2015 Legislative Update - Issue 2

This Legislative Update covers:

  • Kansas Living Wage Legislation
  • Prevailing Wage Legislation
  • Politicizing Local Elections
  • More Cuts by Sam Brownback to Kansas Schools
  • Changes to Conceal & Carry

Here are a few of the key issues from the past week.

Kansas Living Wage Legislation

Unfortunately, too many Kansas are trying to make ends meet with far too little. The livable wage bill will increase the Kansas minimum wage by 56-percent over five years, to $11.32. The bill then ties the livable wage to the Federal Poverty Line so it will continue to increase with inflation. A livable wage is critical to combating poverty and working towards a more prosperous Kansas.

Proposed Annual Minimum Wage (per year) 

  • 2015 $7.25;
  • 2016 $8.06;
  • 2017 $8.87;
  • 2018 $9.68;
  • 2019 $10.50;
  • 2020 $11.32; and 
  • 2021 and On (annually amended to 200% of Federal Poverty Line)

Prevailing Wage

Two years ago, the Kansas Legislature passed legislation prohibiting municipalities from requiring contractors to pay prevailing wages or market-rate hourly wages set by municipalities. This bill would repeal the legislation passed two years and would return local control to municipal governments. I'm proud to have sponsored the legislation. This is an important tool for continued economic development in Wyandotte County. 

Politicizing Local Elections

In his State of the State Address, Gov. Brownback called for the partisan election of school board and municipal officials to take place in November rather than the spring.

Under the current election calendar (spring elections), local elections transcend partisan politics and focus on the issues facing communities rather than party agendas. Realizing this, local governments and school boards have almost unanimously come out opposed to this issue.

The Continued Cuts to Kansas Education

During the campaign the governor promised to protect education funding, but since the beginning of his second term, Governor Brownback has continued to cut public education by:

  • Issuing an allotment that would rescind 1.5% of each school districts budget for this year, and 2% from state universities, totally more than $44.5 million;
  • Postponing the transfer of $20.8 million in Capital Outlay funds to June; and
  • Proposing a bill which would change the way the state computes local option budgets equalization funds, immediately cutting more $39 million from local districts.

The individual cuts to education add up. As school districts begin to feel the pressure, so do students as class sizes begin to rise, teachers are laid off, and programs are cut. Failing to invest it Kansas’ most valuable asset, our children, is irresponsible and must stop.

Changes to Conceal and Carry

A bill in the Senate would allow any Kansans who can legally own a gun to conceal the firearm while carrying in public without a permit. The proposed bill changes current conceal and carry law, which was passed in 2006, and requires individuals to complete a firearm safety course before obtaining a permit. The bill, if passed in the Kansas Senate, would come before the House to debate in the coming weeks.

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