The Rahjes Report (February 28, 2022)

Published 02/28/2022

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Hello from Agra, we have reached the halfway point of the 2022 legislative session. I apologize for missing last week, it has been a very busy and I ran out of time before publication deadline. There has been a lot of speculation and discussion about HB 2531, this is the bill that deals with the use of country road right of ways for agricultural purposes. The bill did not get worked as more work is being done to add more clarification and is being sent back to committee then taken up by the full house. While there has been a lot of attention locally, the issue has statewide implications. Here as some of the things that happened last week:

Giving Power to the People, Not Unelected Bureaucrats

This past week the House reconsidered its action on HCR 5014. HCR 5014 places a constitutional amendment on the November 2022 ballot. The constitutional amendment will ensure legislative oversight of administrative rules and regulations. Following a bill becoming a law, often there are rules and regulations to be developed by state agencies. Unfortunately, executive branch bureaucrats often use the rules and regs process to essentially create their own law or circumvent the intent of the law that was passed. Passing a constitutional amendment would allow the Legislature to establish a procedure for revoking or suspending rules and regulations that are adopted by these agencies that do not meet with the intent of the law. The House approved the resolution with a two-thirds vote, 85-39. The resolution now goes to the Senate, where if two-thirds of their members adopt the resolution, it shall be placed on the November general election ballot.

Giving Power to the People in the Selection of County Sheriffs

The House passed HCR 5022, which is a constitutional amendment requiring that a sheriff be elected in each county. The resolution exempts a county if they abolished the office of sheriff prior to January 11, 2022. HCR 5022 also addresses how a sheriff is removed. Involuntary removal would only be through a recall election or a writ of quo warranto initiated by the Attorney General. The resolution met the two-thirds vote threshold, with a vote of 97-24, and now heads to the Senate for its consideration. If two-thirds of the Senate adopt the resolution, it will appear on the November general election ballot.

Looking ahead—The Second Half of the Session

With turnaround reached, House Committees will begin working bills passed by the Senate. Budget Committees are wrapping up recommendations to the Appropriations Committee, so it may finalize a budget bill by mid-March. Other big issues awaiting House action are stabilizing the KPERS system and addressing a comprehensive tax plan.

The Redistricting process picks up after turnaround as well. The House will adopt a map of House districts to accommodate population changes and the Senate will do likewise. Both chambers will have the opportunity to review and approve the other chamber’s map. In addition, both chambers will approve a State Board of Education (SBOE) map, reflecting the changes approved in the Senate map, as each SBOE district will contain four Senate districts.

A couple of other bills of interest include HB 2456 Establishing the Kansas kids lifetime combination hunting and fishing license. The bill passed 117-4. HB 2483 Providing for the daughters of the American revolution distinctive license plate. The bill passed 105-16. HB 2567 Increasing certain registration and title fees on vehicles for services performed by county treasurers and the division of vehicles and decreasing certain fees related to administrative costs and disposition of such fees. The bill passed 114-6-1.

In the agriculture committee: HB 2559 Creating the Kansas cotton boll weevil program and requiring the program to levy an assessment upon Kansas produced cotton and monitor and mitigate the risk of boll weevils. The bill passed 83-37. HB 2563 Concerning the Kansas seed law and the commercial industrial hemp act; relating to labeling; seeds treated with certain substances; definitions; labeling; unlawful actions; certain registrations; inspections; live plant dealers; and testing services. The bill passed 113-8. HB 2605 Increasing the rural population requirement maximum for the veterinary training program for rural Kansas and creating a food animal percentage requirement that may be fulfilled in lieu thereof. The bill passed 115-6.

You can follow along on happenings in the legislature online at kslegislature.org and you can watch committee meetings and when the house and senate are on the floor on the Kansas Legislature’s YouTube channel. If you would like to contact me: my office is still located in Room: 149-S. My statehouse phone number is (785) 296-7463 and email is: ken.rahjes@house.ks.gov and you can always try my cell number at (785) 302-8416.

It is my honor to serve you.