Phelps
I voted “aye.”

HB 2506—Rehabilitation of abandoned property by cities. This bill allows cities, as well as organizations authorized in current law, to take temporary possession of abandoned property for purposes of rehabilitating the property. The bill also makes definitional changes to laws related to abandoned property rehabilitation.
Final Action, February 15, 90-32
Bill carried by: Representative Kristey Williams
I voted “aye.”

SB 283— Concerning the regulation of financial institutions; relating to trust companies; Office of the State Bank Commissioner. This bill was placed on the Consent Calendar by the Financial Institutions and Pensions Committee.
Final Action, February 15, 122-0
I voted “aye.”

HB 2435— Concerning emergency telephone services; relating to the Kansas 911 Act; audits by the Division of Legislative Post Audit. Final Action, February 19
Bill carried by: Representative Jan Kessinger

HB 2488— Removing alcohol as special fuel under the motor-fuel tax law. Final Action, February 19. Technical removal of the word “alcohol” pertaining to diesel fuel. Diesel engines cannot support the burning of alcohol.
Bill carried by: Representative Abe Rafie

HB 2547— Establishing October 15 as the end of a State Fair Board member term. Final Action, February 19. Extend the State Fair Boards member terms to expire on October 15. Allow the State Fair Board membership to change shortly after the conclusion of the fair, in effort to improve planning of upcoming fair activities.
Bill carried by: Representative Tory Arnberger

HB 2556— Establishing the State Interoperability Advisory Committee. Final Action, February 19. Establish the State Interoperability Advisory Committee, which would serve to advise the Adjutant General with policy recommendations concerning various public safety communication issues.
Bill carried by: Representative Becker

Best regards,
Bill Sutton