News from Topeka- Week 4
February 4, 2011

Before the updates from this week's legislative work, I want to thank you for the feedback that you continue to provide. Please continue to do so! I look forward to hearing from you!

Office phone: 785-296-7659
Legislative email: amanda.grosserode@house.ks.gov

SNOWPOCALYPSE

The humorous title given to the winter storm that wreaked havoc on the state this week also caused the legislature to be suspended for two days, an action which has not been taken in over 20 years. Luckily, I was able to make it home Monday evening before the worst of the storm hit. I spent the next two days with my boys enjoying the time being snowed in at home instead of in a hotel in Topeka! Reflections on Week 4

The Budget
Next week the House is expected to debate and vote on House Bill 2014. This legislation, as proposed by Governor Brownback, freezes the state budget for the 2011 fiscal year (which ends in July) and makes an additional $120 million in cuts and transfers. If passed in its current form, the bill would create a $35 million surplus in the State General Fund for this fiscal year.

On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee scaled back an earlier proposal to cut the pay of state employees by 7.5 percent. The new proposal cuts just the salaries of certain state officials, including elected officials, agency heads, university leaders and state employees making $100,000 by 7.5 percent.

RESIDENTIAL FIRE SPRINKLERS
Last year, the legislature approved a one-year ban on municipalities requiring the installation of sprinkler systems in single family residences or duplexes. The issue resurfaced this year to remove the one year provision in current law to make it permanent.

The 2011 version, HB 2088, provided one of the first substantive debates in the House this session. It would permanently prohibit cities and counties from adopting and enforcing any ordinance, code or policy that requires the installation of a multi-purpose residential fire protection sprinkler system in a residence. In addition, cities and counties would be restricted from requiring a sprinkler system to be installed before being considered and approved for a building permit.

The House debated HB 2088 on Friday, February 4, and is expected to take a final vote on the bill early next week.

It is my belief that it is the role of government to protect the people not, from themselves, but from over-zealous government and regulation. The most basic form of government is the people themselves. This piece of legislation protects the individual's right to choose to purchase an expensive system for their home. I will be supporting the passage of this bill which will make the ban permanent.

HOUSE RULES

The other major issue of note this week was the adoption of House rules. Typically, this is not controversial as the rules are adopted early in the session and without much fanfare. Most of the rules in House Resolution 6004 are technical and merely solidify the long standing practices in the House of Representatives. This year was different though, as the House aimed to craft rules that would alter one of the fundamental rules governing our budget building procedure.

The new rule, commonly known as PayGo, requires any amendment to an appropriations bill to be cost neutral. If a legislator proposes an amendment that requires additional spending, their amendment must also include a way to pay for that specific expenditure. This eliminates the ability for members to propose new spending measures without a viable funding mechanism.

The final vote on the HR 6004 is expected early next week. Adoption of the rule is a first step in re-thinking the way we budget as a state. Strained resources will continue forcing us to place an emphasis on prioritization of funds and realistic budgeting practices. PayGo will assist in this regard.

HEALTHCARE FREEDOM AMENDMENT

Education
This week saw testimony both for and against the proposed healthcare freedom amendment. This amendment will provide protection for Kansas residents in reference to the "individual mandate" which requires individuals to purchase health insurance under threat of penalty and fines. Ironically, it was while the committee was holding the hearing that another federal judge ruled that the "individual mandate" was unconstitutional. As a co-sponsor of this amendment, I will be supporting its passage.

Upcoming Events
I will continue to participate in the Legislative Forums hosted by Tim Owens (yet to be scheduled) as well as any other forums that I am invited to attend. As these events are planned, I will post them on my website as well as inform you in the weekly legislative update.

4th Annual Eggs and Issues Breakfast
hosted by Sunflower Republican Club
Date: Saturday, February 19th
Time: 9:30-11:30am
Where: Shawnee First Watch
Address: 11112 W 63rd

Johnson County Republican Legislators will be in attendance to give an update on legislation and issues under consideration.

2011 Legislative Breakfast Series
hosted by the local Chambers of Commerce
Date: Saturday, April 16th
Time: 7:30am
Where: Ritz Charles Overland Park
Address: 9000 W 137th

Contacts Me
Please feel free to contact me! I look forward to the feedback that you supply and your views on the issues before us.

Office phone: 785-296-7659
Legislative email: amanda.grosserode@house.ks.gov
Facebook: Amanda Grosserode
Twitter: amanda4kansas

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Paid for by Amanda Grosserode for State Representative; Christie Glasgow, Treasurer
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