I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.
For the legislature, we are here now until we are done after a four-day adjournment. Hopefully, there is some momentum that carries over from last Thursday when the House passed HB 2410 for the school finance bill containing additional funding in FY ’18 of $179.6 million and $100 million for FY ‘ 19. Fourteen amendments were offered during the Wednesday debate with six adopted:
–Deleted the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy mandate for students with an autism spectrum disorder.
–Eliminated the Local Excellence Budget (LEB) and replaced with former Cost of Living weighting. Also, directed $2.6 million for the Local Excellence State Aid to be shifted to the newly established School District Extraordinary Declining Enrollment Fund, which would be dispersed by the State Board of Education. Districts with extraordinary enrollment decline since School Year (SY) ’14-’15 could apply.
–Removed references to to the “Local Foundation Budget” and replaced with the familiar “Local Option Budget”.
–Uses the current year headcount for All-Day Kindergarten Enrollment for SY ’17-’18.
–Returned to the former military method on military count dates.
There was a very stimulating debate lasting 4 1/2 hours on Wednesday when the House advanced the bill for Final Action. On Thursday, the bill passed on a vote of 84-39. The bill now awaits action by the Senate. The Senate Select Committee on Education Finance met this past week and has finalized a school finance bill. The contents of SB 251 have been placed into Sub. for HB 2186.
Other action last week included passage of SB 83, the Woman’s Right-to-Know Act which enforces transparency and clarity for women considering an abortion. The conference committee report was adopted by the full House, passing 84-34. The Senate will consider this issue in the coming days.
Stay tuned on action regarding the tax bill. Leadership is trying to craft a policy after several attempts in the past few days. Discussions about the type of tiered rates, funding KDOT, minimizing borrowing, and building a reserve are all part of the process.
As before, I am privileged to represent the 87th District.