2013 Newsletter Header
March 31, 2013 - In This Issue:
Denning Official Senate Photo
  • In 2011, the National Assessment for Educational Progress Scores
    • 29% of 4th graders in KS Public Schools read below the "basic" level
  • The National Center for Education Statistics
    • 40 states are higher than Kansas Public Schools on 4th grade reading
  • The Senate is committed to passing a budget and tax plan that will continue to slow the growth of state spending, fund essential services, and no cuts to K-12 schools
  • March Preliminary Tax Receipts
    • 9-Months ending Kansas is within .3% of budget estimates
    • Work together to achieve efficiencies

The week of April 1 through April 5 will be our last week of General Session.  During the next five (5) days of session work we will try to clear the deck of any bills Leadership wants to work before adjournment on Friday.  We continue to work through the budget and tax bills in Conference Committees.  We will whittle the differences down between the House and Senate positions on the budget bill over the next few days.  The conference work is going well.  As I mentioned before this is my first experience being on a Senate Ways and Means Budget Conference Committee.  The negotiations move very fast when we do meet.  Chairman Masterson has a good understanding of both House and Senate positions.  He has leaned on me to help advise him on the social services budget items. I chaired those budget sub committees.  I spent most of the weekend researching and understanding the House positions on Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.  When he is ready to negotiate those items I will be well prepared to assist him in those areas.  Ranking minority member Laura Kelly has been a big help as well.  She has a lot of institutional knowledge and has been helpful moving the budget along.

If we do not come to agreement in Conference Committee by Friday then we have to finish up the work during Veto Session when we return on May 8th.  While we are home on break we return to our private sector jobs and participate in constituent services.  On Saturday April 13th I will serve as a Judge for the Shawnee Mission South Forensics Invitational.


Within .3% of Budget for 9 Months Ending

March 31st

TaxesScrabble The trends for Kansas tax receipts remain positive through the 9 months ending March 31, 2013.  For the 9 month period YTD tax receipts are within .3% of budget and 2.9% above the same period last year.  We are seeing large swings in the personal income tax collections since January.  The swing is related to the tardiness of Washington to agree on new tax tables for 2013.  With the tax tables coming out late most business used the old 2012 tables for January 2013.  As a result we have seen large monthly swings since January 2013 as businesses convert to new federal and state payroll tax withholding tables.  YTD collections are more in line with estimates.
In March we are beginning to see the effects of the large decrease in personal income taxes effective
January 1, 2013.  Kansas has a 24% personal income tax reduction for 2013. This will result in $800 million tax decrease over the next 12 months.  To pay for the $800 million tax decrease the Senate's tax position is to keep the 6.3% sales tax in place to pay for the personal income tax decrease and fund essential government services.

Transitioning from Fax to Paperless

We worked on Senate Bill 210 last year and finished it up this year.  The Senate will send it over to the House/Senate Conference Committee for final review.  Then it will come back to the floor for an up or down vote.  About 47% of medical practices have converted or in the process of converting to electronic medical records.  The doctors and hospitals need a way to move from exchanging information via fax and paper copies to being able to share certain information electronically.  This bill gives the state the authority to regulate the nonprofit entities that will enable the sharing of medical information between medical providers.  These entities will be regulated in similar manner that Kansas regulates its banks, insurance companies, and health care surgical facilities.  It is important to note that Kansas will not be involved with the actual transfer of any medical data, only serving in regulatory role.  More than likely medical providers will start exchanging limited medical information in 2016.  Kansas will regulate to make sure everything is safe, secure, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 [HIPAA] compliant.  It should be noted that this has nothing to do with the Health Benefit Exchanges and ObamaCare.  Totally different and not related.  I'm hoping to get appointed to the Advisory Board to monitor this very closely.  An amendment I put on in committee was to not allow any state money to be given to the Information Exchanges.  These exchanges are to stand on their own very similar to the exchanges that process medical provider's electronic claims.  Medical providers pay a small fee to the exchanges that process their electronic claims.  I wanted to insure the information exchanges adapt a business model that is self-sustaining and not look to the state to subsidize their operations.
To Work Together to Achieve Operational Savings

In his State of the State address at the beginning of the session, Governor Brownback asked the legislature to authorize the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to oversee the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) in order to allow for greater efficiencies to be made and to help in reducing the size of state government.


I reluctantly voted for HB 2234. The bill passed the Senate 26-14. It is on its way to the House for debate.  I only agreed to vote yes after the Chair of Transportation put on an amendment which would require measureable efficiencies in two years.  If savings and efficiencies are not measurable after that time the two entities would revert back to present status.


My other reservation about the bill centers around the retail component of KTA and the toll road.  Drivers of the toll road pay their toll electronically, drive on best road in the state, and drive as fast (75mph) as the law allows.  I shudder thinking of the non-consumer friendly department of motor vehicle offices when I think of government running the KTA.  We have been promised this will not happen but I remain leery.

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

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