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

Capitol_Spring_Topeka

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 last 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. So far we’ve published the thoughts of Rep. Jarrod Ousley and Sen. Pat Pettey.

We continue today with Rep. Barbara Bollier:

Barbara Bollier
Barbara Bollier

The best

HB 2370. Providing for gun violence restraining orders to be implemented by a judge. The bill could temporarily remove guns from someone who has a restraining order taken out against him/her OR from someone who might harm him/herself. Sensible gun laws will not eliminate all gun violence, but they certainly have been proven to help.

HB 2080 which has been amended into HB 2501. Transparency bill. Brought forward by Rep. Stephanie Clayton and Sen. Kay Wolf, the people of Kansas would have appropriate access to the details of legislative committees by this bill, which would require all committee proceedings to be filmed live for internet access. How can anyone be against transparency in government except for those who have something to hide?

HB 2586. Expanding access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC). In an effort to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and the number of abortions, particularly in teens, this bill follows a Colorado model of increasing funding for LARCs. It also would provide funding for training and education focused around LARCs. The funding would come primarily from grants, both federal and private. A tremendous potential savings in Medicaid expenditures would be another effect of implementation. Win-win for everyone!

HB 2526. Prohibitions on carrying concealed handguns in postsecondary educational institution buildings. The bill would eliminate the requirement now in statute that by 2017 college campuses have concealed carry unless they provide proof everywhere on campus that no weapons are carried by anyone. Both students and professors have been polled and stand against this bill. My significant concern is about student safety, particularly the mixing of binge drinking and guns. How great it would be to follow the will of the people affected by passing this law!

“A Bill” to return us to a positive revenue balance by eliminating the business exemption for all income tax AND amending the cuts to all income tax in Kansas. This actually does not exist as a bill, but would be a great resolution to the budgetary crisis in Kansas.

The worst

HB 2578. Allowing chiropractors to clear a young person suffering a head injury for play again. Chiropractors serve an important role in our health care system, but evaluating head injuries should not be one of them. Head injury care is not completely understood and is currently being heavily studied by neurologists and other medical specialists. The best, safest care for children suffering from head injuries involves an MD or DO and MAY ultimately include a DC.

HB 2292. Eliminating the Common Core Standards for education. This bill not only moves to eliminate the Common Core Standards but also removes anything that might align with them. That would include AP, SAT, or ACT tests or any curriculum that had been written to satisfy Common Core goals. I personally served on the committee that helped develop the Next Generation Science Standards that Kansas now follows as part of Common Core. It was a most impressive process that was focused on best outcomes and best learning for students. Enacting this bill would be a travesty for our students and would also cost a ridiculous amount of money to replace all the curriculum that has been purchased to align with these standards.

HB 2457. Amending the tax credit for low income scholarship students program. I did not vote for the original “scholarship” bill and find these changes even more harmful. Students would no longer be required to first be in public school to be eligible. Another change would be to allow a 90 percent tax liability credit to the donor replacing the 70 percent currently in law. Finally, this program can grow up to 25 percent annually starting with the current $10 million limit. I am not supportive of taking money from our public schools to fund private schools.

HCR 5008. Proposing a constitutional change to the method we use to choose our Kansas Supreme Court justices. I voted NO for this bill and it did not pass in the House.