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Kansas lawmakers will be considering major issues in the 2013 legislative session_ school finance and property tax reforms as well as lower taxes. John’s e-mail newsletters will help you keep up with developments on the issues that could affect you.
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John recorded a public service announcement in January for the Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association stressing the importance of reading to young children.
It is an honor to be asked by the Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives to lead a House debate on several bills. That honor was accorded Wednesday Feb. 13 to Rep. Rubin. (Photo by Scott Schwab)
On a personal note:
(Aug. 8, 2013) As House Corrections Committee chairman and a board member of the Kansas Sentencing Commission, I just returned from a three day conference by the National Association of Sentencing Commissions, in Minneapolis, MN, on the subject of risk assessment in sentencing.
The economics of tax reform is explained at Kansas forum
LAWRENCE | What is the economics behind Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax reform strategy?
A noted Kansas economist, Dr. Art Hall of the KU business school, explained the rational for the tax effort being made now in Topeka. He spoke April 2 at a forum on Kansas tax reform sponsored by the Douglas County Republican Party.
Hall explained that growth in the Kansas economy doesn’t come from companies moving to Kansas. Dynamic growth occurs, he said, from small businesses starting and expanding in Kansas.
The tax climate in the state, he said, must encourage that kind of growth.
To view his presentation, click on THIS VIDEO LINK. It runs for 15 minutes but is highly informative. Every Kansan should see it.
TOPEKA | Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has asked the governor to call a special session of the Kansas Legislature to address problems with the 1999 “Hard 50” law caused by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders agreed and have set the special session to begin Tuesday Sept. 3. A special session costs approximately $40,000 per day.
Schmidt wrote that Kansas could not wait until January, when the Legislature normally convenes, to fix the problem because murderers sentenced under the Hard 50 law could be eligible for parole after 25 years instead of 50.
“It is within the state's ability to fix this problem by an act of the Legislature, and I am recommending that we ask the Legislature to do so soon,” he wrote.
Law eliminates time limit on rape cases
TOPEKA | Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill into law April 1 abolishing the statute of limitations on the prosecution of rape cases.
Rape and aggravated criminal sodomy could be prosecuted at any time after the attack occurs, according to the bill, HB 2252.
Legislature passes “Innovative” schools act
TOPEKA | A bill to give school districts the ability to try more innovative approaches to education with less state regulations passed the Legislature Friday, April 5.
HB 2319 would allow a school district to be an innovative district that supporters said would attract the best and brightest teachers. The bill limits that designation to 10 percent of the state’s school districts.
Closer tie between KDOT, Turnpike sought
TOPEKA | First came the suggestion from the governor that a lot of money could be saved by merging the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority.
There was too much duplication of effort, Gov. Sam Brownback argued, and merging the two agencies would bring greater spending and personnel efficiencies.
On Friday April 5 the Legislature passed a bill tying the two agencies closer together, giving the governor a partial win. It did not merge KDOT with the KTA.
Preservation of Religious Freedom Act
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Bill wants more unspent dollars spent in classroom
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Here is a recent interview with Rep. Rubin televised by Comcast as part of its newsmaker series.
Rubin wins “Legislative Champion” award from MADD
TOPEKA | Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recently announced its “2013 Legislative Champions” and recognized Rep. John Rubin of Shawnee and Sen. Jeff King of Independence for their leadership within the Kansas Legislature to stop drunk driving.
“MADD thanks Senator King and Representative Rubin for their tireless work and commitment to improving the drunk driving law in Kansas. MADD is grateful for their efforts in seeking justice for victims in Kansas,” said MADD Kansas Advisory Board Chair Chris Mann.
In 2013, Sen. Jeff King and Rep. John Rubin were crucial in passing HB 2218, which among other provisions, amended the crime of aggravated battery to include serious DUI crashes. “This law will allow prosecutors to seek justice in cases where a drunk driver causes serious injury to a crash victim,” said Mann, who is also a victim of a drunk-driver.
KanCare produces dividends for disabled Kansans
TOPEKA | More than 650 Kansans with disabilities are able to receive new access to Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) because of the KanCare program.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D., and Secretary of Health and Environment Robert Moser, M.D., announced that savings from care coordination under the new KanCare Medicaid program will bring in-home services to hundreds of additional people with physical and intellectual/developmental disabilities.
Special session ends after “Hard 50” law is fixed
TOPEKA | A bill fixing problems with the Kansas “Hard 50” sentencing law passed both chambers of the Legislature this week, ending the two day special session that began Sept. 3.
The measure was originally contained in a preliminary report by the Special Committee on the Judiciary and will change the way the sentence is imposed.
The Kansas House approved the measure Tuesday by a vote of 122 to 0 and the Senate followed suit Wednesday Sept. 4 in a 40-0 vote.
A judge can hand down a Hard 50 sentence under current law. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that method unconstitutional in June and stated that the sentence of 50 years without parole must be determined by a jury.
Rubin wins Pro-Jobs title from Kansas Chamber
TOPEKA | Based on his voting record on the economy, Rep. John Rubin of Shawnee has been named a 2013 Pro-Jobs Legislator by the Kansas Chamber.
Mike O’Neal, a former Kansas House speaker and currently the chamber’s president and CEO, praised all the legislators who made the list.
“This session the Legislature tackled many tough issues and tremendous progress was made in many areas that have made Kansas one of the most economically competitive states in the region,” said O’Neal said, adding that the Pro-Jobs Legislators list identifies lawmakers who voted at least 80 percent of the time to support a wide range of business issues.
Major prolife bill passes Legislature
TOPEKA | The main prolife legislation of the 2013 Kansas Legislature was approved Friday April 5 by the House affirming that life begins at conception and prohibiting the use of tax money for abortion.
The bill, HB 2253, was approved earlier by the Senate. The House action sent the bill to the governor desk. He later signed it into law.
Bill to ease prison overcrowding is signed into law
TOPEKA | Kansas Lawmakers approved a bill April 1 affecting inmates released from prison under supervision that could reduce the number of prison beds by 863, which experts say will be needed next year.
Rep. John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican and chairman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, said the measure is needed to avoid future overcrowding in the state’s prison system. He said it will also save the state money in the long run.
Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill into law April 11.
The current available bed capacity (as of Jan. 14) was 9,564. The Kansas Sentencing Commission predicts that passage of HB 2170 will reduce the need for prison beds by 863 in fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1, and between 2,611 and 2,744 by FY 2023.
Lawmakers expand conceal-carry law
TOPEKA | The Kansas Legislature approved a bill Friday April 5 that supporters say will increase citizen safety when gun violence threatens.
It passed the House 104-16 and the Senate 32-7 and was signed into law by the governor April 17.
Senate substitute for HB 2052, would clarify the statute that prohibits firing a firearm within city limits. It provides several exemptions, including the firing of a weapon in defense of a person or property.
The bill allows people with permits to carry their weapons into a government building, including state and city properties, if they lacked adequate security measures such as electronic detection, guards at entrances to check for guns or other weapons.
Brownback signs drug testing bill into law
TOPEKA | Welfare recipients suspected of drug use would be tested and could lose their benefits under a bill approved today April 2 by the Kansas Senate.
That vote sends the bill to the desk of Gov. Sam Brownback. He signed the bill into law Tuesday April 16. The drug tests will begin after Dec. 31.
Second amendment protection act goes to governor
TOPEKA | The Legislature approved a bill Friday April 5 that would exempt a “personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition owned or manufactured in Kansas” from federal regulation.
Rep. John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican is the bill’s chief sponsor.
A final version passed the House 96-24 and the Senate 35-4. The governor signed the bill into law April 16.
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More tax dollars don’t equal better schools
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Letter on a New Autism Bill
Nov. 21, 2013
Dear House Colleagues,
As most of you know, I remain a steadfast advocate of legislation requiring that all Kansas health insurers include as part of basic health insurance (no riders/no additional cost) coverage for proven clinical treatment therapies, including in particular Applied Behavior Analysis (“ABA”) intervention at an early age, for Kansas children with duly diagnosed autism spectrum disorders.
Following the leadership of former Rep. Arlen Siegfried on this issue, I co-sponsored and carried such legislation in the House during the 2012 session (the bill passed the House but was not taken up in the Senate).
Such legislation was reintroduced in the 2013 session as HB 2317, but never made it out of committee. I plan to pre-file the attached bill, 14rs2583 – which mirrors 2013 HB 2317 with updated effective dates -- for introduction in the 2014 session. It is the right thing to do for Kansas kids with autism and their families. It is also the fiscally responsible thing to do for the State's bottom line.
An Independence Day Message
Hello and Happy Independence Day to you all.
I'm getting geared up right now to hit the ground running in the Kansas Legislature next session in our continuing fight for conservative principles and values in Kansas, including, among other things:
(1) Replacing the disproportionate, unfair, and economically stagnating income tax in Kansas with the Fair Tax, to promote fundamental fairness in our tax structure, and to stimulate the economy, expand the tax base, and grow jobs;(2) Enacting further abortion restrictions, to continue our quest to protect the lives of our unborn children and preserve the health of their mothers by making Kansas the most abortion-unfriendly state in the nation;
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A Case for Kansas Gun Rights
Rep. Rubin’s testimony Feb. 19 on HB 2199 before the House Federal and State Affairs Committee
Chairman (Arlen) Siegfreid and committee members, I appreciate this opportunity to testify today as the lead sponsor and proponent of HB 2199. I am proud that 49 House colleagues have joined me in sponsoring this vitally important legislation, which proclaims loudly and clearly that not only the Second Amendment but the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution are alive and well in Kansas, and which for the first time puts real teeth into protecting the precious individual right of every Kansan to keep and bear arms under the United States and Kansas Constitutions.
This proposed legislation begins by citing the constitutional rights guaranteed to every Kansan to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment and, under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to retain all powers and rights not specifically granted to the federal government – guarantees that were understood as a precondition to and a matter of contract between the state of Kansas and the federal government at the time Kansas entered the compact to join the Union in 1859.
Issues facing the 2013 Legislature
In a recent questionnaire from The Kansas City Star, John Rubin received the following question:
The Star: What do you think are the most pertinent issues facing the Legislature right now? How would you address those issues?
Answer: This election was all about returning our state and nation to economic growth and prosperity and creating thousands of new jobs for Kansans by reducing the heavy tax and regulatory burden, and resultant uncertainty, on this nation's job creators, especially the small businesses that provide over 80% of the jobs in our state. This will greatly expand the tax base and actually grow state revenues.
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Health Insurance and ObamaCare
In the 2012 session, I had the privilege of co-sponsoring, carrying, and helping to lead the fight on the House Floor on behalf of House Concurrent Resolution 5007, the Health Care Freedom Amendment, and Senate Bill 14, the Health Care Freedom Act.
HRC 5007 sought to place on the ballot for voter approval an amendment to the Kansas Constitution to preserve the right and freedom of Kansans to provide for their own health care. It passed the House overwhelmingly, but unfortunately did not get out of the Senate. This prevented you, the citizens of Kansas, from having your say on this important issue at the polls.
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Measure would lower tax on boats
TOPEKA | Boat owners haven’t been left out of the Legislature’s efforts to cut taxes.
The Kansas Legislature passed and sent to the governor a bill that lowers the current local property tax rate for boats from the current 30 percent of market value to 5 percent over a two-year period. The governor signed the bill into law April 16.
It will lower the rate to 11.5 percent next year and then to 5 percent in 2015 and future years.
The measure is a response to a constitutional amendment approved by Kansas voters last year that authorized the Legislature to make the change.
The original bill would have exempted all watercraft from property taxation by 2016. But a subcommittee of the House Tax Committee found that a total exemption was not warranted.
It also recommended that the tax rate not fall below 11.5 percent, which is the rate for homes. The full committee, however, did not adopt that recommendation.
Because of the current high tax, some Kansas owners register their boats in other states where the tax is lower. Proponent of the bill said a change in Kansas rates could lure those boats back to Kansas.
Lawmakers pass tracking device bill
TOPEKA | Law enforcement could obtain a search warrant for the covert installation, maintenance and use of a tracking device if there is probable cause that a crime is about to be committed.
Under current law, all search warrants must be supported by facts sufficient to show probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed. A final form of the legislation unanimously passed the both the House and Senate on Friday April 5 and was signed into law April 16.