Kansas House Republicans 2016 Session Update

Bills you probably haven't heard about 
(but should)

Freedom from unaccountable regulations 

Remember how the Environmental Protection Agency decided it had jurisdiction over the water in puddles, drainage ditches, and farm ponds? That regulation, known as "Waters of the U.S.," was put in place by un-elected bureaucrats not accountable whatsoever to voters. Thankfully there is currently a court-ordered injunction in place on that regulation after Kansas and several other states sued. But Waters of the U.S. is just a symptom of a broad, ongoing issue with regulations and policy directives ordered by un-elected federal agencies that are enforced as law. 

To address the issue, the House passed HCR 5022, urging U.S. Congress to adopt an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allows one-fourth of the U.S. House of Representatives to file written opposition to a proposed federal regulation. After that, the proposed regulation must receive a majority of votes in both the House and Senate in order to go into effect.This amendment would restore the full authority of lawmaking back to the elected representatives of the people, and enforce accountability as the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended.

Reforming the budget process    
Please don't let your eyes glaze over yet. Overhauling the way the state budget is constructed is a huge deal that will profoundly improve state government and do even more to ensure your tax dollars are being used wisely.

Here's a quick refresher on how the state budget process works currently. Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor, usually for the same amount or more than they received last year. The governor reviews those agency requests, then presents his budget proposal to lawmakers during the State of the State. Legislative budget committees (House Appropriations and Senate Ways & Means) look over those recommendations, hold hearings, and put together their own version, which usually has a lot of components of the governor's recommendation. They pass it out of committee onto the full House, which then votes on it. For more details on this, here's a handy chart. 
There's not a lot of time for part-time legislators to to examine the intricacies of agency budgets. Much of the time, lawmakers just have to take the word of the agency official to determine whether a program is fulfilling its mission and taxpayer dollars are being spent effectively.

But, HB 2739 goes a long way toward changing that, using what's known as "Performance Based Budgeting." Under the bill starting next year agencies will provide "program service inventories," for each state government program to lawmakers. The inventories will include information such as: program function, program history, intersections with other state programs, federal funding and associated requirements, priority ranking, consequences of not funding the program, and the statute that authorized the program. In short, they will have to justify each dollar they are spending.    
In future years, the bill would require the implementation of outcome performance measures to evaluate program effectiveness. In other words:
government accountability and transparency. 

Gone will be the days of "we've just always done it this way."

More options for moms
More and more expectant mothers are choosing to deliver their babies under the care of nurse-midwives. SB 402 will allow nurse-midwives to practice without  a collaborative practice agreement with physicians. This free-market reform will help expand care options for women statewide, but especially in rural areas. Nurse-midwives who don't practice with a physician will be required to be licensed by both the Kansas Board of Nursing and the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, which is the oversight board for doctors. 

Want to look over every bill that's passed the legislature?
The Kansas Legislative Research Department has released their preliminary summary of all the legislation that's passed so far this session. The original can be found here and the supplemental can be found here. 

It's not me, it's you! 

Remember last week when the House Minority Leader completely lost it and broke House rules? 

This week, he reminded us that Democrats have zero value for personal responsibility by posting this meme (minus the censored bar) for his Facebook friends. That "apology" he gave? Probably not so sincere.