Thursday, October 02, 2014

TYSON: Legislative session topics focused on money

By CARYN TYSON, Kansas State Senator | 3/11/2014

The Senate unanimously passed House Bill 2047, which boosts transparency in property tax increases. If local property taxes, including valuations, increase, then most local units of government will have to vote to accept the increased revenue. The intent of the bill is that if more money is collected as a result of increased mill or valuations, the governing body will have to acknowledge that additional tax money was collected and there was a vote to accept the increase. The bill also requires the governing body to alert the public of the increase via a local news publication. 

School funding

The Kansas Supreme Court released its ruling Friday on the Gannon lawsuit. A few schools had filed a lawsuit against the state for more school funding. The court’s decision emphasized that both equity of funding and the resulting outcomes of funding are important. These are important in determining the adequacy of state education dollars and two areas were identified in which funding has fallen short, capital outlay and Local Option Budget (LOB). The court ruled that these funds must be distributed equally from richer districts to poor districts in order to abide by the Kansas Constitution. 

KSHSAA

Senate Substitute for HB 2197 would amend the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) board by ending four of its six State Board of Education appointments and replaces them with four appointees from the governor. Appointees must not be employed with any school affiliated with the KSHSAA or be a member of the State Board of Education. There were good points made from proponents and opponents of the legislation. The bill was a compromise from interested parties. I was among those voting for the bill, which passed 27-12.

Court funding

Senate Substitute for HB 2338 would increase court funding by $10 million, after increasing funding last year. The bill also would change the budget process allowing chief judges in 31 judicial districts to determine where money in their district is to be spent. The portion of the bill that increased funding by $10 million in one year was an $8-million increase in court fees and a considerable burden on Kansans, so I did not support the bill. The bill passed the Senate 23-12.

Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, represents Franklin County and the 12th District in the Kansas Senate.

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