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K-State Today

March 23, 2021

Legislative Update

Submitted by Sue Peterson

This is the 11th week of the Kansas legislative session. This week the committees in the House and Senate will be busy conducting hearings as all bills need to be reported out by March 26. 

Also, on March 18, the House Appropriations Committee worked on HB 2396 and HB 2397, the bills containing the budgets for fiscal years 21 and 22 as well as all capital improvement projects for state agencies. The committee voted to remove the proviso directing the universities to return tuition dollars for any day no class was held or for classes held virtually. In addition, the committee adopted two amendments of interest to higher education. The first directs state agencies to submit budgets following a performance-based budget model. A second amendment adopted would add $10 million to higher education institutions if the institutions met the following requirements:
A. Class being held in person, if such class was previously held in person in the classroom;
B. Refund the funds in the form of a check, not a credit;
C. Follow the Kansas Board of Regents policies on deferred maintenance:

Then, the Regents would distribute to state universities and Washburn to be used to fund the following:
1. Need-based aid scholarships and
2. Student recruitment following the Board of Regents' policies on recruitment

These bills now will be debated by the House of Representatives later this week and the bills will be part of future conference committee negotiations between the House and Senate conferees.

Other hearings held last week, the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee conducted a hearing on House Bill 2264. The bill permits student-athletes at postsecondary educational institutions to receive compensation for the use of their name, image, likeness rights or athletic reputation. K-State Athletics Director Gene Taylor, along with KU interim Athletics Director Kurt Watson testified in support of the bill.

This week's committee hearings include a hearing on HB 2101 before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, March 23. This bill extends the University Engineering Initiative Act until 2031. On Wednesday, March 24, Professor Tim Keane, department of landscape architecture and regional & community planning, will testify to the House Water Committee presenting on Urban Water Systems. Also, on Wednesday, March 24, Professor Glynn Tonser, department of agricultural economics, will testify before the House Agriculture Committee. The presentation will focus on the economics of livestock markets.

The Kansas Legislature will provide virtual access to committee meetings and floor action throughout the 2021 legislative session. Links to access the meetings can be found at kslegislature.org/li/.

The Office of Government Relations will again provide weekly Legislative Review Sessions through the remainder of the session to discuss the previous week and upcoming hearings and meetings. The next Legislative Review Session will be at noon Friday, March 26, by Zoom. Zoom details are below. You will be required to sign in with your K-State eID and password to access the meeting.

Join Zoom meeting.
Meeting ID: 971 9078 3478
Passcode: 978743

The information can also be obtained by contacting the Government Relations Office at 785-532-6227 or email kstategr@k-state.edu.

Throughout the Kansas legislative session, the Office of Government Relations maintains a list of legislation pertaining to higher education, K-State and state agency operations. To subscribe to the listserv email kstategr@k-state.edu.

If you have any questions regarding the Kansas Legislature, please contact Sue Peterson or Kristin Holt in the Office of Government Relations.