2013 Newsletter Header
February 3, 2013 - In This Issue:
Jim in Senate Office
  • Current judicial selection process provides for 10,000 attorneys to nominate judges to the KS Supreme Court and the KS Court of Appeals, largely circumventing 2.9 million Kansans
  • KS is the only state in America that gives attorneys majority control of judges they appear in front of
  • Kansas' current judicial selection process is product of a deal executed in 1957 by then-Governor Fred Hall, historically known as the "triple play"  
  • Only 17% of Kansans with earnings less than $100,000 use the mortgage interest deduction, 73% with income over $100,000 use the deduction. In total, only 30% of Kansans itemize.
  • The reason fewer Kansans will itemize is that the standard deduction increased from $4,500 to $9,000 in 2013.

Two Senate Bills Pass in the Senate
Gavel Scales of Justice

Changing the judicial selection process is one of the key issues that is being discussed in the 2013 legislation session. Two pieces of legislation were introduced to change the process of how Kansas Supreme Court Justices and Kansas Court of Appeal judges are selected.

  • Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) #1601 proposes to amend the Kansas Constitution to allow for the gubernatorial appointment and Senate confirmation of judges.
  • Senate Bill (SB) #8 is a companion bill to SCR 1601. The bill establishes an independent review panel to help the Senate evaluate judicial nominees.

On Wednesday, the Senate spent a considerable amount of time debating this legislation.

  • SCR 1601 passed by a vote of 28 to 12.
  • SB 8 passed by a vote of 28 to 11, with one member voting present.

Because this would amend our constitution, the vote required a two-third majority, and will need the same in the House before being placed on the ballot for Kansans to consider in 2014.

Debate Begins on how to Balance Budget

Income taxes decreased for all Kansans by up to 24% effective January 1. This results in Kansans being able to keep $600 million more of their income. This coming week the legislature will begin debating budget bills that will require the 6.3% sales tax to stay in place, and over $100 million in school transportation cost being shifted from the general fund to the Kansas Department of Transportation.


The debate will be spirited. The 6.3% sales tax rate as well as transferring school transportation costs to KDOT are both "pay fors" for the $600 million in personal tax reductions in 2013. Without these two large "pay fors" staying in place, the legislature will have to look at budget cuts or other revenue sources to fill the hole. Governor Brownback has been clear that schools, Medicaid, and public safety are off the table for budget cuts. With that being the case, the legislators would have to cut the remaining part of the budget by 25%. Legislators would be hard pressed to make such deep cuts. Both Senate and House tax committees will be debating the tax policy this week. They are in "nailing Jello to the wall" phase now. Depending on what develops in the tax committees this week, I plan on connecting the dots and reporting out in my next newsletter.

Revenue Continues in a Positive Direction
Total tax receipts are up 6.9% in 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.

The Kansas economy continues to improve.

Tax Receipts - January 2013
KS Continues to be Important Player

Kansas continues to be an important national player in energy development, both gas and oil. Kansas is helping the United States become energy independent from Middle East oil. Kansas is embarking on a high growth potential for oil and gas drilling. This is resulting in the creation of jobs all across our state, especially in the South West portion. Soon this growth will be seen in the North West part of our state.  Kansas daily oil production has increased to 133,000 barrels per day, with a potential of 300,000 barrels per day.


Gas Oil Graph
House Passes HB 2023

House Bill (HB) #2023, commonly referred to as the Paycheck Protection Act, was passed in the House by a vote of 68 to 56. House Bill 2023 bans state or other units of government from making payroll deductions for members of public sector unions for the purpose of contributing to the union's Political Action Committee (PAC).


Currently, unions negotiate the amount and frequency of the deduction with government entities. The money from the deduction is contributed to the PAC, but in many cases the member is not given the ability to specify how the deduction is then used. Thus, the aim of the bill is twofold:

  • to eliminate state and local governments as bookkeepers for the political activities of public unions, and
  • to ensure that union members can contribute to the PAC without any undue pressure.

While the bill would eliminate the option for the payroll deduction, it is important to note members are not prohibited from contributing to their union's PAC. If a member wishes to make a contribution to a PAC, he or she would need only to write a check noting it as a PAC contribution. It would also be permissible for the member to set up an electronic transfer from his or her bank account to the PAC fund. This protects union members from any self-imposed or peer pressure to check a box allowing a payroll deduction and, therefore, better ensures each member is making a free and deliberate decision to contribute to union political activities. Payroll deductions for union dues will still be permissible. Only PAC deductions will not be allowed.


Furthermore, it not only is unnecessary, but arguably also inappropriate, for the state or any other local unit of government to be in the business of making payroll deductions for political purposes.

Capitol Office

300 S.W. 10th Street, Room 541-E

Topeka, KS 66612




Overland Park
8416 W. 115th Street
Overland Park, KS 66210

Paid for by "Jim Denning for Kansas Senate"
Kathy Vance, Treasurer

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter