March 28, 2011



Legislative update

By Sue Peterson

State Capitol of Kansas

You’ve likely seen the news coverage of the decisions made in the House Appropriations Committee last week. The committee made a number of recommendations that adversely impact state employees. I want to remind everyone that the action of the House Appropriations Committee is just one step in the process. The bill still has to be debated on the floor of the House and then agreed to by the House and the Senate in a conference committee before the proposal is finalized so there will likely to be further changes. Additionally, the governor would have to review and sign any legislation. However we want to keep you updated on the proposals that concern you as they are being considered. 

The amendments that impact state employees that were made to the House appropriations bill:
 
1. An amendment passed which will reduce the salary of all state employees making over $40,000 per year, starting in FY 2012. All statutory state agency heads and all those state employees making over $100,000 would see a 7.5 percent salary reduction.  If you make between $40,000 and $100,000, than you would have a "straight line" reduction between 0 and 7.5 percent. For example, if you make $60,000 per year, you would have a 2.5 percent reduction. If you make under $40,000 you would not experience any reduction in salary.

2. An amendment passed to require employees to pay a 5 percent surcharge on health insurance benefits beginning in January 2012. The surcharge would then be deposited into the state general fund and will not be used to reduce the employer contribution to the employee’s health insurance benefit.

3. Other amendments regarding state cell phones, capture travel points and cutting subscriptions were also passed by the House Committee.

There is a separate bill being considered by the House Appropriations Committee that statutorily will remove longevity bonuses. Also, there is separate legislation in both the House and the Senate to address the KPERS unfunded liability.

As President Schulz wrote to you in January, you have a right to contact your legislators and express your view. If you choose to contact your legislator please do it on your own time, use your personal email account or write a letter on personal stationery.
 
We will keep you posted as these proposals move through the final week of the regular legislative session.

If you have questions or comments, please contact Sue Peterson at skp@k-state.edu or Bruce Shubert at bshubert@k-state.edu.