April 22, 2016

The regular session of the 2016 legislative season ended on March 24 this year, which was over a week early. It appears that the legislature will get its work done within the 90 day limit set by the Kansas Constitution. I appreciate legislative leadership encouraging committee chairs to get work done in a timely manner, but many outstanding issues remain.

The main unresolved issue facing the Legislature is that the state continues to bring in less revenue than predicted. March revenues were $1.7 million below estimates. While some are calling that a victory, when compared with previous shortfalls, revenues often swing greatly from one month to another and the long-range trend is what matters. The long-range trend is what led the Governor to cut Wichita State and the other state universities last month with only a few months left in their current budget year. Making cuts in such a rushed way can often lead to cuts to successful programs.

As I have unfortunately had to share before, it looks like the Governor and his allies will once again squeeze our highway system and now the state’s pension plans to fill a hole that neither the highways nor the pensions created. To date, $1.7 billion has been transferred from our highways and bridges, making travel less safe for our families and less reliable for our farms and businesses.

Another unresolved issue is school funding. When legislators take the oath of office to uphold the Kansas Constitution, providing students with a suitable education is part of it. Before adjourning the regular session, the legislature fast-tracked a school funding bill (Senate Sub for HB 2655).

This bill is only intended to make sure that the state formula for supplementing school’s local option budgets is constitutionally equitable. The bill was designed to hold districts “harmless,” meaning that no schools would lose money. It also returns the school capital outlay formula to the pre-block grant formula and gives the State Board of Education the authority to approve extraordinary needs funding rather than the State Finance Council. While I think much of the state’s current block grant formula doesn’t do enough, this bill was necessary to ensure schools open in August.

Another major issue that the legislature is going to consider during the wrap-up session is restricting how mayors, city councils, and county commissions will pay for local streets and services. The idea is that this “tax lid” will lead to lower property taxes for me and you. I have predicted for a few years now that the Governor’s tax plan was really a tax shift onto local taxpayers. In order to fill the gap created by revenue shortfalls, the state decided to make local governments pay for more things, such as requiring law enforcement to detain more people with state violations and mental health issues. Support for local hospitals and local road budgets are just a few examples of other areas where more pressure has been put on local property taxpayers.

During debate on the tax lid bill, (Senate Sub for HB 2088) I offered a successful amendment to exempt fire, police and emergency services to ensure that our cities and counties can pay for these critical services. Local communities should not have to pay for an election in order to cover unexpected costs following a tragedy. I believe our local elected officials know how to address the needs of their community better than politicians in Topeka.

While there is not a lot of positive news out of Topeka, one of the good things we did this session was reform our juvenile justice system. Work on this began prior to session and continued for the first few months of the year. The focus of the legislation was to add more evidence-based practices to the system, including more options for community-based detention, immediate intervention, and incentives for good behavior. In order for this to work, the state will need to keep its promise to help juvenile offenders up front rather than continue letting many of them become adult offenders-at a much higher cost to taxpayers and society as a whole.

During this break, I have enjoyed seeing everyone around the district. As always, the input I receive from you though emails, at legislative forums, and at the grocery store is invaluable to me. In my next update, I’ll discuss the recent Consensus Revenue Estimates, April Revenues and the current proposals to balance the budget.

Visiting our Schools

Maize Alternative School
During the April Break, I had the opportunity to visit Maize Alternative School. Success stories throughout the building. Many amazing things are happening in Kansas classrooms.
Pictured with Senator McGinn are Isaiah and Superintendent Chad Higgins.

Bills on General Orders March 21st, 2016

S Sub HB 2059 An Act Concerning Water

SB 436 An Act Concerning Public Health

SB 437 An Act Concerning Health Care

HB 2456 An Act Enacting the Interstate Medical Licensure

HB 2632 An Act Concerning the Pooled Money Investment Board

HB 2610 An Act Designating the Junction of Interstate

S Sub HB 2441 An Act Concerning Education

HB 2518 An Act Concerning Vital Statistics

HB 2547 An Act Concerning Wildlife, Parks & Tourism

S Sub HB 2056 An Act Concerning Bail Enforcement Agents

HB 2549 An Act Concerning Law Enforcement

HB 2134 An Act Concerning Consumer Credit

HB 2696 An Act Concerning Law Enforcement

HB 2502 An Act Concerning Civil Procedure

SB 363 An Act Concerning the State Board of Healing Arts

SCR 1610 An Act Reaffirming 10th Amendment Rights

S Sub HB 2156 An Act Concerning Water

S Sub HB 2509 An Act Concerning the Department of Commerce

HB 2617 An Act Concerning Workers Compensation

SB 439 An Act Relating to Grounds for Impeachment

S Sub HB 2509 An Act Concerning the Department of Commerce

SB 353 An Act Concerning Property Taxation

SB 359 An Act Concerning Property Taxation

S Sub HB 2088 An Act Concerning Property Taxation

S Sub HB 2018 An Act Concerning the Uniform Controlled Substance Act

HB 2460 An Act Concerning the Kansas Offender Registration Act

HB 2463 An Act Concerning Crimes, Punishment & Criminal…

HB 2436 An Act Concerning Motor Vehicles

Sub HB 2289 An Act Concerning Driving

SB 469 An Act Concerning Public Employees

Sub SB 356 An Act Concerning Education

Sub SB 462 An Act Concerning Civil Procedure

SB 509 An Act Concerning State Finances

SB 424 An Act Concerning Consumer Protection

SB 480 An Act Concerning Crimes, Punishment & Criminal…

S Sub HB 2655 An Act Concerning Education

Veto Override attempts:
SB 250
State building construction; relating to the monthly reports of progress; making and concerning appropriations for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, for various state agencies; concerning the Docking state office building

Veto sustained, 26-13. I voted aye to override.
(Failed to receive 2/3 majority)

Budget Proviso to limit Star Bonds
Making and concerning appropriations for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, June 30, 2017, and June 30, 2018, for the state agencies; authorizing certain transfers, capital improvement projects and fees, imposing certain restrictions and limitations, and directing or authorizing certain receipts, disbursements, procedures and acts incidental to the foregoing
Veto override succeeds, 30-8. I voted aye to override.
Goodwill Industries

coming to Newton

It was great to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new Goodwill Industries More about Goodwill Industries store in Newton. Others pictured above from left are Ron Harder, Joe Johnson SJC&F architects, Senator Carolyn McGinn, Elizabeth Schmidt HarveyMarion CDDO, and Emily Compton, CEO Goodwill Industries. Also pictured is Newton Mayor Glen Davis.

New on the McGinn Farm

We were blessed by the recent rain and our corn is coming up on the farm.

We are expecting baby lambs any day now. I hope to feature them in the next legislative update.

Working for Kansas, Working for us!

Due to the large volume of emails, I am occasionally not able to respond to all of your comments. Please know that they are read, and if it is urgent please email my senate email address at carolyn.mcginn@senate.ks.gov or contact my office at:
785-296-7377 during session.

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Where to Vote
on March 5, 2016
for the Presidential Caucus:


Harvey County:
Sante Fe Middle School
130 West Broadway
Newton, KS 67114

Sedgwick County: (with Harper & Kingman Counties)
Convention Hall at Century II
225 W Douglas Ave
Wichita, KS 67202


Bethel College- Memorial Hall, 300 27th St, North Newton, KS 67114

Senator Carolyn McGinn
Working for Kansas
Paid for by McGinn for State Senate, Leslie J. Ward Treasurer

Working for Kansas, P.O. Box A, Sedgwick, KS 67135