22 January 2021 |

Legislative update: Tax proposals threaten pandemic-wracked state

Kansas Action for Children
Jan. 22, 2021

We’re already wrapping up week two of the Kansas Legislature’s 2021 session. And it’s been a busy time. The concerns we mentioned last week about transparency? KAC still has them, unfortunately. Rules have been unclear and shifting. Bills have been debated with incomplete information. Rest assured, we’re watching carefully. Here’s some of what we saw this week:

FISCAL POLICY: State reeling from pandemic can't afford bill's dangerous tax changes

Last week, Kansas Action for Children testified in the Senate Tax committee about Senate Bill 22, where we made clear that Kansas can’t afford expensive, dangerous changes to its tax system that would mostly benefit the state's most fortunate.

 This week, the hearing on this bill continued. And we learned that the bill would cost – at a minimum – $329 million during its first year alone. That money could support schools, infrastructure, and programs helping families make ends meet. Instead, lawmakers are debating giving that money away to big corporations and the highest earners in the state.

In the middle of a pandemic that has harmed small businesses and low-income Kansans the most, legislators should spend their time helping those Kansans. If you care about the future of children and families, you need to oppose this bill. If you know someone struggling to find health care, or value safe roads and public services, you should oppose this bill.

You will be hearing more from us about this risky legislation. Stay tuned.

You can contact Director of Fiscal policy Emily Fetsch at [email protected].

EARLY LEARNING: Bipartisan caucus plans first meeting

The bipartisan Early Learning Caucus is planning to hold its first meeting on Monday, Feb. 1. If you are connecting with your lawmakers, please encourage them to join in to hear about the great work being done in the early learning field and what our state can do to make high-quality early learning affordable and accessible for all Kansas families.

You can contact Early Learning Policy Advisor Mitch Rucker at [email protected].

HEALTH: Maternal mortality update, COVID vaccine news

This week, we wanted to highlight the newly released Kansas Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report and clarify that KDHE IS already collecting data disaggregated by race for maternal deaths in this report. House and Senate bills recommending further charges to the Maternal Mortality Review Committee have been introduced. We will continue to monitor this important issue.

The House and Senate health committees jointly met with KDHE Secretary Norman on Tuesday (Audio Feed; Video Feed) for a COVID vaccine update. Sen. Steffen asked if children can receive the COVID vaccine. The answer? Without further studies, which are already underway, kids under the age 18 (Moderna) and 16 (Pfizer) cannot receive these COVID vaccines.

A new state vaccine dashboard is available, and a map of vaccine distribution sites will be available soon, as Kansas moves into Phase 2 of vaccine distribution. Another joint committee meeting on KDHE COVID updates will take place next week, Jan. 26, at noon (audio feed).

Finally, the House health committee was briefed on the mental health modernization report; the Senate health committee will be briefed next week. Several sections focus on kids and families. Numerous bills will be introduced shortly out of the report’s recommendations.

You can contact Health Policy Advisor Heather Braum at [email protected].

Next week, we expect possible committee action on SB 22 (the tax bill), as well as a hearing on a bill restoring the refundable food sales tax credit.