ShawnTownHall

Government and Community Relations


 

The Government and Community Relations (GCR) team advocates on behalf of Pittsburg State at the local, state, and federal levels. The GCR team also serves as the legislative liasion between Pitt State and local, state and federal policymakers.

Along with advocating for Pittsburg State on all levels, the GCR team also keeps the PSU community informed of major legislative activity. 

Capitol Gorilla updates can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Legislative Session Reports


Capitol Gorilla legislative reports are compiled by the Capitol Gorilla team of:

Shawn Naccarato, PSU Chief Strategy Officer

Riley Scott, founder of Scott Consulting and PSU legislative liaison. 

 

2021

Week 1 (Jan. 11-15): The Kansas Legislature gaveled in for the 2021 Legislative Session on Monday afternoon and quickly got to work. What is usually a slow week where newly elected legislators get settled into their offices and learn their way around the Statehouse was instead the legislative process unfolding at lightning speed. So much so that two rather complex bills were introduced, heard, worked, and passed the floor by week’s end. In fear of a potential virus outbreak and early adjournment, leaders are working through their priority items in double-time.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 2 (Jan. 18-22): Legislators were scheduled to return to To eka for the second week of the legislative session on Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. However, Governor Laura Kelly announced Monday evening that all state offices were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday due to “credible threats” to state capitols across the country leading up to President Biden’s inauguration.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 3 (Jan. 25-29): It was the first full week since the 2021 Legislative Session began, and committees took advantage of each day to hear and take action on dozens of bills. We also saw 119 bills introduced this week alone as lawmakers near the first legislative deadline on Monday, when all requests for bill drafts by the Revisor’s office must be completed.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 4 (Feb. 1-5): The Kansas Legislature has successfully made it through the first week of February without a COVID-19 outbreak that many feared would shut down the legislative session by now. Priority items are still moving quickly and 113 more bills were introduced this week. While the Statehouse lacks its normal hustle and bustle and most everyone is wearing masks, business is starting to feel a little more like usual with each passing week. We even made it to our first legislation deadline next Monday, when all nonexempt bill introductions by an individual are due.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 5 (Feb. 8-12): It was another fast and furious week in Topeka, as the Kansas Legislature raced to meet Friday’s deadline, when all nonexempt bills must be introduced. Committees that are exempt from legislative deadlines are: House and Senate Federal and State Affairs, Senate Ways and Means, Senate Assessment and Taxation, and House committees on Calendar and Printing, Appropriations, and Taxation. Friday’s deadline was the last one before Turnaround on March 5th.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 6 (Feb. 15-19): It was another fast and furious week in Topeka, as the Kansas Legislature raced to meet Friday’s deadline, when all nonexempt bills must be introduced. Committees that are exempt from legislative deadlines are: House and Senate Federal and State Affairs, Senate Ways and Means, Senate Assessment and Taxation, and House committees on Calendar and Printing, Appropriations, and Taxation. Friday’s deadline was the last one before Turnaround on March 5th.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 7 (Feb. 22-26): This was the last week for non-exempt committees to meet and complete their work for the first half of the legislative session. From legislation that would legalize medical marijuana to increasing the legal age for tobacco to 21 years, statehouse reporters were not lacking for headlines this week. The Kansas Attorney General also introduced a constitutional amendment that would completely overhaul the way Kansas agencies promulgate rules and regulations – which some media translated into an announcement for a gubernatorial run in 2022.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 8 (March 1-5): The Kansas Legislature adjourned for Turnaround break on Thursday and will return to Topeka on Wednesday, March 10. Both chambers completed their work for the first half of the session – the Senate on Wednesday and House on Thursday. No committees met, leaving all week for debating and passing legislation on the floor. Any non-exempt bills that haven’t passed the first house by yesterday are dead for this session.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 9 (March 8-12):  It was a short week as lawmakers returned to Topeka on Wednesday to start the second half of the 2021 Legislative Session. As legislators slowly eased back into committee work these past few days, next week is filling up quickly with dozens of hearings already scheduled. It’s typically after Turnaround break that we start to see a clear picture of what issues will stay in focus for the rest of the year. COVID-19 response and taxes seem to be topping that list.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 10 (March 15-19): As usual, the last two weeks of committee meetings are jam packed with back-to-back hearings, final action on bills, and more business on general orders in each chamber.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 11 (March 22-26): It was a frenzy of a week as committee chairs churned through bills and worked quickly to wrap up their business for the year. Next week, the House and Senate will be on the floor all of Monday through Wednesday, followed by a five-day weekend, then another few days of conference committees leading up to first adjournment currently scheduled for April 9.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

Week 12 (March 29-31): It was a quick few days in the Kansas Legislature. The House worked on Monday and Tuesday, passing 23 bills from their chamber. The Senate worked an extra day on Wednesday, passing 38 bills. Despite the short week, the Legislature took action on several key issues that have dominated much of this year’s discussions. This clears the path for final budget negotiations and any potential veto overrides that typically close out the legislative session.

FULL REPORT HERE

 

2020

Week 1 (Jan. 17): The 2020 Kansas Legislative Session kicked off on Monday with more steam than usual. More than 80 bills were introduced with several hearings on key issues already scheduled for next week. Committees were busy receiving reports from agency heads on various programs and settling into the rhythm of legislative session.

FULL REPORT

 

Week 2 (Jan. 24): Even with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, the Kansas Legislature had a full and eventful second week of the session. The quicker-than-usual pace continued as lawmakers didn’t wait to start work on several headliner topics like abortion, property taxes, and healthcare.

FULL REPORT 

 

Week 3 (Jan. 31): The biggest news this week was the Senate approving a constitutional amendment on abortion late Wednesday night. It managed to pass with only one amendment, which allows all registered voters to vote in the August primary election. The Senate vote was 28-12. The House is expected to debate the Senate’s amended resolution next week. Governor Kelly urged the House to reject the proposal in a press conference on Thursday.

FULL REPORT

 

Week 4 (Feb. 7): The Kansas Legislature was interrupted mid-week, when House and Senate leadership officially closed both chambers on Wednesday to allow members to attend the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade. Several committees still met, but most of Wednesday’s work has been rescheduled for next week.

Another curveball came on Thursday when the House initially failed to receive the 84 votes needed to approve SCR 1613, the Senate-passed constitutional amendment on abortion. Most were surprised when the tally came up 80-41, with four moderate Republicans voting against the measure. At the time of this report the House was still holding the final action vote open Friday afternoon, which indicates they remain at least a few votes short of the necessary 84 votes.

FULL REPORT

 

Week 5 (Feb. 14): This week began a standoff between Senate leadership and House moderate Republicans after the abortion constitutional amendment stalled last Friday. Medicaid expansion – and any bill amendable to the topic – is being held until the House reconsiders their vote and passes the abortion measure. The Senate Health Committee removed scheduled discussion and action on the Medicaid expansion bill from this week’s agenda, and neither Chamber considered any bills on the floor. In the meantime, Committees moved full speed ahead, holding hearings and passing out dozens of bills.

Today is the last day for bill introductions in non-exempt committees, and February 27 is Turnaround Day. There’s not much time left to get committee-passed bills across the floor before they’re dead for the year. It will be interesting to see how the next two weeks unfold.

FULL REPORT

 

Week 6 (Feb. 21): With the official halfway point in the session on the 27th, Monday is the last day for committees to meet and work bills. Each Chamber will be on the floor debating legislation until adjournment on Thursday, after which the Legislature will enjoy a fiveday break until March 4. All bills that have not been “blessed” or reside in non-exempt committees, and don’t pass their Chamber of Origin by the 27th, are considered dead for the year.

FULL REPORT

 

Week 7 (Feb. 28): The Kansas Legislature officially adjourned on Thursday, after completing the first half of the 2020 Legislative Session. While the Senate worked through 1:00 p.m., the House actually finished their business on Wednesday  and headed home early for a long six-day weekend.

House leadership “blessed” 37 bills before adjourning, ones that lawmakers didn’t have time to consider but want kept alive. All other non-exempt bills that did not pass out of their House of Origin this week are now considered dead for the year. Here is a list of committees that are exempt from the Turnaround deadline: House and Senate Tax, House and Senate Federal and State Affairs, House Appropriations, and Senate Ways and Means.

The Legislature is now enjoying a short break and will return to work on Wednesday, March 4. With Medicaid expansion and the constitutional amendment on abortion still at a deadlock, some are predicting another long and contentious spring.

FULL REPORT

 

Week 8 (March 6): The Kansas Legislature returned from their week-long recess on Wednesday to officially start the second half of the 2020 Legislative Session. Other than Budget and Tax, very few committees met; and only a handful of bills were on General Orders in the Senate. The Legislature was Pro Forma on Friday, making it a very quiet, two-day week.

FULL REPORT

2019 

Week 1: The Kansas Legislature gaveled in for the 2019 Legislative Session at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 14 and took off running. Typically, the first few days are slow as legislators settle into their offices. Week one, however, saw glimpses of fireworks that could set the tone for a complicated legislative session. Issues discussed include the state budget, federal tax windfall, sports wagering, and more.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: January 18

 

Week 2: With the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday and delayed start on Wednesday due to winter weather, it was a short and less eventful week in the Kansas Legislature. However, lawmakers are settling into their committees, bills are being introduced, and the chatter in the halls is growing. Drinking from a firehose, committees spent most of the week holding informational hearings surrounding the topics that are expected to headline the 2019 Session. From taxes to Medicaid expansion to K-12 funding, this week did see some movement worthy of report.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: January 25

 

Week 3: This week started off slow on Monday but quickly picked up pace surrounding two headliner issues of the 2019 Legislative Session. The Senate is now on its way to debate the “federal windfall” tax bill, and the Governor’s Medicaid expansion and budget bills have officially been introduced into committees.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: February 1

 

Week 4: With less than three weeks left before Turnaround – when bills must be passed by their original chamber – the pace is picking up in the Kansas Legislature. Both Chambers began considering legislation on their General Orders, several hot-topic bills were introduced, and hearings are quickly being added to committee calendars for next week.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: February 8

 

Week 5: With the official halfway point in the session nearing, today is the last day for bills to be introduced in non-exempt committees. All bills that have not passed their House of Origin by Turnaround on February 28 – or are not “blessed” to an exempt committee – are considered dead for the year. Over 190 bills were introduced this week in a mad rush to make today’s deadline.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: Feb. 15

 

Week 6: With the official halfway point in the session on the 28th, Monday is the last day for committees to meet and work non-exempt bills. Each Chamber will be on the floor debating legislation until adjournment on Thursday, after which the Legislature will enjoy a five-day break until March 6. With school funding, Medicaid expansion, and several key tax issues still unresolved, the second half of the session should be action-packed.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: Feb. 22

 

Week 7: The Kansas Legislature officially adjourned today, completing the first half of the 2018 Legislative Session.

After committees finished their business on Monday, both the House and Senate debated and passed over 60 bills on Tuesday and Wednesday before the Turnaround deadline. Over a dozen bills were “blessed” yesterday and more this morning, ones that lawmakers didn’t have time to consider but still want kept alive. All other non-exempt bills that did not pass out of their House of Origin by yesterday, are now considered dead for this year.

The Legislature is now enjoying a week break and will return to work on Wednesday, March 6. With Medicaid expansion and school finance issues still essentially untouched, some are predicting another long and contentious spring.

Here is a rundown of where the key bills that we’re tracking stand at the half.

Weekly Legislative Report: March 1

 

Week 8: The Kansas Legislature returned from their week-long recess on Wednesday to officially start the second half of the 2019 legislative session. Committees held several hearings and continued to work bills, but much focus was on this year’s central tax bill that was debated and passed by the House on Thursday. Otherwise, it was a short and relatively quiet week under the dome. 

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: March 8

Week 9: There’s no doubt that taxes, school finance, and transportation are among the central issues of the 2019 Kansas Legislative Session, and this week saw significant movement across the board. As important deadlines loom, committees were busy hearing and working bills – many with three to four hearings a day. They have one more week to complete their work before March 22 when all non-exempt committees are done meeting for the year.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: March 15

 

Week 10: It was a pivotal week in the Kansas Legislature. Committees passed out dozens of bills, the House unexpectedly debated and approved a Medicaid expansion bill, and the major tax package of the year was presented to the Governor. In typical fashion, things start to heat up by this point in the legislative session as deadlines approach.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: March 22

 

Week 11: It was a short and somewhat uneventful week in the Kansas Legislature. Yesterday was the last day for all non-exempt or “blessed” bills to be considered in either chamber, so the House and Senate spent Monday through Wednesday on the floor debating and passing dozens of bills.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: March 29

 

SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: President Scott and Shawn Naccarato meet at Block22 to discuss a variety of issues being debated and discussed in Topeka. 

 

Week 12: The Kansas Legislature left for Spring Break on Friday, officially adjourning the regular part of the 2019 legislative session. Lawmakers spent last week confirming cabinet secretaries and negotiating House and Senate positions in conference committees. Legislation was passed on several major issues of the year and heading to the Governor’s desk. The key to adjournment, however, was approving a K-12 funding response to the Kansas Supreme Court by the April 15 brief filing deadline.

FULL REPORT: Weekly Legislative Report: April 5

 

VETO SESSION PREVIEW: May 1