Legislative update: Medicaid expansion proposed and tax bill advances
Kansas Action for Children
Feb. 6, 2021
"At Kansas Action for Children, our team spends about 80 hours a week monitoring committee meetings and floor debate at the Statehouse. We track bills and legislative action on the issues we care about. This session, we’re doing that work remotely to protect our health and the health of others.
"(Four) weeks into the session, we can identify most lawmakers just by the sound of their voice. But it’s not just their words coming through loud and clear on the recently upgraded audio and video stream — it’s also their tone."
These are the words of KAC President John Wilson, from a column that appeared in Gannett newspapers throughout the state last weekend. He also appeared on KWBW Radio to talk about the column and our concerns. You can listen here.
In other news at the statehouse, it was a busy week:
HEALTH: Medicaid expansion plan makes debut; more on COVID-19 vaccine
This week, Gov. Laura Kelly announced her plan to expand Medicaid. KAC released a statement in support of expansion, alongside numerous other groups. KAC does not have a position on the medical cannabis plan. We will continue to monitor this important proposal, as Medicaid expansion matters for kids and families.
Meanwhile, the Senate and House health committees have started bill and budget hearings, focused on issues including mental health. More hearings are scheduled for next week on numerous topics; stay tuned for more details.
Two items of note about the COVID-19 vaccine:
- KDHE Secretary Norman appeared before the House Committee on Children and Seniors to discuss vaccine distribution and more. Watch that briefing here.
- A Find My Vaccine map is now available on the kansasvaccine.gov website, displaying different vaccination sites throughout the state. As more vaccine doses become available, sites will be added to the map.
Let me know if you have any questions about what is going on (or should be going on) with kids’ health issues in the statehouse.
You can contact Health Policy Advisor Heather Braum at [email protected].
FISCAL POLICY: Troubling tax bill moves to full Senate
This week, the Senate Tax committee continued to work SB 22, which culminated in the bill being passed out of committee with amendments. The amendments changed the effective dates of different parts of the bill and removed one component of the bill (related to net operating loss). While the amendments reduced the proposal's cost, Kansas still can't afford it. And the bill does little to nothing for low- and middle-income Kansans. We will continue to monitor this bill’s progress as it heads to the Senate floor, educating lawmakers about our strong opposition to the bill.
On Wednesday, also in Senate Tax, Kansas Action for Children testified on SB 50, which would require marketplace facilitators to collect and remit sales. While KAC supports this requirement, we are concerned that this particular bill still favors out-of-state marketplace facilitators. You can read our testimony here and watch our testimony here.
You can contact Director of Fiscal Policy Emily Fetsch at [email protected].
EARLY LEARNING: Expansion of child care tax credit recommended
Last Friday, the Governor’s Education Council recommended an expansion of the Employer Child Day Care Tax Credit. Currently, only large corporations and financial institutions are eligible due to a change made in 2012.
We will be introducing legislation that expands eligibility for this credit to all Kansas businesses and increases the qualifying expenses. This change in scope and flexibility will help families, small businesses, child care providers, and the children they work with, all without affecting the state budget.
You can contact Early Learning Policy Advisor Mitch Rucker at [email protected].
Kansas Interfaith Action is planning its KIFA Advocacy Days for next week, Feb. 8-12. This will be an opportunity for supporters and coalition partners to bring citizen advocates into the legislative process during these tough times. KIFA is a statewide, multi-faith issue advocacy organization that works to put faith into action on a variety of racial, economic and climate justice issues. For information and to sign up, click here.