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Dear Friend,

It’s Turnaround time, which is our first major legislative deadline. All bills have to be “turned around” or passed out of, their house of origin (the chamber in which they were introduced) in order to remain under consideration for the remainder of the session. 
Committees were swamped the last few weeks and you will see that we finished up committee work and were busy debating bills on the House floor. After a brief break to allow legislative staff to complete the Turnaround paperwork, we will return next week and begin considering bills sent over from the Senate. 

On the Home Front

Please join me for upcoming town hall meetings:

  • Saturday, March 7, 9 am at the Atchison Depot
  • Saturday, March 21, 9 am, location TBD in Wathena
While home during turnaround from the legislature it was great to catch up with my two Atchison grandsons last night—Julian and Gideon. What a great joy to get to read to them at bedtime!

Representative John Eplee

Kansas State Legislature
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Doniphan County
Atchison County

Contact Doc Eplee
At the Capitol:
300 SW 10th St., 512-N
Topeka, KS 66612

At home in Atchison:
163 Deer Run
Atchison, KS 66002
Under the Dome
Last week I was able to meet with the Mental Health advocacy group —led by Keith Rickards, Director of the Guidance Clinic with locations in Leavenworth, Atchison, and Oskaloosa. He again underscored the importance of KanCare expansion to improve access for those vulnerable Kansans with mental health issues.
On the House Floor  This week’s Calendar. Times below are unless otherwise noted in the Calendar.
Watch LIVE
Certain bills are exempt from deadlines depending on the committee, as listed below. 
You will notice the vast majority of our bills we pass either unanimously or by a very wide margin. Much of the work to iron out problems in a bill is done during the committee process.
Additionally, it’s not that I didn’t have committee work the last two weeks, but with two of my committees being exempt, most of the bills are not under deadline, so will be discussed in future newsletters. We did plenty on the House floor to keep you updated for a while – or help you sleep!
Passed the House on a divided vote:
HB 2507 would exempt businesses from liability claims when high school students apprentice as part of a work-based learning program, assuming students’ school districts have the applicable insurance coverage. This will allow students to move more quickly into skilled trades without the impediment of businesses being reluctant to risk liability. It passed 97-27, I voted YES. 

HB 2454 would allow self-storage unit operators to tow a vehicle, watercraft or trailer from units, and require that notice be given to the renter that the proceeds of sales will be used to satisfy liens, and remaining funds can either be claimed by occupants or sent to the state as unclaimed property. The bill also caps the maximum value renters can claim for damage or loss of personal property to the amount permitted to be stored under the rental agreement. Read hearing testimony here. It passed 114-9, I voted YES. 

  • HB 2487 would replace the term “emotional disturbance” in special education law with the term “emotional disability” in order to help remove the stigma associated with the “emotional disturbance” term. Read hearing testimony here. It passed 118-7, I voted YES.
  • HB 2448 would change the “car chase” laws to include operating a stolen motor vehicle. The bill also adds a fine of $500 when drivers are operating stolen vehicles during the commission of crimes. Read hearing testimony here. It passed the House 98-25, I voted YES. 
  • HB 2447 would increase the use of video conferencing in municipal courts, criminal, and civil proceedings, as well as allow children and parents to appear by videoconference instead of a personal appearance in court. This will help alleviate some of the strain on our system and work to comply with “speedy trial” requirements. Hearing testimony is available here. It passed 83-39, I voted YES. 
Children & Seniors
  • HB 2587: Current law only allows for adoptions to take place where the child or petitioners reside, or at the location of the principal place of business of the adoption agency. would allow adoptions to take place where the state, or an agency or subcontracting agency of the state, has an office. It passed 124-1, I voted YES.
Passed the House unanimously:
  • HB 2432 creates the Pesticide Waste Disposal Fund to provide funding to relieve the financial burden of disposing of pesticides and to reduce the health risk by having pesticides packaged, shipped and disposed of by professionals. Read hearing testimony here
  • HB 2451 would move livestock and domestic animals’ license, bond and permit renewal fee from June 30 to Sept. 30 each year. The legislation also would allow the animal health commissioner in the Department of Agriculture to recover the actual cost of official calfhood vaccination tags. Read hearing testimony here.
Public Safety
  • HB 2438 would allow the State Child Death Review Board to participate in a free national database to track child deaths. The legislation also would permit the Board to share information with law enforcement, as well as county and district attorneys, for investigation and prosecution purposes.
  • HB 2495 would allow compensation for mental counseling resulting from sexually violent crimes outside the two-year time limit from the date of testimony or after notification that DNA testing or other evidence has revealed the DNA profile of a suspect. The time limit would be waived if the Crime Victims Compensation Board determines there was good cause for failure to file. View hearing testimony here
  • HB 2547 would lower the current 90-day driver’s license suspension extension to 30 days for charges of driving while revoked or suspended under state law. View hearing testimony here.
  • HB 2420 would allow military surplus vehicles to register with the Division of Motor Vehicles for road use, if less than 35 years old, manufactured for use by the U.S. military, and authorized for sale to the public. 
  • HB 2516 would modify Kansas adjusted gross income (AGI) of individuals that contribute to a First-Time Home Buyer Act savings account, allowing individuals to open an account with a financial institution and designate all the funds in the account to be used to pay or reimburse a beneficiary’s eligible expenses for the purchase or construction of a primary residence in Kansas. The maximum contribution to an account in any tax year would be $3,000 by individuals and $6,000 by married couples filing jointly. Lifetime maximum contributions would be $24,000 by individuals and $48,000 by married couples filing jointly. View hearing testimony here. It passed 123-2, I voted YES.
Committee Work 
I will discuss most of the bills in this committee in the coming weeks, but wanted to highlight something I’m working on specifically for Atchison: 
  • HB 2596 is a bill I introduced to help companies who make alcoholic beverages. It would allow alcoholic beverage manufacturers to own a drinking establishment license for a business within two miles of the manufacturer’s location. This would allow Midwest Grain Products in Atchison, to own the Riverhouse Restaurant. We passed the bill out of committee and it’s waiting to be debated in the House.
Health and Human Services – Listen Live 1:30 pm weekdays
The committee received a briefing from Midland Care and PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) offered by the Department for Aging and Disability Services. 
Taxation – Listen Live 3:30 pm weekdays
We heard and passed these bills out of committee for House consideration:
  • HB 2541 would clarify that not-for-profit private colleges and schools that accept payment of tuition and fees by credit or debit cards are allowed to impose surcharges on cardholders who elect to pay by credit or debit instead of cash, check or similar means. This would level the playing field for private colleges versus public institutions, and would directly help Benedictine College in Atchison. 
  • HB 2607 would allow county commissions to set up installment plans for the payment of property taxes. Current law requires property taxes to be paid in full on Dec. 20 each year or in equal payments on Dec. 20 and May 10 of the following year. 
There were a number of other bills discussed, but I will focus on those after the Turnaround break as they come up. 
As always, it is an honor and a pleasure representing you at the Capitol. Please feel free to share my legislative newsletter with your friends and family and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments. 

Representative John Eplee, MD
Kansas House District 63
Serving Atchison and Doniphan counties
Paid for by Kansans for Eplee, Patsy A. Porter, CPA, Treasurer
Copyright © 2020, All rights reserved.

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Paid for by Kansans for Eplee, Patsy Porter, Treasurer · 163 Deer Run · Atchison, Ks 66002 · USA

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