Governor Signs Bill Establishing Military Service Scholarship Program

To help Kansas soldiers who have returned from military service pursue their educational goals, Governor Kathleen Sebelius has signed a bill enacting the Military Service Scholarship Program.

“These scholarships honor the sacrifices that soldiers have made while protecting our country,” Sebelius said. “This program will ensure that our service men and women have the resources to succeed in college. This is an important investment in their future, and a great way for us to thank them for their service.”

SB 487 allows ROTC institutions to award scholarships to Kansas soldiers who have returned from military service and are enrolled at community colleges.

Under this program, the State Board of Regents will approve a memorandum of understanding between the board of trustees of the community college and the chief executive officer of the ROTC institution prior to the awarding of any scholarships. $500,000 has been set aside from the State General Fund for the Military Service Scholarship Program. This bill goes into effect after its publication in the statute book.

Governor Sebelius signed an additional nine bills today, bringing the total number of bills signed during the 2008 Legislative Session to 121, with three having been vetoed.

Concerning crimes, punishment and criminal procedure

SB 430 makes the crime of aggravated criminal threat a severity level 5, person felony, regardless of economic loss. Previously, the level of aggravated criminal threat was based upon different levels of economic damage.

Kansas Parole Board suitability factors

SB 411 adds three factors to the list of factors considered by the Kansas Parole Board when making determinations regarding parole suitability. The three new factors are: risk factors revealed by any risk assessment of the inmate; recommendations by the staff of the facility where the inmate is incarcerated; and proportionality of the time the inmate has served to the sentence a person would receive under the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines for the conduct that resulted in the inmate’s incarceration.

Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS)

SB 404 requires KAMS pupils to pay tuition in addition to fees. For pupils enrolled in a Kansas school district, the tuition and fees would be paid by the school district in which the pupil is enrolled but would not exceed the total of an amount equal to the current base state aid per pupil. At least three-fourths of the total number of pupils enrolled in KAMS will be Kansas residents, with 20 pupils selected on a congressional district basis, with no more than five pupils from each of the four congressional districts and 20 other pupils on a state-wide basis. This bill requires that a school district sending a pupil to KAMS would not receive school finance weightings or the amount of local option budget attributable to the pupil.

Establishing the Kansas Housing Loan Deposit program

SB 387 establishes the Kansas Housing Loan Deposit program, effective until July 1, 2011, which provides $60.0 million in allowable loans to eligible lending institutions.

Regarding fees when one fails to appear in court

SB 366 authorizes a district or municipal court to charge an additional fee of $5 for mailing written notice that failure to appear in district court or municipal court or pay all fines, court costs, and any penalties within 30 days of the notice will result in the Division of Vehicles being notified to suspend the person’s driver’s license.

Concerning the Governmental Accountability Law

SB 316 expands the Kansas Governmental Accountability Law (K-GOAL) to provide accountability for any state agency or state program. Each state agency or program would be subject to audit, review, and evaluation under K-GOAL as determined by the Legislative Post Audit Committee. The Committee would direct the Post Auditor to conduct at least four audits each year under K-GOAL. Also enacted is the Taxpayer Transparency Act, which requires the Secretary of Administration to create a searchable website for certain state and local revenue and expenditure information. The bill also creates the Public Finance Transparency Board to provide advice and consultation to the Secretary regarding implementation of the Act. The bill also creates the Kansas Performance Measurement Commission. This commission is authorized to contract with a private consultant to design a performance measurement management system for the State.

Regarding public retirement plans

SB 309 removes a June 30, 2008 sunset date for an exemption in the KPERS law regarding working after retirement.

Regarding general bond law and exceptions

SB 239 allows a city to issue up to $2 million in certain municipal bond sales before a published notice of sale is required. The bill also creates a requirement for bonds that are to be sold at private sale to publish, in advance of the sale, a notice of intent to seek private placement of such bonds in a newspaper.

Concerning nomination procedures for appointments

SB 21 amends provisions of statutes relating to positions that are appointed by the Governor, subject to Senate confirmation, to make clear that the individual does not have authority to exercise any power, duty or function until confirmed by the senate, or the senate confirmation committee.

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