Liberal, KS

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Update From Topeka with Rep. Francis

Joe Denoyer - February 4, 2024 7:59 pm

This week the libraries were in Topeka talking about their mission, technological changes, and their place in our communities. Our libraries are often central to the sense of community in our smaller cities. You do not have to go any further than Liberal, Kismet or Plains to see this in action. Kismet rallied around their library and through extensive fundraising and grants just moved into a new facility.

Reading and access to information is vital to our society. The after-school and summer reading programs of libraries help children in our communities become successful members of our communities and minimize learning losses during summer recess.

At the Capitol

Computer Security in our Homes and Businesses continues to threaten our society. All of us are targets of cyber criminals. The Kansas Judiciary System was hacked last fall creating a myriad of issues for anyone doing business with the courts. I recently attended a seminar that used resources from the Federal Cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency. Visit their website at https://www.cisa.gov/secure-our-world for more information.

Investment Fraud: More than one in ten investors falls victim to investment fraud. Investing in securities may involve the risk of loss but fraud is very different. If you or a loved one have experienced investment fraud, contact the Kansas Insurance Department. File a complaint online at https://insurance.kansas.gov/securities/investors/#File-a-Complaint, by email at [email protected], or by phone at 785-296-5203. For tips on how to invest wisely and avoid investment scams, visit https://SmartInvestKS.com/.

Worker’s Compensation Deal: Senate Bill No. 430 introduces comprehensive updates to workers’ compensation laws. It encompasses a broad range of modifications including coverage extensions, benefits adjustments, and procedural updates aimed at benefiting both workers and employers. Key highlights include extending coverage to members of the Kansas National Guard under workers’ compensation, revising impairment and disability compensation, enhancing death benefits, and updating the process for medical and disability claims. This bill represents a significant collaborative effort between labor and business communities, embodying a compromise to modernize and improve the workers’ compensation system for all parties involved.

Net Metering (Solar Panels): House Bill No. 2588 aims to enhance net metering regulations for electric public utilities. It proposes increasing the system-wide capacity limit for net metered facilities and mandates that these facilities be sized based on the customer’s expected load. This legislation also sets requirements for exporting power back to the utility, ensuring customer generators are fairly compensated for excess energy supplied to the grid. Net metering allows customers who generate their own electricity from renewable sources to send unused power back to the grid, receiving a credit on their utility bill. This bill represents a significant step towards encouraging the adoption of renewable energy by providing clearer guidelines and benefits for customer generators.

HB 2103 KPERS Alternative Investments: Removes a statutory cap on alternative investments by the Kansas Public Employees Retirement Trust Fund (KPERS). Previously, investment in alternative assets was limited to 15% of the fund’s total assets. Now, the KPERS Board of Trustees has the authority to determine the cap. This change is seen as beneficial for the KPERS fund because it allows for greater flexibility in diversification of investments, potentially enhancing returns and reducing risks associated with economic cycles. The bill aims to improve the management and performance of the KPERS fund by enabling access to a broader range of investment opportunities.

Taiwan Resolution: I supported the resolution solidifying sister-state relations with Taiwan and supporting its international participation. This action not only reaffirms Kansas’ commitment to shared democratic values and strengthens economic ties but also recognizes Taiwan’s vital role in global forums. It is a testament to the enduring friendship and mutual respect between Kansas and Taiwan, enhancing bilateral trade and academic collaborations.

Support Texas Resolution: Next week, a resolution affirming state sovereignty, supporting Texas in its efforts to combat illegal immigration, and encouraging Governor Laura Kelly to offer the services of the Kansas National Guard to the state of Texas will be introduced in the House. The resolution has been cosponsored by an overwhelming majority of lawmakers.

“There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything.” ~ Steve Jobs

Meg Atwood This session my office assistant is Meg Atwood. I am excited to be working with Meg this year. She has over 30 years’ experience in education in China, Hungary, and the United States. Her background includes consulting for home schools, ESL and Special Education in the public school system. She will be the friendly voice on the other end of the phone when you call my office. You can reach her at [email protected] or (785) 296-7466.

The Page program is designed for students in middle school, junior high or the first years of high school. Working as a page in the Kansas Legislature is an excellent way to learn more about the legislative process. If you or someone you know is interested in serving as a page, please contact me or Meg for more information.

Constituent Services
Thank you for the opportunity to continue serving working families in Seward and Meade County. Please reach out to me any time I can help you with a state agency concern. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. This ensures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with. You can reach me when I’m in Topeka by email at:
[email protected], by phone (785) 296-7466, or by mail at 300 SW 10th Avenue, 274-W, Topeka, KS 66612.

 

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