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Dear Friend,

If you’re looking for a break from 24/7 COVID news, read on about the work we did to close out the session early to help Kansans better cope with the uncertainty of the coming weeks. Yes, there’s virus information and resources in this newsletter, but I’ve moved it to the bottom.
 
The most accurate meme I have seen on social media goes something like this: 

  • “Previous generations were called to war. We are called to sit on our couches. We CAN do this.”

I’d love to hear your stories about your family is coping – funny, sad, creative – and please include whether I’m allowed to share your story in my newsletter!

As for our family - we were geared up to watch the grandkids while my daughter and son-in-law taught their classes from their home. That's not going to work now, so Debbie and I drove by their house as they waved out the window. Sad Grandpa! 😔 
End of the Regular Session
HB 2168: Because the state has not passed Medicaid Expansion, Kansas hospitals and nursing facilities chose to tax themselves nearly 2% to create a fund. They applied to Medicaid to use that money in place of the state’s matching portion, because the state wasn’t moving on expansion. This bill allows the provider assessment to increase to 3% of revenues added to the fund. Again, providers requested this increase as it allows them to better serve low-income Kansans. It passed the House 91-24 and the Senate 33-6. I voted YES.

Representative John Eplee

Resources
Kansas State Legislature
Register to Vote
Vote by Mail

Kansas Cash 
District 63 Map
Demographic Profile
Doniphan County
Atchison County


Contact Doc Eplee
At the Capitol:
300 SW 10th St., 512-N
Topeka, KS 66612
785-296-8621
john.eplee@house.ks.gov

At home in Atchison:
163 Deer Run
Atchison, KS 66002
913-367-2382

SB 66: The budget is usually the last thing to get done, but it was the one thing we had to do before sending everyone to quarantine. We call it a “basic” budget, but that’s only because we didn’t get much time to ruminate on it. While there were a few priorities I wish were included, this bill does the trick for now:

  • More than $80 million in direct coronavirus response and prevention
  • Mental Health: 
    • $4 million to create eight pediatric acute inpatient psychiatric beds in Hays
    • $2 million increase for Community Mental Health Centers
    • $1 million for a psychiatric residential treatment facility project in Newton
  • Medicaid reimbursement rate increases: 
    • 1% increase for nursing facilities
    • 5% increase for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) providers for the Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) community
    • $3 million increase for reimbursements to dentists under KanCare
  • 1-year extension of STAR bonds (Sales Tax & Revenue)
It passed the House 99-16 and the Senate 28-10. I voted YES.
 
H Sub SB 173 is the final version of the new transportation bill, now called the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan. The bill includes a number of important provisions:
  • One of the most impactful components is not even physical transportation, but virtual, by providing matching funds to localities for construction of a broadband network. 
  • Allows construction of three toll roads (likely to be expanded lanes of existing highways).
  • Unfulfilled T-WORKS projects must have at least the first phase begun before any new expansion project is begun. 
  • Creates a need-based scholarship up to $200 for completion of a driver’s education course.
  • Requires at least $8 million be spent in each county.
  • Final price tag of $10 billion over 10 years, but projects will be determined on a two-year rolling basis to provide flexibility with changing transportation modes.

It passed the House 112-3 and the Senate 37-2, I voted YES.

HCR 5025 extends Governor Kelly’s state of emergency declaration through May 1. It passed both chambers unanimously.

Coronavirus Resources
Emergency Actions in Kansas: 
  1. Extended unemployment benefits from 16 to 26 weeks and removed the one-week waiting period.
  2. Utilities are prohibited from cutting service until April 15.
  3. Lenders and landlords are prohibited from foreclosures and evictions through May 1.
  4. $5 million in no-interest loans for the hospitality industry, dubbed the Hospitality Relief Emergency (HIRE) Fund.
  5. The U.S. Small Business Administration has low interest loans available to sustain small businesses. 
  6. Kansas House Leadership compiled a very helpful site with resources all on one page and categorized in a helpful way.
Child Care
A handful of child care providers are remaining open to serve the needs of essential employees like health care and law enforcement. Call Child Care Aware (877.678.2548) for more information.
Stay At Home Orders:
  • Doniphan
  • Douglas
  • Johnson
  • Leavenworth
  • Lyon
  • Miami
  • Wyandotte
Large Gatherings
Governor Kelly issued an executive order reducing mass gatherings from 50 to 10 people. The order included a statewide framework for stay at home orders to provide consistency as counties make those calls. Kansas is not seeing the doubling of cases every 3-4 days, which we are not seeing. She is not issuing a statewide stay at home order yet because 89 of 105 counties do not have confirmed positive cases. 
Other Resources:
Johns Hopkins University coronavirus live heat map
The Washington Post included an incredible simulator in a recent article I thought you might enjoy.
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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