This Week at the Capitol: General Assembly Gears Up for Post-Spring Break Debate
A full slate of committee hearings took place the last week before Spring Break. An uptick in floor debate saw workers' compensation and employment discrimination, both key Republican priorities, move through both houses and be sent to the Governor's desk.
The House Budget Committee met March 7 for mark-ups on budget bills 2001 through 2013. This includes the budget for the Division of Credit Unions. There were no extraordinary issues with the credit union budget. Among the changes was the elimination of 444 estimated amounts, which appear in the budget as an “E” next to certain line items. They were replaced with traditional amounts totaling approximately $957 million across the entire budget. By removing the "E" or estimates, the Governor loses much of his flexibility in terms of moving funds from one line item marked with an "E" to another.
HB 1659 sponsored by Kansas City Rep. Noel Torpey (R-District 52) received preliminary approval in the House Wednesday followed by final approval Thursday by a vote of 136-10. The bill allows the City of Kansas City to establish a land bank agency for the management, sale, transfer and other disposition of tax delinquent land to return it to specified effective use. According to testimony heard on the same language in a Senate committee, a land bank would allow Kansas City to purchase foreclosed land, rather than have it end up in the hands of out-of-state land speculators - who were blamed for creating the problem in the first place. MCUA attorneys have been following this issue for several years and report that they see no down side to credit unions.
SB 633, the salvage yard bill of concern to credit unions was reported to the Senate on March 8, so it will likely begin moving in the Senate the week of March 19. Still of concern is language defining an "inoperable" vehicle. Discussions are already scheduled with groups interested in the proposed language. Again, thanks go to all the credit unions who shared concerns with lawmakers.
While several bills having to do with foreclosure appear stalled, a payday loan bill has been assigned to the House Financial Institutions Committee. That doesn't mean it will definitely get a hearing, but that is more movement than has been seen on the issue since the beginning of the legislative session. We are also tracking a variety of other bills ranging from spousal trusts to lien releases for auto dealers. When activity picks up in the General Assembly following spring break, MCUA will discuss these bills and their status in detail. In addition, we expect a great deal of discussion on redistricting, the impact of two lawsuits on ballot initiatives and campaign finance, and, of all things, the discussion surrounding whether Rush Limbaugh (given his recent statements regarding women) should have a bust in the Capitol Rotunda.
For more information, contact Peggy Nalls or 573-645-1993.