Legislature Hits Halfway mark

The legislature wrapped up the first half of the regular session this past week. Many committees met last Monday and Tuesday to finish work on non-exempt bills. Then, ahead of the Turnaround deadline on Friday, the House and Senate spent Wednesday and Thursday on their respective floors churning through the many bills that have made it through the committee process. The House considered over 70 bills on the floor and the Senate ran nearly 40 bills in their chamber.

Notably, on Wednesday the House failed in their attempt to override the Governor’s veto of the legislature’s flat tax plan. The vote failed to get the necessary supermajority, or 84 votes, with an 81-42 spread, with four Republicans breaking with their caucus and voting to sustain the Governor’s veto. Legislative leaders haven’t yet indicated their intentions regarding tax reform moving forward. But there remains a desire among members to get back to the drawing board and pass a plan that could garner the support of Governor Kelly. Kelly has said she will call the legislature back to a special session if the legislature doesn’t send a tax bill she can sign.  The legislature’s failure to override the Governor’s veto and pass this key policy priority could hasten the end of the session, as legislative leaders may now turn their attention to completing work on the state budget and moving towards a swift adjournment.

Most of the bills the legislature considered this week were noncontroversial and passed with significant margins. But the Senate did take up and narrowly approve a controversial public health bill. SB 352 creates a new civil cause of action against health care providers and facilities for violations of visitation provisions and certain other specified patients’ rights. The Senate also advanced SB 391, restricting the ability of the Secretary of KDHE from establishing regulations regarding the prevention of the spread of infectious and contagious diseases. The bill would significantly limit the authority of the Secretary and local health officers to making advisory recommendations only, and any orders for quarantine or isolation would be the responsibility of the boards of county commissioners. KMS opposed both bills which now move to the House for further consideration.

Now that the Turnaround deadline has passed, only those bills which advanced from their chamber of origin or were exempted from the deadline can move forward. Senate leadership did not exempt SB 490, the optometry scope of practice bill which had a hearing last Tuesday, but did exempt SB 496, which would significantly expand the scope of naturopathic practice to include the prescribing of drugs, including controlled substances, among other things. SB 461, the laser hair removal act, was also exempted from the deadline. The bills exempted from the deadline remain alive for further consideration this session.

After a brief break, the legislature will return on Wednesday, February 28 for the second half of the session. When they return, non-exempt committees will have 18 days remaining to meet.

For questions about legislative matters, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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