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Legislator Report


Friday, February 27th was known as Turnaround. The House debated and passed 35 bills this week, making the total number of bills sent to the Senate for consideration 71. In the last half of the session, each chamber will consider only bills passed by the other chamber, with the exception of those bills still in the house of origin that were exempt from the Turnaround deadline. The House's approval of a bill prior to Turnaround does not necessarily guarantee the bill will be worked in the Senate.

KDOT/KTA Partnership

This week, the House passed HB 2085, which would remove the sunset on the partnership between the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA). The legislature took action in 2013 to create this partnership between KDOT and KTA, placing the secretary of KDOT in charge of the partnership. Designed to provide efficiencies to both systems, the plan originally was passed with skepticism on how the partnership would affect the state's transportation system. The House included a sunset in the original bill to allow the legislature to reexamine the progress of the partnership and ensure that the quality of the system was not being compromised for the benefit of savings.

KDOT presented to the House the success of the combination of services and the elimination of duplication between the two systems. As a result of the partnership, $30 million has been returned to the state general fund without loss of service in either agency. Savings were found in technology and engineering overlaps. Overhauling of administration saved the most at almost $15 million by streamlining the board and organizational structure and the legislative, development and communication functions of the two systems. The turnpike represents 238 miles of the state's highway system compared with 9,500 miles under the KDOT system. Revenues from the turnpike continue to service turnpike roads only as originally agreed to in 2013. The House adopted HB 2085 on Thursday, February 26th by a vote of 123-0.

DUI Law Update

Last year, a repeat drunk driver struck and permanently disabled Mija Stockman of McPherson. She was a school teacher driving home when she was hit, altering her life forever. The damage from the accident was extensive and resulted in Mija needing lifelong nursing care. The man charged with the accident received only two years in prison because of the severity level of aggravated battery while driving under the influence (DUI).

HB 2115 would count a previous first conviction of DUI as a nonperson felony and previous subsequent DUI convictions as person felonies for the purpose of criminal history when the current crime of conviction is aggravated battery while DUI. If this would have been in effect at the time, the driver who hit Mija would have faced longer prison time because of the DUI convictions he had previous to the aggravated battery while DUI. Mija's family was on hand during the debate and passage of the bill. The House adopted HB 2115 on Thursday, February 26th by a vote of 123-0.

To contact: Becky Hutchins, 61st State Representative

STATE CAPITOL, Topeka, KS 66612. Phone: 785-296-7653

Email: becky.hutchins@house.ks.gov

Becky Huchins, 61st District
March 13, 2015

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Legislative Update #5


Most committee meetings were cancelled on Monday for Senators and Representatives to attend Annette Hedke's funeral. Linda and I went down to Wichita on Sunday to spend some time with Dennis and his family.

The rest of the week was very busy. The committees are presenting the bills they passed to the House for debate and final action now. Most of the bills passed by the House this week were primarily dealing with minor changes to laws allowing for more efficient government. All committees are working hard to hear and vote on bills remaining in their committees. The deadline for non-exempt committees to finish their work is February 24. The bills passed by the House then will go over to the Senate for their consideration. If they agree and pass the bills as written, they then go to the Governor for signing. Those that are not agreed upon by either chamber then go to a joint conference committee to hopefully agree on specific language that both chambers can pass.

One item of business that still remains undecided is the rules for how business between the House and Senate during joint conference will be conducted. Until these rules are agreed to, any bill requiring a joint conference will be delayed. We are hoping the issue will be resolved soon.

The Education Committee held hearings on HB 2034, reducing school district negotiable terms and conditions in the Professional Negotiations Act. Basically this reduces the amount of items the state requires (mandates) for negotiations to salary and wages. If both parties in the negotiations want to negotiate more items, it becomes their choice. It passed in committee. Hearings were also held on HB 2232, requiring a personal financial literacy course for high school graduation; and HB 2099, authorizing school districts to administer certain surveys and questionnaires under the Student Data Privacy Act. There was an informational hearing on how school districts are implementing and adhering to the Data Privacy Act passed last year. Because of the sensitivity of our children's personal information, we feel this topic justifies a closer look.

The Appropriations Committee is hearing the various sub-committee reports on the budgets they have reviewed. This will continue until all agency and education institution budgets are heard. The discussions are lively at times and the spending of millions of dollars in virtually every budget is at times mind boggling. It is my opinion that a closer look at spending needs to be a high priority.

The Tax Committee is looking at the request for increasing cigarette and liquor taxes and held hearings to gather factual information. The communities and businesses along bordering states have voiced their displeasure with the proposal. We had a hearing on bed & breakfast facilities that are being taxed as commercial facilities, and they offered language to amend the law. That classification has the potential of forcing some to close. We will work that bill, HB 2168, at a later date.

I entered a bill and testified before the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee this week. HB 2156 allows the city of Alma to purchase the other half of Mill Creek Lake from the state at a more favorable interest rate. The bill will be worked next week. The Senate committee hearing the same bill has already passed it. Next it will be on to the full House and Senate for passage, and hopefully it will become law before session ends.

It was my pleasure to recognize the Rossville High School Football team for their great accomplishment of winning the State 3A Championship. The Coaches, Derick Hammes, Dan Schneider, Jeremy Stephenson, Ian Peters, and Brad Anderson; Athletic Director Derek Dick; Principal Toby McCullough; and Superintendent Kerry Lacock were presented a Certificate of Recognition from the House of Representatives on the floor of the House. All of the players were present in the Gallery and received a standing ovation from the House, and then went on to spend much of the day touring the Capitol as part of their daylong celebration of their achievement.

The new President of Fort Hays State, Dr. Mirta Martin, along with Debra Prideaux, Alumni and Governmental Relations Director, and Jenni Rose, Legislative Liaison came for a meeting in my office. I have enjoyed learning of the many FHSU initiatives.

I also spent time with Brooke Powers, a Wamego student at Bethel College, and Joey Jadlowski, Student Body President at Benedictine College. Mary Reed Spencer came to visit representing Kansas MS Society. I also attended the Travel Industry Association of Kansas event, met with the American Legion/VFW members, and visited with District 51 Treasurers Linda Coon, Wabaunsee County; Lisa Wright, Pottawatomie County; Sharon Gaede, Lyon County; and Shilo Heger, Riley County at their Association reception. The week ended with two events at home in Wamego, the Chamber Ag Appreciation Night and Republican Founder's Day Dinner.

My contact information is: 785-296-7310; Rm 561 W, State Capitol, Topeka, Kansas, 66612; and ron.highland@house.ks.gov. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you.

Representative Ron Hightland, 51st District
February 17, 2015

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Legislative Update #4


It is with a heavy heart that I write this week's update. My good friend Representative Dennis Hedke's wife died on Thursday. Annette was a wonderful lady, whom Linda and I will miss greatly. Rep. Hedke is a geophysicist who gives time away from his business to chair the Energy and Environment Committee. Many in his family reside in the Wamego area. The news of Annette's sudden death caused us all to reflect on the importance of our faith and family.

The House and Senate both passed the Rescission Bill that enables the state to pass the current crisis and move forward. The rest of the session will be spent working to develop a budget for the next two years. It will not be easy, but it will get done. The previous Governor had a similar situation, if you recall. It will require a closer look at every agency, department, and line item in the budget. Spending has continued to rise, even in these times of reduced revenues. We cannot spend more than we have. It sounds simple, but there are those who would rather speak of blame than work to solve the problems. I would remind them that problems are solved with ideas not finger pointing. I will not accept the failure to remedy and correct the present fiscal situation.

The Education Committee is looking carefully at ways to increase funding for the classroom and teachers. We are also looking at ways to reduce administrative costs, the fastest growing budget item in K-12 education. There was testimony by the newly hired Commissioner of Education, Dr. Randy Watkins, concerning the department's implementation of the Rose Standards that the Supreme Court addressed in their ruling and were put into place by legislation last year. There is a bill creating a commission to help fully develop and implement the new standards.

The deadline for submitting bills by a committee for consideration ends February 9. All committees will be busy with hearings and working the bills that have been presented. Those bills that a committee feels are worthy of passage will then go to the House floor. Once the Speaker moves the bills "above the line" in the House Journal, the bill is introduced, debated, and given a final vote usually the next day.

The Rotunda is always bustling with events and displays. Of note this week was a school choice rally, and a huge aviation display and luncheon for all visitors and employees in the Capitol. Receptions I attended this week were for the Kansas Economic Development Association, Kansas Association of County Government, League of Kansas Municipalities, and the Kansas Banker Association. Visitors this week were Marcus and Jeannie Merritt, Wamego; Randy Kufahl, Kristy Umscheid, and Jim Moore from the Farmers State Bank in Westmoreland; and Lynn Mayer from Citizens State Bank in Marysville. Lynn is on the board of the Kansas Bankers Association and is also my brother-in-law.

My contact information is: 785-296-7310; Rm 561 W, State Capitol, Topeka, Kansas, 66612; and ron.highland@house.ks.gov. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you.

Ron Highland, 51st District
February 10, 2015

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Legislator Report #4


A rescission bill is legislation that basically contains corrections in the current budget year from January through June 2015. The state is required to balance its budget and the rescission bill will enable us to pay our bills on time. By law, the state cannot exceed the FY2015 budget, and because the taxes collected to date are less than expected or predicted, we must take corrective action. The Governor has the authority to make some changes without legislative approval and the Legislature is required to make other necessary changes to balance the budget. Some cuts to agencies have been made by the Governor, and some funds were moved from agencies to the General Fund. Yes, there is some creative accounting being done, and has been done by prior administrations, but the bottom line is we have bills that need to be paid to protect core state services and before we can begin to develop budgets for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

Final action on the rescission bill was taken in the House on February 4th. The bill passed on final action by a vote of 88 to 34. I supported the bill.

The importance of the passage of the rescission bill cannot be overstated. The bill has to be passed by both the House and Senate and go to the Governor for signing before the middle of February to avoid defaulting on payments due.

Congratulations to Mary Putnam, 10th grader at Royal Valley High School, for being recognized as a 2nd place winner for the Happy Birthday Kansas! Photo Contest.

The statewide contest was sponsored jointly by the legislative spouses and the Kansas Historical Society. They invited students in first through 12th grade to submit a photograph of the state.

Mary received recognition at the Kansas State Capitol during Kansas Day festivities on January 29th. Mary's photograph entitled "Winter Beauty", along with 23 other winners, was on display in the Capitol visitor's center from January 29th through the morning of February 4th, and online at kshs.org/18622.

To contact Becky Hutchins, District 61 Representative, State Capitol, Topeka, KS 66612. Phone: 785-296-7653. Email: becky.hutchins@house.ks.gov.

Becky Huchins, 61st District
February 10, 2015

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Legislator Report #3


Executive Reorganization Order

From time to time, the Governor's office issues Executive Reorganization Orders (ERO), which can reorganize agency responsibilities within departments. Governor Brownback's administration has proposed a change to move the Foster Care licensing program from the Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to Children and Families (DCF). This move would put all foster care related programs under one umbrella of the Dept. of Children and Families.

The state's Medicaid eligibility staff is currently spread among two departments. The Governor's Executive Reorganization Order would move all of the state's Medicaid eligibility staff to KDHE, which is the state's Medicaid agency. These reorganizations are projected to save $26 million.An ERO goes into effect after 60 days if both chambers take no action to block the reorganization.

KPER's Proposal's

The three major budgetary cost drivers for Kansas are K-12 school funding, Medicaid and the KPERS pension system. The Governor has proposed two changes to KPERS as it currently exists. The first change would authorize the issuance of bonds, while the second change would extend the amortization period.

Proposal one would take out bonds at a low interest rate and put that money into an investment with a higher rate of return, with the goal of filling the state's portion of the unfunded liability that currently stands at $7.3 billion.

The second proposal includes extending the amortization (repayment) of KPERS from Fiscal Year 2033 out to Fiscal Year 2043. This essentially means that the state's employer contribution rate to KPERS would be reduced.

I read an article the other day entitled "Advice for New (and returning) Legislators". This article put my thoughts into words much better than I could. The article stated;

"Many new legislators feel more important than ever before. Fellow lawmakers will treat you as equals and you'll receive lots of attention from lobbyists. Approach your job with humility, honesty and openness. Most of all, be grateful for the incredible opportunity and honor to serve the public".

Thank you.

To contact Becky Hutchins, 61st State Representative

STATE CAPITOL, Topeka, KS 66612. Phone: 785-296-7653

Email: becky.hutchins@house.ks.gov

Becky Hutchins, 61st District
February 03, 2015

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Legislative Update #3


2015 Legislative Update No. 3 from Ron Highland, Representative of the 51st District

The big news this week was the Governor's rescission bill (HB 2133). The Appropriations Committee held hearings where the State Budget Director presented the details. The bill basically contains corrections to the remainder of the current budget of January June, 2015. The Governor has the authority to make some changes and the Legislature must make others to balance the budget for the remainder of the year. All this is required so that we as a state can pay our bills on time. By law, we cannot exceed our budget, and because the revenues collected to date are less than expected or predicted, we must take corrective action. Some cuts to agencies have been made (approximately 4%), and some funds were moved from some agencies to the General Fund.

The School budgets were left to be funded at the level approved by the Legislature last year at the end of session and they actually are receiving more than they did in the previous year's budget. The importance of this rescission bill cannot be overstated. We must get it passed by both houses and to the Governor for signing before the middle of February to avoid defaulting on payments due. The next big budget deliberation will be the Governor's proposed budget for 2016 and 2017. This will occupy the Appropriations Committee for the rest of the session.

The Education Committee dealt with staff reviews of education accounting practices, reporting of budget totals by the State Board of Education and School Districts according to current statutes, bonding, and interest processes. The week closed with data security testimonies by two experts in that field. According to these experts, our children's data is four times more valuable than even the Department of Defense data. With that alarming realization we are seeking information on what data is collected, who has access, and how it is secured. Our initial findings are that it may not be as secure as we want it to be, and some information collected on our young students may be more than most parents would approve. We will investigate these issues further and hopefully develop some remedies for inconsistencies or weaknesses in the systems throughout the state.

The Tax Committee is engaged in what is referred to as Tax 101. The State Revenue Department is reviewing for us all the revenue sources (taxes primarily), to include how each is calculated. I personally find it fascinating. I did not realize how much of everything we own and do is taxed. But, even more alarming to me is how much is exempted from being taxed at all in our state, leaving the rest of us tax payers to make up the revenue needed to fund our large state government.

The House as a whole debated and then passed the Rules under which we function. This is required every new two year session. The Rules were changed to stop proceedings at 11:00 pm and not begin before 8:00 am, and to disallow bundling of bills (discussed in prior year's newsletters) with more than two like bills. But, any rule can be suspended with two thirds vote at any time.

The Education Committee has gone digital and now anyone can see, read, and download any document presented to the committee. That information can be found at the legislative web site, http://www.kslegislature.org/li/, and then going to the Education Committee page and clicking on Committee Documents. This is also the place to visit for bills in all of the committees and to listen in on the House or Senate proceedings.

Rosemary Helms and Norman Winter representing the Wamego Health Ministry came to my office for a visit. Other constituents Linda and I enjoyed meeting with during evening receptions included those with the Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Kansas Grain and Feed Association, Kansas County Appraisers, and the Association of Agricultural Educators. The latter group included teachers, Kelly Hoelting and John Bergin from Mission Valley High School, David Holliday from Rock Creek High School, and several FFA students from across the state.

My contact information is: 785-296-7310; Rm 561 W, State Capitol, Topeka, Kansas, 66612; and ron.highland@house.ks.gov. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you.

Ron Highland, 51st District
February 03, 2015

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Legislative Update #2


Legislators are entering bills at a fast pace, and they are being referred to committees to consider. As of today the Education Committee has six bills with several more promised to be sent our way. By far, the most bills have been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

In the Education Committee our legal and research advisors gave presentations on the funding formula and court rulings. We also went over methods for retrieving information from the Dept. of Education and the Board of Regents websites so that each committee member can easily access whatever information they need to make informed decisions. Our committee has gone paperless. This is resulting in the information and testimonies being accessed more quickly, and it is readily available for the committee and the public, as well, through a drop box system. More details about how you can access this information will be coming.

The Appropriations and Tax Committees are pouring over loads of information every day. The budget process is complicated and requires legal advice frequently before moving forward. The current topic is school funding. There is no bill on the budget from the Governor's office yet. Therefore, I cannot comment on a budget I have not seen. We only have the Governor's outline that he presented during his State of the State address; however, a detailed request will be coming soon. Among all of my committees, members are concentrating on improving your children's education and finding ways to reward teachers for their work.

The Attorney General spent one meeting updating us on current litigation. The current cases of interest to us all include: a case against Nebraska over water usage from the Republican River, several others involving fraud within the Medicaid system by both providers and recipients, tobacco settlements, and his office's intention to file an appeal on the most recent district court's ruling on K-12 funding.

The tax code is complicated and the goal is to be fair and equitable to all taxpayers. But, what one party feels is fair, the next party feels is unfair. Therein lays the difficulty. It is my belief that we have a spending problem, and we need to take a closer look at all spending within the State's budget.

Puffy's Steak and Ice House was the gathering place for an enjoyable Saturday evening with constituents from Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee Counties. I meet with the Kansas Register of Deeds Association members in the Capitol Rotunda, and Suzanne Simon, Register of Deeds from Wabaunsee County accompanied me to the House floor. January 22 is always the Rally for Life, and I joined with the many Legislators who stand up for life on the south steps of the Capitol that day at noon.

The decision by Westar Energy Company concerning their transmission line placement will be coming out the first week in February. Many of you in Pottawatomie County have written to me concerning this issue. I meet with Westar officials to share with them your wishes, and deliver to them the letters you sent to me. All of you who wrote will be hearing back from Westar. The usual next step is for the KCC (Kansas Corporation Commission) to hold a public hearing before making their decision. I will share that information when I have it.

You can track bills in all of the committees and listen in on the House or Senate proceedings each day by going to http://www.kslegislature.org/li/. The House convenes at 11:00 and the Senate at 2:30. This web site also has the daily calendar with a listing of the bills to be considered that day for both the House and the Senate. This is your government and your Representatives and Senators need to know how you feel about issues before them. My contact information is: 785-296-7310; Rm 561 W, State Capitol, Topeka, Kansas, 66612; and ron.highland@house.ks.gov. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you.

Representative Ron Hightland, 51st District
January 29, 2015

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Legislator Report #2


Last week Governor Brownback gave his 5th 'State of the State Address'. In his address the Governor proposed the legislature pass a constitutional amendment that would specify a priority list for appropriations, or what expenses should be paid first by the state. The proposal would guarantee the state make debt payments first before any other appropriations are made. This resolution would have to pass both the House and Senate with a two-thirds (2/3's) majority and then be approved by Kansas voters for it to be added to the Constitution. The passage of this amendment should help the state achieve a better credit rating.

During his speech, Governor Brownback also called on the legislature to reform the process of selecting Supreme Court Justices to a more democratic model. He proposed the legislature pass a resolution to amend the state's constitution.

Currently, Kansas Supreme Court Justices are selected through a process where-by a commission, made up of 3 members of the Kansas Bar Assoc. (KBA) choose three nominees and the governor then selects one of these to fill the vacancy on the court. The concern is that the current process places a lot of power with unelected individuals who may not be accountable to the people. Kansas is the only state that gives that much authority to its bar association in the judicial nomination process.

One suggestion on the resolution was to model the selection process after the federal model (the Governor appoints and the Senate confirms). The other suggestion would be to move the selection to a direct election. This resolution would also have to be passed by two thirds (2/3) of both the House and Senate and be put before Kansas voters for their approval or rejection.

Judicial selection legislation has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee which I serve on. Both these resolutions, in their current form(s), would receive my support as it allows you-the people- to decide.

Becky Hutchins, 61st State Representative

STATE CAPITOL, Topeka, KS 66612. Phone: 785-296-7653

Email: becky.hutchins@house.ks.gov

Representative Becky Hutchins
January 23, 2015

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Kansas is at risk


To the Editor:

Kansas is at risk.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan stood before the press and television cameras at the White House and held up a report titled A Nation at Risk. Eighteen months in the making and written by members of the National Commission on Excellence in Education at the behest of Secretary of Education, the report examined the quality of education in the United States—and the findings were atrocious . The commission found few signs of encouragement about the American education system. Test scores were rapidly declining, low teaching salaries and poor teacher training programs were leading to a high turnover rate among educators, and other industrialized countries were threatening to outpace America's technological superiority. The report provided mounds of statistical evidence —23 million American adults were functionally illiterate; the average achievement for high school students on standardized tests was lower than before the launch of Sputnik in 1957; and only one-fifth of 17-year old students had the ability to write a persuasive essay.

32 years later Kansas Governor Sam Brownback aims to roll back the clock. Today in Kansas, only one-fifth of 4 year olds have access to public pre-school. But before we get to that, last week Gov. Brownback delivered both the State of the State address and his budget. The speech blamed Public Education for budget woes, which is a lie, but he went further and pointed to prior Republican legislatures as crooks who conspired to make the "at risk" weightings too complicated and confusing in the hope to abuse tax dollars. There seems to be no one he won't throw under the proverbial bus on the quest to income tax elimination.

The Governor's budget essentially rewrites history, or more accurately erases history. School districts are left wondering how the "block grant" will be allocated to each of the nearly 300 districts. Everything since the 1983 Nation at Risk report tells us that students who demonstrate risk factors ranging from poverty to health to geography require significantly more time, talent, and treasure to close the achievement gap with their peers. This budget denies those facts. Gov. Brownback believes that those facts and their subsequent measuring formula for fund allocation are too complicated and confusing.

If Kansas doesn't live up to its constitution and isn't held accountable for not doing so, then the bedrock of democracy is cracked. Thomas Jefferson said "An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people". All across the world people fear what they don't understand. Simply because Gov. Brownback does not understand how the at-risk weighting formula works does not mean that it must be destroyed. Fortunately, it is education that rectifies the unknown and diminishes fear.

Under the new budget, each school district is facing unnecessary multi-million dollar cuts for at least the next 2 years. The rest of the country is investing in education, especially early education and Kansas is putting itself at risk. Gov. Brownback has taken none of the steps prescribed by the Federal Court that ruled he is already violating current constitutional law. Retention and recruitment of quality educators is more difficult than ever in this self-inflicted cannibalization of our education system. The future of Kansas is at risk.

Early Education is vital to that future. Pre-K for all 4 year olds is the national standard now. According to the Kansas Department of Education, Kansas is not meeting that standard, only one-fifth of Kansas 4 year olds have access to state funded public school. The evidence regarding early education is overwhelming. Kansas Department of Education report shows at least 7-10% return on investment for every dollar invested in school readiness preparation of our nearly 40,000 Kansas 4 year olds. If all 4 year olds were to be grouped together they would constitute a population comparable to the city of Hutchinson. Age 4 also corresponds with the highest potential for learning to happen. Young families are struggling to pay the exorbitant cost of private pre-school. It costs over $600 a month for pre-school in Manhattan, but only $600 a year for fees at the Public High School. The immediate effects of young families seeing upwards of $7,000 in their pockets from child care savings a year coupled with the 7-10% long term return on investment for the child's early education is staggering when you take that multiplied by 40,000. No other issue does more to drive long-term economic development for businesses than a well-educated workforce. Public Education in Kansas is a constitutional priority, it is the fruit of the Kansans before us, and no other governor has done more to put that sacred trust at risk.

Aaron Estabrook

Board of Education

USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden

Aaron Estabrook
January 23, 2015

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Contractor Licensing


Editor's Note: This is the full text of letter from Dave Karnowski, Chairman of the Construction Board of Appeals, that he read at the Wamego City Commission Meeting Tuesday night.

Our current law requires contractor licensing. This is to protect the property, health and safety of those who occupy buildings. In order to be licensed, they have to meet statutory requirements to show they are capable and qualified to do the work. Those who are licensed risk their livelihood if they do work that does not meet the International Building Code because they have a license to lose.

Licensing is commonly accepted as a means to prove competency where the profession impacts the unsuspecting public who are unaware whether they are in jeopardy or not. Construction is one of those professions. We as a society have advanced beyond such ideas as "let the buyer beware," As good businessmen, we must be good citizens. Those who ignore health and safety by suing non qualified, unlicensed workers, including themselves, to improve their profit margins need to rethink their position. We all have access to the means to be licensed in whatever trade or profession we undertake. There are those who are unwilling to do this and who are seeking special status and a loophole where they can work without being qualified. Our society has progressed beyond the tycoons and slumlords of years gone by who pursued profits with disregard for the rights or safety of others. Businesses today incorporate a degree of responsibility to the people whose lives they impact.

It is not enough to merely carry liability insurance. How do you give someone their life or their health back? Liability insurance merely protects the worker or contractor from bankruptcy if he makes a mistake. We as public officials must be proactive. We have a responsibility to continue to insist that work covered by the International Building Code, as adopted, be done by those who have demonstrate through training and the licensing process a level of responsibility and ability to do work that will not endanger property, health and lives. The Building Official must rely on the training, responsibility and knowledge of these people to insure that the work being done is safe and up to code.

Although he needs to know the code, he cannot be everywhere and see everything. All who are involved in the construction process needs to be responsible to the renting and buying public.

I urge those wishing to do the work covered by licensing in our statutes to get themselves qualified as soon as possible. Certainly, there is enough work for all, and the help would be appreciated.

Dave Karnowski

Chairman Board of Construction Appeal

Dave Karnowski, Chairman Board of Construction Appeal
November 05, 2014

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