The best and worst of bills being considered by the 2016 Kansas legislature: Rep. Ousley’s take


Turnaround day, the final day for a bill to be considered in its house of origin and one of the first major deadlines in a Kansas legislative session, came this week, and we thought it provided a good opportunity to check in with local legislators about which pieces of legislation have them excited and which have them disturbed.

We’ll start today with Merriam Rep. Jarrod Ousley, and add the insights of his northeast Johnson County colleagues from the House and Senate in the coming days:

The best

Rep. Jarrod Ousley.
Rep. Jarrod Ousley.
House Substitute for HB 2543, Election Audit Act. This bill broadens the scope of election audits in Kansas, and requires election machines to provide a paper receipt to the voter. This bill was “blessed” — that is, it was referred to a committee that did not face the turnaround deadline, so there is still an opportunity for it to receive a vote this year. See my update.

HB 2134. I have acted as the point person on committee for the bill, which was originally brought to Financial Institutions last year by Rep. Sydney Carlin. Children under 18 are at risk of having their social security number stolen or used (sometimes by estranged family members who lack credit). Then, when the child turns 18 and they attempt to make a purchase or apply for a credit card, they find that their credit is already ruined. As victims are often unwilling to turn a family member over to the police for the fraud, they have a difficult time restoring their credit. As credit reports are vital to an individual’s ability to secure good interest rates, purchase homes, and in some cases, are screened for employment purposes, this sets a child up for a difficult journey. This bill will protect children from such fraud, as it creates an opportunity for a concerned family member to have credit reporting agencies create a credit report for the minor, and place a freeze on the report, so that it cannot be utilized unless the freeze is lifted by the child upon reaching the age of 18. This bill was also blessed, and could receive a vote this year. You can read it here.

Rep. Clayton’s “Revenge Porn” HB 2080 was amended on to HB 2501 bill. You can read about it here.

The worst

HB 2578. You can read it here. This bill expands who can evaluate a child for concussion and approve the child’s reentry into a sports activity. I think we should leave the original language intact, and require that a healthcare provider be someone who is licensed by the state board of healing arts to practice medicine and surgery, i.e. a doctor. The risks from concussion are too great to not take them seriously and make sure the child is cleared by a doctor.

SB 410. This bill would allow the Kansas Department for Children and Families to create a special type of foster care parent that requires the couple to have been married for seven years, and requires there to be a stay-at-home parent. CARE families who choose not to enroll their foster children in public school could seek reimbursement of up to $4,102 in educational expenses annually. You can read about it here.

SUB HB 2292 This is the Anti Common Core Bill. You can read it here.

HB 2457. This is the Tax Credit Scholarship Bill. This bill redirects money that would otherwise go to the state general fund to private school tuition reimbursement via a tax credit. This did not receive a vote in the House prior to turnaround, but as it passed out of committee, it could still potentially be added on somewhere. “Zombie” bills never die. You can read more about it here.

And it’s important to note a lack of something: There has not yet been any discussion of a bill to address the Gannon ruling requiring additional investment to make school funding equitable. We have to address this.