Last week on Thursday, February 14, 2019, the House debated the reamortization of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System’s unfunded liability for thirty years, House Bill 2197. This particular bill was a major component of the governor’s budget that she submitted in early January.
This bill did have a hearing in the House Financial Institutions and Pensions committee and was then sent to the entire House of Representatives for consideration.
Thursday we debated the merits of House Bill 2197. After about forty minutes of debate, the bill failed to receive enough votes for passage, failing 36 to 87. Had this measure passed both the House and then the Senate, it would have extended the time that KPERS is not fully funded for another fifteen years and would extend a debt legacy of $7.4 billion.
On another KPERS related issue, on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, the House Appropriations Committee passed for the consideration of the House Senate Bill 9, which would authorize the payment of $115 million to KPERS for a delayed payment that was not made a few years ago due to budget deficits. On Thursday, I led debate on the House floor regarding Senate Bill 9 and it passed in final action on Friday, February 22, 2019, 125-0. The bill now goes to Governor Kelly for her signature.
Last session, the Kansas Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law, Senate Bill 263, which allowed for an industrial hemp research program under the conditions of the Federal Farm Bill that was passed in 2014. In December 2018, the Federal Government made additional changes to the Farm Bill, that just recently passed, which now makes hemp available as a commercial crop. Last week, in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, a hearing was held on House Bill 2173, which would alter the existing law regarding the industrial hemp research program and would align the language to be in conjunction with the language of the Farm Bill of 2018. There are many changes that will need to be made moving the state of Kansas from an industrial hemp research program to making it a commercial crop for our farmers.
The House Appropriations Committee did conduct a hearing on the Governor’s Supplemental Budget Bill for the remaining months of 2019, House Bill 2121.
The budget committees have been working diligently in sifting through the enhancements that have been requested by the agencies or departments, seeing whether those have been approved or denied by the Governor, and then reexamining the request in seeing if it was valid.
The budget committee chairs have been reporting the budget committee recommendations to the full Appropriations Committee for two weeks now.
When they complete with the reporting of recommendations, tentatively right now that date is March 13, 2019, we will then compile the information and requests into House Bill 2121 for the remaining months of this fiscal year.
The other budget bill, House Bill 2122, is referred to as the MEGA Budget Bill, and that will contain the budget provisions for all of the agencies and departments for the state of Kansas for fiscal year 2020. It will also incorporate the budget directions for some agencies and departments for the outlying year of 2021. Both of these bills will be considered by the full House.
As always, if you have any concerns, feel free to contact me (785) 296-7672, follow on twitter at @waymaster4house, visit www.troywaymaster.com or email me at email@example.com. Also, if you happen to visit the statehouse, please let my office know.
It is a distinct honor to serve as your representative for the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions. I always appreciate hearing from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas, as well.
Rep. Troy L. Waymaster, 109th District, serves as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Born and raised in Russell, he continues today to be active in the farming operation of the family farm south of Bunker Hill today. Waymaster represents the Barton County communities of Albert, Olmitz, Galatia, Susank, Odin and Claflin.