The budget that was submitted by Governor Laura Kelly is contingent on the reamortization of the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System’s (KPERS) unfunded liability. This proposal has not been well received by the legislature since the cost of reamortization over thirty years would be an additional cost to the Kansas taxpayers of approximately $7.4 billion.
There was some movement this week regarding KPERS when the Kansas Senate passed Senate Bill 9, which will transfer $115 million from the state general fund to the Kansas Employees Retirement Fund to alleviate some of the reduced contributions from past years.
During the 2015 legislative session, a total of $97.4 million in KPERS contributions were not made into the retirement system. When that decision was made, it originally required the state to repay this contribution in fiscal year 2018, plus interest. However, at the time we were experiencing financial difficulties and that contribution was never made and added to the KPERS unfunded liability.
Senate Bill 9 passed out of the Senate with a vote of 40-0. This bill has now been sent to the House and the House Appropriations committee will have a hearing and work this bill.
Kansas Sports Betting
Last Wednesday, the House Federal and State Affairs Committee heard testimony on House Bill 2032, which would require that any sports gambling authorized by the Kansas Lottery be conducted exclusively at racetrack facilities. Essentially, this would legalize sports betting through the Kansas Lottery which would be able to conduct and operate sports betting. The lottery would also be allowed to enter into contracts with lottery vendors and the racetrack facilities. The language of the bill states that 0.25% of the total amount wagered is paid to the appropriate sport governing body, for example the NFL, MLB, or NBA. The amount of 6.75% of the wagered amount is deposited into either the Sports Wagering Receipts Fund or the Lottery Operating Fund.
Safe and Secure Schools Update
Last session, House Republicans, in an initiative to keep the children of Kansas safe and secure at school, drafted the Safe and Secure Schools Act. This act requires the State Board of Education to work with other agencies to develop statewide standards for safety and to craft security plans for each school district in the state. The contents were signed into law in May, 2018. Since that time, the Kansas State Department of Education and the State Board of Education have worked on creating, refining, and adopting standards. A total of $5 million was allocated in fiscal year 2019 to help schools make their buildings more secure. The districts requested a total of $13 million in improvements, unfortunately, the Governor recommended defunding this program entirely in her proposed budget for fiscal year 2020.
The federal government has also been looking into the School Safety issue, having recently published the final report of the Federal Commission on School Safety. The Commission focused on three broad categories: preventing school violence; mitigating the effects of violence on students and faculty; and responding to and recovering from attacks.
As always, if you have any concerns, feel free to contact me (785) 296-7672, follow on twitter at @waymaster4house, visit www.troywaymaster.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you happen to visit the statehouse, please let my office know.
It is a distinct honor to serve as your representative for the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions. I always appreciate hearing from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas, as well.
Troy Waymaster (R-Bunker Hill) is the 109th Dist. state representative and chairman of the House Appropriations committee. The 109th District includes Osborne, Russell, and Smith counties and portions of Barton, Jewell, Lincoln and Rush counties.