Each legislative session, we provide the Shawnee Mission area’s elected officials with the chance to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Rep. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Jarrod Ousley and Sen. Barbara Bollier are scheduled to send updates this week. Here’s Sen. Bollier’s filing:
We are now approaching one of the busiest times of the legislative session. This week is turn-around week, where both chambers will spend three days “on the floor” debating bills that have been passed by our committees. The Majority Leader of each chamber determines which of the bills will be worked, and which ones will remain “below the line” to potentially die at the end of the year. If a bill has not been moved out of committee, it must be “blessed” (run through an exempt committee) to keep it available for a committee hearing; if not blessed, then it will be dead after this week. After Thursday, bills that have passed the Senate move over to the House, and vice-versa. The legislature will break from February 23 until February 28.
Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee has been very busy these past few weeks. We passed a Dental Therapy bill which creates a new provider of care available to dentists who accept Medicaid patients; it has taken over 8 years for this practice modality to pass in Kansas, and it required compromise from both the dentists and those advocating for dental therapists. Also passed was an electronic monitoring bill that allows residents of nursing homes and/or their families to electronically monitor their rooms, with the goal to prevent abuse of those residents who cannot protect themselves or even speak for themselves. Both of these bills have also been passed by the entire Senate. Monday is our final day of committee meetings before turn-around, and bills that I believe we will work include expansion of Medicaid for Kansans, increasing tobacco-cessation treatment options for Medicaid recipients, and putting in safeguards around prescription “step-therapy” practice. With limited space in this article, please refer to my newsletter to get updates on the rest of my committees.
This session I have introduced two pieces of legislation that to date, have not had hearings. SB390 would enact an Extreme Risk Protection Order. It sets out a protocol for a judge to order the temporary removal of guns from an individual who is found to be a risk to him/herself or to others, including how to store and how to return those weapons. Current law allows for the removal of weapons from those deemed mentally ill, but does not specify a process. Current law does not provide a mechanism to request removal of guns temporarily, such as a person in a domestic violence situation, or a family that sees suicidal tendencies in another family member who is of age. With a country crying out for help with our gun violence issues, I absolutely cannot understand why this bill cannot get prioritized for a hearing. WE MUST NOT BE COMPLICIT with the gun violence around us, nor should we continue to stay beholden to the scorecard of the NRA. Please join me in demanding that our Kansas legislature find solutions to this extreme public health crisis.
My other bill, SB417, was introduced concurrently with HB2679 by Rep. Brett Parker, and would enact the Kansas Contraceptive Equity Act. If Kansas truly wants to reduce the number of abortions, we must ensure that all women have access to affordable birth control options. With President Trump striking down part of the Affordable Care Act that ensured contraceptive equity, this bill simply moves the same laws to the state level. I am sick and tired of the Kansas legislature’s refusal to do everything it can to eliminate unwanted pregnancy. Statistics show that improved access to contraception lowers abortion rates while giving women freedom to control their reproductive choices.
Please consider subscribing to my e-newsletter or following my Senator Barbara Bollier Facebook page to stay informed. There is so much more news for you to be aware of since it impacts you and your quality of life in Kansas. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as Senator of District 7.