Mid-Week update

Governor Announces Plans to Veto HB 2178

Last night, at a Chamber of Commence Dinner, Governor Brownback announced that he will veto the tax bill supported by a bipartisan majority of 98 Democrats and Republicans. He stated raising taxes is bad policy.

HB 2178 is a comprehensive piece legislation that will raise over one billion dollars over the next two years, reinstate a third personal tax bracket, and remove the LLC exemption.  

It is important for you and your community to share with your Senator and Representative the importance of a YES vote to override the Governor's veto. In the Senate, the bill passed with 22 YES votes so they need to pick up additional votes. In the House, it passed with 76 votes so an additional 8 new voters are needed.
House Nay votes:  Arnberger, Aurand, Awerkamp, Barker, Burroughs, B. Carpenter, Claeys, Corbet, E. Davis, Delperdang, Ellis, Esau, Finch, Garber, Hawkins, Highland, Hodge, Hoffman, Houser, Huebert, Humphries, Jacobs, K. Jones, Landwehr, Osterman, R. Powell, Rafie, Ryckman, Schwab, Seiwert, Smith, E., Sutton, Thimesch, Vickrey, Waymaster, Weber, C., Whipple, Whitmer, K. Williams. Absent or not voting: DeGraaf, Kiegerl, Mastroni.

Senate Nays: Alley, Baumgardner, Bowers, Denning, Estes, Fitzgerald, Holland, LaTurner, Lynn, Masterson, Olson, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Pyle, Suellentrop, Tyson, Wagle, Wilborn.


House gives preliminary approval to restore teacher due process

The Kansas House on Tuesday tentatively approved restoring the due process for teachers law that was repealed during a contentious political fight in 2014. 
The measure was added as an amendment to House Bill 2186, which dealt with the Uniform Arbitration Act. The amendment was approved 66-59 and then the bill advanced to final passage 68-54. Final action is scheduled for tomorrow; if the bill passes it will go to the Senate for consideration. 
State Rep. Jerry Stogsdill, D-Prairie Village, brought the amendment, saying the due process procedures were needed to protect good teachers.  

The repeal of due process in 2014 was done as an amendment on the Senate floor to a school finance bill in a controversial move with little notice and no public hearings.  

Supporters of Stogsdill’s amendment said it was needed because teachers feel like they are under attack and not appreciated. Opponents of Stogsdill’s amendment said school boards should have final say on the issue and that a compromise should be worked on between the Kansas National Education Association and KASB. 

After Stogsdill's amendment, state Rep. Blake Carpenter, R-Derby, proposed an amendment to establish merit pay for teachers, but the provision was declared not germane to the bill so no action was taken.

USA-Kansas stands neutral on the bill but the association has been activity working with KNEA, KSSA, and KASB on finding neutral ground.


House advances bill amending KPERS working after retirement provisions

The Kansas House has given tentative approval to a bill making adjustments in policies for working after retirement from the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, including a new exception for employees who retire at age 62. 

House Bill 2268 amends several provisions the 2015 and 2016 working after retirement rules that were put in place over the past two years. 

The KPERS office provided the following breakdown of the amendments and changes that were added to HB 2268 and are moving forward from the House towards final action. 

USA-Kansas has been working with KPERS and the house sub-committee for Financial Institution and Pensions on a plan to simplify the bill and allow retired members to continue to work in schools. Unfortunately, Chairman Kelly was not ready to make substance changes to the bill before it was voted out of committee. We anticipate this bill being assigned to the Senate committee for Financial Institutions and Insurance where we will again focus on the needed change

House Bill Changes to KPERS Working After Retirement: 

  • Third party and independent contractors.  Amended in language provided by the League of Municipalities to provide clarification about the way working after retirement restrictions apply to retirees returning to work for a KPERS employer as independent contractors or through a third party contractor.  
  • Age 62 exemption.  Amended in language permitting any retiree who retired at or after age 62 to return to work for a KPERS employer without a $25,000 earnings limit for an unlimited period of time.  In such cases, employers would pay a 30% employer contribution rate. 
  • Regents provision.  Amended in the provisions of HB 2005, clarifying that KPERS retirees who work for Regents institutions in positions covered by the Regents retirement plan are exempt from the working after retirement earnings limit. 
  • Consolidate exemptions.  Amended in language to collapse the three working after retirement exemptions (hardship, hard-to-fill and special education) into a single exemption with criteria similar to the current hardship exemption. This emergency exemption could be used for up to three years with a possibility of a one-year extension (after submitting an assurance protocol), and the employer would be required to document continued efforts to fill the position on a permanent basis throughout the exemption. 
  • Legislative earnings cap. Amended in language that only taxable legislative income would be considered in applying the working after retirement earnings cap for KPERS retirees serving as legislators.  Currently, legislative expense payments are counted as part of the $25,000 earnings limitation for KPERS retirees who are serving as legislators. 
  • Technical amendment.  Amended in language to change a specific statutory reference from 8.0 percent as the KPERS assumed investment rate of return to the “rate as specified by the Board of Trustees” (now 7.75%). 




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