During weeks 5 and 6 of the Kansas legislative session, legislators worked a large volume of bills heading into Turnaround Week. In general, most House and Senate bills must be voted out of their originating chambers to the opposite house by Friday, February 24. Bills in House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means, as well as both the House and Senate Federal and State Affairs committees and Tax committees are exempt from the Turnaround Week rule.
Health at the Capitol is a weekly summary providing highlights of the Kansas legislative session, with a specific focus on health policy related issues. Sign up here to receive these summaries and more, and also follow KHI on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Previous editions of Health at the Capitol can be found on our ARCHIVE PAGE.
On Tuesday, February 7, Gov. Kelly announced that bills to expand Medicaid had been introduced in the House and Senate. A survey report from the Docking Institute of Public Affairs, Kansas Speaks Fall 2022, indicated that 71.9 percent of respondents supported expanding Medicaid in Kansas.
On Tuesday, February 14, Gov. Kelly announced a new set of federal Family First Prevention grants totaling $19.9 million. In 2019, Kansas became one of the first states in the country to implement the Family First Prevention Services Act, federal legislation that allows states to direct federal foster care funds into prevention programs focused on keeping families together. The new grants will be used for substance use prevention, parent skill-building, mental health, kinship navigation, and primary prevention programs across the state.
House Health and Human Services Committee
(Rep. Brenda Landwehr, Chair)
On Monday, February 6, the Committee held a hearing on House Bill (HB) 2263, which would amend the Kansas Pharmacy Act to allow pharmacy technicians, under the direct supervision and control of a pharmacist, to administer vaccinations after successfully completing a course of study and training in vaccination storage, protocols, injection technique, emergency procedures, recordkeeping and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The bill would authorize pharmacy technicians to administer the influenza vaccine to persons six years of age or older; and vaccines, other than the influenza vaccine, to persons 12 years of age or older pursuant to a vaccination protocol. Proponents included Aaron Dunkel, Kansas Pharmacist Association, Calli Rains, certified pharmacy technician, and Dared Price, pharmacist. Written proponent testimony was provided by representatives of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy and Walmart, and neutral testimony was provided by the Kansas Medical Society. There was no opponent testimony. The Committee amended the bill to apply only to pharmacy technicians age 18 and older and passed it favorably out of Committee.
The Committee also held a hearing on HB 2260, which would amend the Kansas Medical Student Loan program to increase the number of medical student loan agreements for psychiatry students from six to 12. Students in the program commit to serve as full-time faculty members of the University of Kansas School of Medicine or practice in designated areas. The bill also states that the School of Medicine may not prohibit or impede students in the program from switching between approved postgraduate residency programs. Proponents, including representatives of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas and the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, stated that the bill is one way of addressing workforce shortages in mental healthcare and attracting psychiatric physicians to underserved areas. Written-only proponent testimony was provided by the Kansas Medical Society and there was no opponent or neutral testimony submitted. After working the bill, the Committee passed it favorably.
On Tuesday, February 7, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2264, which would enact the No Patient Left Alone Act, to establish who may visit a patient in a patient care facility and require patient care facilities to provide for in-person visitation. Proponent testimony was provided by two private citizens and written-only proponent testimony was submitted by representatives of HCA Midwest Healthcare and the Kansas Medical Society. Opponent testimony was provided by Rachel Monger, LeadingAge Kansas, who suggested amendments to the bill regarding the need for patient care facilities to adhere to federal laws, rules and other guidance to remain eligible for federal funding and programs. Neutral testimony was provided by representatives of the Kansas Hospital Association and Kansas Adult Care Executives.
On Wednesday, February 8, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2049, which would limit the number of hours of required training to 75 hours for unlicensed employees working in an adult care home who provide direct, individual care to residents and do not administer medications to residents. Proponents included representatives of the Kansas Health Care Association and Kansas Centers for Assisted Living, LeadingAge Kansas, Opportunity Solutions Project, and Kansas Adult Care Executives. Americans for Prosperity submitted written-only proponent testimony. Opponents included representatives of Kansas Advocates for Better Care, Kansas AARP, and a private citizen/certified nursing assistant, and written-only opponent testimony was submitted by Kansas State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Camille Russell, and representatives of the Kansas College of Nursing, Mid-America Nazarene University School of Nursing, and Kansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities. Neutral testimony was provided by Lacey Hunter, Commissioner for Survey Certification and Credentialing at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), and a representative of the Kansas Association of Community School Trustees.
On Thursday, February 9, the Committee held an informational briefing on HB 2050, which would permanently change household income eligibility for the Kansas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) from 250 percent of the 2008 federal poverty level (FPL) to 250 percent of current FPL guidelines. The bill also would remove the eight-month waiting period for newly enrolled participants with family income over 200 percent of FPL that previously had comprehensive health benefit coverage through another policy, a requirement that was eliminated through a state plan amendment in 2019. Proponents included a representative of Kansas Action for Children, and written-only proponent testimony was provided by representatives of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Health Forward Foundation. Chair Landwehr said the Committee conducted an informational briefing rather than a hearing on the bill because the Committee is unable to advance Medicaid-related legislation until a decision is made regarding how many times legislators want to discuss Medicaid expansion. She said there is no opposition to including a budget proviso to ensure the current FPL guidelines are used.
The Committee then worked HB 2264 (see above). The bill was amended to: specify that a patient care facility could not prevent a patient from receiving in-person visitation from any person designated by the patient or the patient’s agent for healthcare decisions established by a durable power of attorney; add domestic partners and significant others to the list of individuals allowed in-person visitation with a patient; specify that patient care facilities may, rather than shall, establish visitation policies and procedures and such policies and procedures would not be limited to those in the bill; provide that patient care facilities would be able to require a visitor to adhere to infection control procedures; provide for civil liability damages to patient care facilities acting in compliance with the Act unless such actions would constitute gross negligence or willful, wanton or reckless conduct; and specify the Act would not supersede any federal law, rules, regulations or guidance regarding patient care facilities and not prohibit a facility from taking actions necessary to ensure eligibility for federal financial participation, federal funds, participation in federal programs, and reimbursement for services provided. The bill was then passed favorably out of Committee, as amended.
On Tuesday, February 14, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2288, which would create the Counseling Compact, adding Kansas to a multi-state compact for clinical professional counselors. Under the Compact, clinical professional counselors licensed by the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (BSRB) would be able to apply for a privilege to practice in other Compact states, and individuals in other Compact states would be able to apply for a privilege to practice in Kansas. Seventeen states have already enacted compact laws and 19 states have legislation pending, including Missouri and Oklahoma. On February 15, the Committee amended the bill to give the Board the ability to set fees related to the Compact and passed it favorably out of Committee, as amended.
On February 14, the Committee also held a hearing on HB 2259, which would abolish the Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee and remove all related requirements. In addition, the bill would prohibit prior authorization requirements or other restrictions on medications used to treat mental illnesses for Medicaid recipients. Proponents included representatives of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Kansas Mental Health Coalition, and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Kansas. Written-only proponent testimony was submitted by a private citizen. Opponent testimony was submitted by Sarah Fertig, Medicaid Director, Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), who expressed concerns about reopening the door to dangerous prescribing practices and said the legislation would block Medicaid from imposing reasonable cost containment and safety requirements for mental health drugs and would also eliminate the parity that currently exists in Medicaid between mental health drugs and other classes of drugs. KDHE’s fiscal note estimates a cost of $7.1 million (all fund) annually. On February 15, the Committee amended the bill to allow any prescriber of mental health medications to be exempt from prior authorizations, and passed it favorably out of Committee, as amended.
Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee
(Sen. Beverly Gossage, Chair)
On Wednesday, February 8, the Committee heard a presentation by Leighanne Thone, Kansas Legislative Research Department, regarding the Final Report of the Kansas Senior Care Task Force (SCTF) to the 2023 Kansas Legislature, including the 15 Tier 1 recommendations made by the SCTF Working Groups. The Final Report can be reviewed at Kansas Senior Care Task Force – final report to 2023 Legislature (kslegislature.org). Sen. Kristen O’Shea, who was a member of the SCTF, encouraged legislators to use the report as a roadmap when speaking with representatives of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and other stakeholders. She specifically noted the recommendations regarding the creation of a permanent, full-time dementia and Alzheimer’s disease coordinator position within KDADS and the creation of a statewide conference to allow stakeholders to network and share evidence-based practices.
On Monday, February 13, the Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 45, which would permanently change household income eligibility for CHIP from 250 percent of the 2008 FPL to 250 percent of current FPL guidelines, as in HB 2050 (see above). Proponents included Sarah Fertig, Medicaid Director, KDHE, and Heather Braum, Kansas Action Children, and there were no opponents. Fertig stated that the bill removes obsolete language from the CHIP statute that is currently being corrected by a budget proviso approved by the Legislature in 2022. Written-only proponent testimony was also submitted by representatives of Oral Health Kansas, Community Care Network of Kansas, Health Forward Foundation, Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, REACH Healthcare Foundation, and the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas.
The Committee also held a hearing on SB 6, which would remove the authority of the Secretary of KDHE to designate infectious or contagious diseases by rules and regulations. The Secretary would be required to submit a report to the Legislature on such diseases and would be authorized to recommend to the public and educate them in ways to prevent the spread and dissemination of diseases injurious to the public health. The bill also would amend various existing statutes pertaining to the issuance of orders by the Secretary, county or joint boards of health, and local health officers related to infectious and contagious diseases and remove authority to issue certain orders to allow only recommendations. In addition, the bill also would remove the authority of a county or joint board of health or local health officer from prohibiting public gatherings when necessary for the control of any and all infectious or contagious disease. Proponents included Sen. Mark Steffen, a representative of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and 11 private citizens. Opponents included Ashley Goss, Deputy Secretary, KDHE, and representatives of the Kansas Association of Local Health Departments and the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
On Tuesday, February 14, the Committee held a hearing on SB 233, which would allow an individual who had what the bill defines as a “childhood gender reassignment service” performed to bring a civil cause of action under the Act against the physician who performed such service. The bill would establish the statute of limitations for such cause of action, the relief that could be sought, and the time frame to which the Act would apply. The provisions of the Act would not apply if the child was born with a medically verifiable disorder of sex development, as defined in the bill. The bill also would require the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts to revoke the license of a physician who performed such service. Proponents included representatives of MassResistance (a Massachusetts organization), a member of the clergy and four private citizens. Written-only proponent testimony was submitted by Sen. Mike Thompson, representatives of American Family Action of Kansas and Missouri, Do No Harm, Kansas Family Voice, Kansas Catholic Conference, Crawford County Republican Party and 30 private citizens. Opponents included representatives of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, ACLU Kansas, Kansas Interfaith Action and three private citizens. Written-only opponent testimony was submitted by Rep. Brandon Woodard, Rep. Heather Meyer, Rep. Susan Ruiz, representatives of Kansas Interfaith Action, Equality Kansas, Planned Parenthood, Kansas Art Therapy Association and 105 private citizens.
The Committee also held a hearing on SB 5, which would amend the Kansas Telemedicine Act (Act) to clarify that “abortion procedure” includes the prescribing of drugs intended to induce an abortion. The bill also would prohibit those sections of the Act related to abortion from being altered or suspended during any state of disaster emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to KSA 48-924. Proponents included Sen. Mark Steffen, a representative of Insight Women’s Center and a private citizen. Written-only proponent testimony also was submitted by eight private citizens. Written-only opponent testimony was submitted by a representative of the League of Women Voters and two private citizens.
On Thursday, February 16, the Committee held a hearing on SB 191, also known as Charlie’s Bill, which would require an administrator or operator of any adult residential care facility to provide a notice to a resident when they are being involuntarily discharged from the facility. The bill also would allow the resident, or their representative, to appeal the involuntary transfer or discharge. The bill would create a similar process for appeals and required notification to residents in cases of an emergency transfer or discharge from an adult residential care facility. Proponents included Kansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Camille Russell, representatives of Kansas Legal Services, the Kansas Alzheimer’s Association, Council for Kansas AARP, Kansas Advocates for Better Care, Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, and a private citizen. Alexandra English, Kansas Legal Services, reported that Kansas is one of a handful of states that has no appeal process for residents. Opponents included representatives of the Kansas Adult Care Executives Association, LeadingAge Kansas, Bethany Village, Kansas Health Care Association and Kansas Center for Assisted Living. Lacey Hunter, Commissioner for Certification and Credentialing, KDADS, provided neutral testimony.
The Committee also held a hearing on SB 112, which would authorize a registered nurse anesthetist to practice as an independent Advanced Practice Registered Nurse within the scope of the licensee’s education and qualifications. The anesthetist would also be authorized to prescribe, procure, select, order, and administer any drug consistent with the licensee’s education. Proponents included representatives of the Kansas Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Advanced Specialty Aesthesia, and Americans for Prosperity. Written-only proponent testimony was submitted by representatives of the Kansas Chiropractic Association, Kansas State Board of Nursing, Occupational Health Services LLC., Kansas State Nurses Association, Kansas Advanced Practice Nurses Association, Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Justice Institute, and Wilde Foot and Ankle Clinic PA. Opponent testimony was submitted by a representative of the Kansas Medical Society and two private citizens. Chair Gossage asked the proponents and opponents to discuss their differences before the Committee works the bill.
The Committee also held a hearing on SB 131, which would allow an exemption from state licensure requirements for physicians licensed in good standing in another state when practicing medicine in Kansas on a limited basis during certain sporting events as detailed in the bill.
House Child Welfare and Foster Care Committee
(Rep. Susan Concannon, Chair)
On Monday, February 6, the Committee worked HB 2034, which would create a program within KDHE for the training of and payment for Child Abuse Review and Evaluation (CARE) providers who conduct CARE exams. The bill would establish definitions, requirements, and procedures related to CARE examinations and CARE providers and create the CARE Fund. The bill was passed favorably out of Committee.
The Committee then worked HB 2194, which would enact the Representative Gail Finney Memorial Foster Care Bill of Rights within the Revised Kansas Code for Care of Children (Code) and would enumerate the rights of children in need of care in the child welfare system and the rights of foster parents. Committee members expressed concerns about whether the bill creates a private cause of action, which would allow children or their representatives to take legal action if their rights are violated, but said codifying the rights into statute will provide clarity and serve as another tool for the state’s child advocate. The Committee then passed the bill favorably out of Committee.
On Wednesday, February 8, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2299, which would require the Department for Children and Families (DCF) to apply a best interest of the child standard when selecting an adoptive home for a foster child. The bill would add a provision specifying that any prior custody order, including one that placed custody with DCF, would cease upon a court granting custody of the child to the proposed adoptive parents. In granting custody for adoption, the bill would remove the current requirement that a court give primary preference to granting custody to a relative and second preference to someone with whom the child has close emotional ties. Proponents included representatives of FosterAdopt Connect and Children’s Alliance of Kansas and written-only proponent testimony was submitted by Kerrie Lonard, Kansas Division of the Child Advocate, and a representative of KVC Kansas. Committee members discussed and sought clarification of the role of DCF and the courts when the selection of an adoptive home is made.
On Monday, February 13, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2189, which would add the definition of non-minor dependent to the Kansas Code for Care of Children, which would be an individual who is at least 18 years old but less than 21 years old, and except for the age requirement, meets the definition of a child in need of care. Upon a written request by a child to a court, the bill would prohibit the court from issuing an order terminating jurisdiction over the child before June 1 of the school year in which the child turns 18 years old if the child is in an out-of-home placement, is still attending high school, and has not completed a high school education, or who is a non-minor dependent in the custody of DCF when in out-of-home placement and is transitioning to adulthood. The bill would require a non-minor dependent participate in case planning, attend school or work, make efforts to independence as determined by the Secretary, and receive independent living services from the Independent Living Program administered by the Secretary. If the non-minor dependent does not comply with these requirements, the Secretary could petition the court to terminate jurisdiction. The court would not have jurisdiction over a non-minor dependent after the non-minor dependent has been absent from placement for 30 calendar days or attains 21 years of age. Written-only proponent testimony was submitted by DCF and there was no opponent or neutral testimony.
On Wednesday, February 15, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2361, which would not require the court to grant custody to close relatives if a child has been in the custody of the Secretary of DCF for one cumulative year or more. Proponent testimony was provided by Sister Therese Bangert, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, neutral testimony was presented by DCF Secretary Laura Howard, and there was no opponent testimony. Secretary Howard reported that this past summer the Kansas Judicial Council studied the issue of attachment in adoption, assessed how legislation could require attachment assessment and how attachment to a non-relative caregiver can be balanced with the federal emphasis on keeping children with relatives, and made some recommendations and suggestions for legislation. She asked the Committee to review the Council’s work when considering legislation to address the issue of attachment. The Judicial Council’s December 2022 report can be reviewed at Attachment Study Report – 2022 (kansasjudicialcouncil.org).
The Committee also worked HB 2024, as amended, which would provide an alternate means to legally surrender an infant. The bill would authorize a parent or other person having lawful custody of an infant 60 days old or younger who has not suffered bodily harm to surrender physical custody to a newborn safety device, defined by the bill, installed at a police station, sheriff’s office, law enforcement center, fire station, city or county health department, hospital, ambulatory surgical center, or recuperation center (authorized facility). (The bill was passed favorably out of Committee on February 1 but rereferred to the Committee on February 8.) The Committee further amended the bill to:
- Modify the criteria required of relinquishing persons to legally surrender an infant pursuant to the Act and to be immune from civil or criminal penalty;
- Add a requirement that a determination by a medical professional be made to ensure great bodily harm to an infant does not exist;
- Add a requirement that law enforcement report a surrender under the bill to the Secretary;
- Reconcile language in the criminal child abandonment statute;
- Add a requirement that authorized facilities provide certain information to relinquishing parents; and
- Add a prohibition against publicly disclosing information related to an infant surrender pursuant to the Act.
The bill was again passed favorably out of Committee, as amended.
House Insurance Committee
(Rep. William Sutton, Chair)
On Monday, February 6, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2094, which would amend law relating to the financial documentation demonstrating fiscal soundness that must be submitted by a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a Medicare provider organization (MPO) when applying for a certificate of authority to provide healthcare in the state. The bill outlines the categories of documents that are required, such as organization and governance, business practices, contracts, medical records, insurance, and financial soundness; amends the documents required to establish fiscal soundness, such as financial projections, revenue and expense statements, and balance sheets; and makes technical changes throughout the text, such as conforming to current drafting practices and correcting language usage. Proponent testimony was presented by a representative of the Kansas Insurance Department, who stated the bill is intended to simplify the financial requirements for health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to transact business in the state. No opponent or neutral testimony was provided.
On Wednesday, February 15, the Committee worked HB 2094 and passed it favorably out of Committee.
House Social Services Budget Committee
(Rep. Les Mason, Chair)
On Monday, February 6, the Committee heard presentations on the KDHE-Health proposed budget from the Kansas Legislative Research Department (KLRD) and KDHE.
On Tuesday, February 7, the Committee heard public testimony on the KDHE budget from statewide organizations, including Kansas Association of Local Health Departments, Oral Health Kansas, Kansas Action for Children, Community Care Network of Kansas, EMS Association, Kansas Medical Society, Project Access, American Cancer Society, and the Kansas Dental Association.
On Thursday, February 9, the Committee voted to approve the KDHE fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget with the following amendments:
- Add $1.7 million, all funds, including $687,000 State General Funds (SGF), to extend Medicaid adult dental coverage to include dentures and partial dentures;
- Add $338,846 for the Senator Stan Clark Pregnancy Maintenance Initiative to increase case management services from six months to 12 months;
- Add $5.1 million, all funds, including $2 million SGF, to increase the complex rehabilitation technology code to 80 percent of Medicare rates;
- Add $1.4 million for Aid to Local Health Departments;
- Delete $671.4 million, including $71.5 million SGF, to remove funding for Medicaid expansion. The all-funds deletion includes $703.4 million from federal funds and $39.4 million from special revenue funds;
- Add $10.8 million, all funds, including $4.3 million SGF, to increase the Medicaid physician fee schedule by 5 percent;
- Add $5 million, all funds, including $2 million SGF, to increase EMS ground ambulance rates to 100 percent of the rural Medicare rates;
- Add $5 million, all SGF, for Community-Based Primary Care Clinic program;
- Transfer $938,756 SGF for the Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program from the JUUL settlement;
- Add $20 million, all SGF, to hospitals in rural opportunity zones. KDHE is directed to distribute the funds based on the volume of uncompensated care by each eligible hospital; and
- Add $500,000 to Project Access and Wy Jo Care.
The Committee also heard presentations on the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) budget.
On Tuesday, February 14, the Committee heard public testimony on the DCF budget from representatives of the Kansas Children’s Service League, Centers for Independent Living, Kansas Children’s Alliance, Boys and Girls Clubs of Kansas, and Safe Families.
On Wednesday, February 15th, the Committee approved the Governor’s recommendations for the FY 2023 and 2024 DCF budgets, with the following amendments to the FY 2024 budget:
- Add $750,000, including $624,975 SGF and $125,025 other funds, for the KanCoach foster care supervisor coaching program;
- Add $350,000 to expand the Safe Families program into new areas;
- Add $216,783 to Centers for Independent Living grants, to be split by proportional size;
- Add $300,000 continued funding for the Hope Ranch for Women, a facility for women who have been sexually exploited and trafficked; and
- Add $780,000 additional funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs.
On Wednesday, February 15, the Committee heard public testimony for the KDADS budget from representatives of Compass Behavioral Health, Kansas Clubhouse Coalition, Envision Child Development Center, North Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging, Rainbows United, Ability Point, Prairie View, EmberHope Youthville, CKF Addiction Treatment, 3 Rivers, Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ, Kansas Advocates for Better Care, Kansas Adult Care Executive Association, Kansas Hospital Association, Kansas Association Area Agencies on Aging and Disability Services, InterHab, Midwest Health, Kansas Mental Health Coalition, Midland Care, Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities, Behavioral Health Association of Kansas, LeadingAge Kansas, Kansas Health Care Association and Kansas Center for Assisted Living. Conferees provided testimony on a variety of enhancements including: enhancements to the clubhouse programs, senior nutrition, Targeted Case Management, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) certifications, psychiatric residential treatment facilities, 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, problem gambling, payments to adult care homes, intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) planning tool, the PACE program, I/DD waiver slots, vocational programs, substance use disorder funding, patient observation reimbursement for psychiatric patients waiting in jails and emergency rooms for state hospital beds, and nursing facility rates.
Several conferees spoke about increasing the Targeted Case Management rate. The CCBHC certification process was addressed by several conferees, as there are more CMHCs ready for certification than current funding will support.
House Federal and State Affairs Committee
(Rep. Will Carpenter, Chair)
On Thursday, February 9, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2269, which would amend the Kansas Cigarette and Tobacco Products Act (Act) to raise the minimum age to 21 to sell, purchase, and possess cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and tobacco products. The bill also would amend the Act’s unlawful act provisions concerning cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, or tobacco products, specifically to amend references to the minimum age in statutes concerning the sale, furnishing or distribution of cigarettes, electronic cigarettes or tobacco products; the possession of such products; the age listed on required notice of the minimum age to be sold such products; distribution of samples within 500 feet of a school when the facility is primarily used by persons under the minimum age; distribution of such samples in an area to which persons under minimum age are allowed access; and use of a self-service display in a facility where the retailer allows persons younger than the minimum age to be present or permitted to enter at any time. Proponents, including Rep. John Eplee and representatives of the Kansas Department of Revenue and KDADS, expressed concerns about the loss of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants for mental health, substance abuse and addiction treatment programs that the state would experience if it remained out of compliance with federal regulations. Written-only proponent testimony was submitted by representatives of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, DCCCA, Kansas National Education Association, Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kansas Hospital Association, and University of Kansas Cancer Center. Oral neutral testimony was provided by representatives of the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition and American Heart Association, who both stated their wish to see Kansas do more than a technical fix to prevent Kansas children from becoming addicted to tobacco and related products.
On Tuesday, February 14, the Committee worked HB 2084, which would enact the Kratom Consumer Protection Act and permit the Secretary of Agriculture to implement a fine on processors and retailers that sell, prepare, manufacture, distribute, or advertise kratom products that are adulterated with dangerous non-kratom substances. The bill was amended to raise the minimum age of consumption from 18 to 21 years of age and require each kratom product to include a warning label, then was passed favorably out of Committee.
On Thursday, February 16, the Committee worked HB 2269 (see above) and passed it favorably out of Committee.
Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee
(Sen. Mike Thompson, Chair)
On Wednesday, February 8, the Committee held a hearing on SB 116, which would create law related to firearm safety education programs conducted in public school districts. The bill would allow local school boards to provide firearm safety education programs. The State Board of Education (State Board) would be directed to establish curriculum guidelines for a standardized firearm safety education program, which would be required to include accident prevention. The bill would provide that specific programs would be used based on the grade level of students.
Proponents included Rep. Patrick Penn, Rep. Rebecca Schmoe, representatives of the Kansas State Rifle Association and National Rifle Association, and a private citizen. Written-only proponent testimony was provided by representatives of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Safari Club International. Written-only opponent testimony was provided by representatives of the Kansas National Education Association, Kansas Parent Teacher Association, and State Board of Education and five private citizens. Written-only neutral testimony was provided by a representative of the Kansas Association of School Boards.
On Thursday, February 9, the Committee worked HB 116 and passed it favorably out of Committee.
House Welfare Reform Committee
(Rep. Francis Awerkamp, Chair)
On Tuesday, February 7, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2140, which would increase the maximum age in the definition of an Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) from 49 to 59 years of age. Such adults between the ages of 18 and 59 would be subject to benefit limitations and work requirements in order to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Proponent testimony was presented by a representative of Opportunity Solutions Project. Opponent testimony was provided by representatives of AARP Kansas, Kansas Action for Children, and Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. Written-only opponent testimony was provided by representatives of Harvesters, the American Heart Association, Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, DCF, Flint Hills Breadbasket, Kansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities, Kansas National Education Association, University of Kansas Institute for Policy and Social Research, and Wyandotte County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program.
On Thursday, February 9, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2141, which would require all custodial and non-custodial parents to cooperate with the Child Enforcement Program. The bill also would disqualify any individual from participating in the Food Assistance Program during any month the individual is delinquent in making a court-ordered support payment. Proponent testimony was provided by a representative of Opportunity Solutions Project. Opponent testimony was provided by representatives of Kansas Action for Children, Kansas Appleseed and Harvesters. Written-only opponent testimony was provided by representatives of Cultivate KC, DCF, the Kansas National Education Association, the Kansas Public Health Association, and United Community Services of Johnson County.
On Tuesday, February 14, the Committee worked HBs 2140 and 2141, and conducted a question-and-answer session with Tanya Keys, DCF, regarding federal requirements and how the current state law operates for food assistance programs.
On Thursday, February 16, the Committee worked HB 2140, amended the bill to replace references to able-bodied adults ages 18 through 59 without dependents with ages 18 through 49, which is current law, and add language to specify work registrants ages 50 through 59 without dependents not exempt under federal law would be required to participate in an employment and training program to receive SNAP benefits, and passed it favorably out of Committee.
The Committee also worked HB 2141, amended the bill to modify the frequency with which custodial and non-custodial parents would be reviewed for compliance with child support and add conditions in which failure to comply with child support would not result in disqualification, and passed it favorably out of Committee.
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