Legislators Return for Veto Session
After the First Adjournment three-week break, legislators returned to the Capitol on Monday, May 3, for the Veto Session to work on the final Omnibus appropriations bill, including K-12 school funding, and to respond to bills vetoed by the Governor. Legislators on Monday voted to override the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill (SB) 50 (related to tax cuts); House Bill (HB) 2058 (related to concealed handgun licensing); Senate Substitute (S. Sub.) for HB 2183 and HB 2332 (related to elections and voting) and four of her line-item vetoes in HB 2007 (the base budget bill), including Section 30(c) related to approval of federal coronavirus relief funds spending, and Sec. 80(e) related to an increase of the protected income level for individuals in the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program (see comments below in discussion on SB 159 regarding this provision).
On Monday, May 10, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reported a summary total of 310,927 COVID-19 cases (up 6,208 from April 12) with 5,016 deaths (up 86 from April 12).
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On Monday, May 3, Gov. Kelly announced that state tax receipts were $91.3 million over the estimate for the month of April and $404.2 million over April 2020.
On Tuesday, May 4, the House passed Sub. for SB 286, which would enact the COVID-19 Business Relief Act to provide funds for for-profit businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees during the period beginning March 12, 2021. It applies to those businesses impacted by an order making a restriction related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill defines “order” to mean “any order issued by any Kansas governmental entity related to the COVID-19 pandemic” and defines “restriction” to mean “any occupancy limitation, limitation on periods of operation, or the exertion by any governmental entity of other significant control on business resources or functionality related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The bill also defines “restriction” on and after May 31, 2021, to include “any governmental entity requirement for the use of face masks related to the COVID-19 pandemic that contains enforcement requirements.” On Friday, May 7, the contents of H. Sub for Sub. for SB 273 (related to payments from tobacco product manufacturers to the credit of the Kansas Endowment for Youth Fund) were replaced with the contents of Sub. for SB 286 by Conference Committee and the Conference Committee Report (CCR) was adopted by both the House and the Senate. In the CCR, the bill would establish in the State Treasury the COVID-19 Business Relief Fund to be administered by Legislative Coordinating Council (LCC) and all expenditures from the Fund shall be made by vouchers approved by the chairperson of the LCC. The bill would also establish the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Claims Board established under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General and the Act would be administered by the Board, with the assistance and support of the Office of the Attorney General. All claims brought under the Act would need to be filed with the Board during the period beginning on October 1, 2021, and ending on December 31, 2021. The provisions of the Act would expire on January 1, 2025.
Also on May, 4, the Senate passed S. Sub. for HB 2313, which, as amended, would enact the COVID-19 Retail Storefront Property Tax Relief Act to provide for property tax reimbursements in the event of shutdowns or capacity limitations due to disaster emergency declarations. On Thursday, May 6, the House nonconcurred in the Senate amendments to the bill and requested a conference and on Friday, May 7, both the House and Senate adopted the CCR. Note: The CCR also contained provisions related to property tax exemptions for Kansas National Guard and reservists members in good standing; continuation of the statewide levy for schools; and post audit study of taxation and exemption issues relating to non-profit and governmental entities competing against for-profit businesses.
On Wednesday, May 5, the Senate adopted the CCR for Sub. for SB 238 (adopted by the House on April 9), which would amend and update the Pharmacy Act of the State of Kansas (Pharmacy Act) with regard to the powers, duties, and functions of the State Board of Pharmacy and would also amend the Emergency Medical Services Act to clarify the oversight provided by medical directors with regard to emergency medical services and to provide an alternate procedure for appointment of a medical director. The bill would amend the Pharmacy Act by creating a law to address the confidentiality of investigations, inspections and audits; allow for the cost of additional compliance inspections and audits required as a condition of probation or other disciplinary action to be charged to a licensee or registrant; define the practice of telepharmacy; require the Board to adopt rules and regulations for the oversight and administration of telepharmacy; and address the registration of manufacturers and virtual manufacturers. The bill would also amend the Pharmacy Act to provide that all civil fines assessed for violations of the Act that are collected must be credited to the State Board of Pharmacy Fee Fund, instead of a portion being credited to the State General Fund.
On Thursday, May 6, the House passed H. Sub. for SB 158, which would create the Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Act and the Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Program; define terms related to the bill; amend law concerning crimes, child welfare, employment, and discipline of certain medical professionals; create provisions to address federal re-scheduling of marijuana; and rename the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Kansas Department of Revenue, as the Division of Alcohol and Cannabis Control. Earlier in the week Senate President Ty Masterson stated he did not anticipate the Senate taking up the bill this session but noted the bill would be available for consideration during the 2022 session and suggested that a joint committee may consider it during the interim period. On Friday, May 7, the Senate ruled the bill as “materially changed” and referred it to the Federal and State Affairs Committee. Note: SB 315, which would create the Kansas medical marijuana regulation act, was also introduced by the Senate on May 7.
Also on May 6, the House passed HB 2056, which would add new sections to the Kansas Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to regulate the manufacture, preparation, distribution and sales of products containing kratom. Kratom, a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia with leaves that contain compounds that can have psychotropic effects, has in recent years been used as an herbal alternative to medical treatment to manage withdrawal symptoms caused by addiction to opioids or other addictive substances. There are currently no FDA-approved uses for kratom. On Friday, May 7, the Senate referred the bill to the Federal and State Affairs Committee.
Also on May 6, the Insurance Conference Committee replaced the contents of SB 29 (related to risk-based capital instructions) with the contents of SB 199, which would amend existing insurance law to update the term “short-term limited duration” and specify a policy period of less than 12 months (currently six or 12 months) and a policy that offers renewal or extension periods up to a maximum policy period of 36 months total in duration (currently not more than one renewal period). The CCR for SB 29 was then adopted by both the House and Senate on Friday, May 7.
On Friday, May 7, both the House and the Senate adopted the CCR for SB 159, which provides adjusted funding for fiscal year (FY) 2021, FY 2022, and FY 2023 for various state agencies, including the following provisions:
- Adds $12.6 million, including $4.4 million State General Funds (SGF), to provide a temporary $15 increase to the daily Medicaid reimbursement rate for nursing facilities from May 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021;
- Adds $9.6 million, all SGF, for unemployment insurance modernization;
- Directs that the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee shall be comprised of three appointees from the Governor with one serving as chairperson, two from the Speaker of the House, and two from the Senate President, and that no expenditures authorized by the State Finance Council shall be made by any agency from coronavirus relief funds without prior review and recommendation by the SPARK Executive Committee for FY 2022.
- Adds $2.7 million, including $1.2 million SGF, for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCHBHC) funding, and 10.0 FTE positions for CCBHC certification for FY 2022;
- Adds $5.6 million, including $2.0 million SGF, for the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Technology Assisted (TA) waiver for FY 2022;
- Adds $3.0 million, all SGF, for costs associated with the 988 Crisis Hotline, and language to lapse SGF funds associated with the 988 Crisis Hotline implementation, if federal funds are available for this purpose in FY 2022;
- Adds $9.6 million, including $4.3 million SGF, and language raising the Protected Income Level for HCBS Waivers and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) from 150.0 percent to 300.0 percent of federal supplemental security income for FY 2022;
- Prohibits KDHE, during the FYs ending June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2022, from expending any moneys to conduct or authorize contract tracing, except expenditures may be made to employ, contract for or engage contact tracers, provided such contact tracers meet the qualifications and training prescribed by KDHE, and that before collecting any contact data, each contact tracer shall execute an oath, on a form prescribed by KDHE, that the contact tracer shall not disclose the identity of an infected person to a contact, and that only contact data specifically authorized by the Secretary of KDHE may be collected as part of contact tracing, subject to other rules and requirements in the bill.
- Prohibits state agencies, during the FYs ending June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2022, from expending funds to (1) issue a COVID-19 vaccination passport to any individual without such individual’s consent; (2) require an individual to use a COVID-19 vaccination passport within the state for any purpose; or (3) deny housing or refuse access to a place accessible to the general public, including entry, education, travel and services within the state, based on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status. "COVID-19 vaccination passport" is defined as “written or electronic documentation of an individual's COVID-19 vaccination status.”
Also on May 7, both the House and Senate adopted the CCR for HB 2134, which addresses various issues related to public schools, including making appropriations for the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) for FY 2021, FY 2022, and FY 2023; limiting remote learning hours based on emergency circumstances of the individual student and school district; directing school districts to use needs assessment to ensure improvement in student academic achievement; and directing the Kansas Department of Education to collaborate with the Department for Children and Families to create a Kansas foster care children annual academic report card.
As of today, the Governor has signed 92 bills and allowed one bill to become law without her signature, including the following health-related bills:
Senate Bill (SB) 14, which amended provisions of the Kansas Emergency Management Act (KEMA) ratifying and continuing the COVID-19 state of disaster emergency and extending it to March 31, 2021, and also amends the statute to extend from 2020 through 2021 a provision prohibiting the Governor from proclaiming any new state of disaster emergency related to the COVID-19 health emergency without approval by at least six legislative members of the State Financial Council. The bill also addresses temporary licensure of telemedicine and other health care providers, business immunity from liability for a COVID-19 claim, and limits the Governor’s closure or cessation of business activity by limiting its application to a state of disaster related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
SB 40, entitled, in part, “AN ACT concerning governmental response to certain emergencies,” which addresses a wide range of health-related issues, including the powers and duties of state and local governing bodies and local health officers; modifying the procedure for the declaration and extension of a state of disaster emergency under KEMA; prohibiting certain actions by the Governor related to the COVID-19 health emergency; and limiting powers granted to the Governor during a state of disaster emergency. For more information, see Health at the Capitol: Special Edition Summary of Senate Bill 40.
House Sub. for SB 63, which required school districts to provide a full-time, in-person attendance option for all students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 beginning no later than March 31, 2021, for the 2020-2021 school year. In her bill signing announcement the Governor stated that “every school in Kansas is already offering an in-person attendance option for students” and that “all teachers and staff who wanted a vaccine have now received at least their first dose.”
SB 77, which enacts the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact. The purpose of the Compact is to facilitate the interstate practice of audiology and speech-language pathology with the goal of improving public access to audiology and speech-language pathology services.
SB 283, which extends several COVID-19 response measures to March 31, 2022, including expanding the use of telemedicine by allowing an out-of-state physician with a temporary emergency license granted by the Board of Healing Arts (BOHA) to practice telemedicine; and allowing BOHA to grant temporary emergency licenses to non-resident health care providers upon submission of a non-resident health care provider certification form to the Kansas Health Care Stabilization Fund and without paying the annual premium surcharge required by the Health Care Provider Insurance Availability Act. The bill also extends the expiration date of the statute governing COVID-19 claim immunity for persons conducting business in the state by one year. It also amends the COVID-19 Response and Reopening for Business Liability Protection Act to extend the expiration date of the statute governing COVID-19 claim immunity for persons or agents of persons conducting business in the state by one year, until March 31, 2022, and amends KEMA regarding immunity for health care providers related to COVID-19 to specify such immunity would apply to claims arising between March 12, 2020, and March 31, 2022.
HB 2021, which, in part, authorizes the Kansas Development Finance Authority, on and after July 1, 2021, to issue bonds, not to exceed $10.5 million, to finance the construction of a state veterans home facility located in northeast Kansas, including, but not limited to, in Douglas, Jefferson, Leavenworth, Shawnee, and Wyandotte counties.
HB 2064, which establishes the Kansas Promise Scholarship Act (Act) to provide scholarships for students to attend “eligible postsecondary educational institutions” that offer “promise eligible programs” in information technology and security; mental and physical health care; advanced manufacturing and building trades; or early childhood education and development. The Act will be administered by the State Board of Regents.
Sub. for HB 2066, which shortens the period of time in which professional regulatory bodies (e.g., BOHA, Kansas Board of Technical Professions, Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board, Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants) are required to issue occupational credentials to military service members or military spouses seeking to establish residence in Kansas and provide for expedited credentialing of non-military prospective residents who have received professional licensure in other states. The bill would expand and clarify existing conditions on expedited occupational credentialing and permit temporary credentialing during states of emergency and the use of electronic credentials. The bill requires licensing bodies to issue the appropriate credential to a military service member or spouse within 15 days from the date of the submission of a “complete application,” as defined by the bill, or within 45 days for all other applicants. Currently, credentials are to be issued to military service members and spouses within 60 days.
HB 2114, which establishes the Kansas Senior Care Task Force; outlines the topics to be studied by the Task Force; provides for the appointment and compensation of the Task Force members; establishes the frequency and location of meetings; requires a preliminary and final report to the Legislature; and requires the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to provide the Task Force with data and information that is not prohibited or restricted from disclosure by state and federal law. The provisions of the law sunset on June 30, 2023.
HB 2124, which clarifies the authority of healing arts school clinics to provide healing arts services, including off-site clinics owned or operated by a school in partnership with other providers.
HB 2126, which provides immunity from civil liability for COVID-19 claims for certain covered facilities, including adult care homes, community mental health centers, crisis intervention centers, community service providers and community developmental disability organizations.
Senate Sub. for HB 2208, which enacts the Rural Emergency Hospital Act and creates a category of licensure to enable certain Kansas hospitals to receive federal health care reimbursement as rural emergency hospitals; establishes certification for certified community behavioral health clinics; authorizes licensed out-of-state physicians with telemedicine waivers to practice telemedicine in Kansas; and modifies licensure, temporary permit, and regulatory requirements of the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board and its licensees.
HB 2218, which amends law governing the implementation and administration of the State Health Care.
Benefits Program State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) to add language regarding the role of the State Employees Health Care Commission; modify the membership requirements of the Commission related to the size of the Commission and the requirements for membership; and specify additional reporting information to be provided by the Commission to the Legislature, including a report on the current and projected financial reserve balance.
HB 2238, which removes the $500,000 limit on gifts that school districts, governing bodies of cities, or both jointly are able to accept for the express purpose of the construction or furnishing of a library.
The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.