KS Legislature Wrap: Lawmakers advance bills on tobacco, gun safety, vaccines, education

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 4:32 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas lawmakers saw another busy day advancing many bills as they approach their First Adjournment April 6.

House Bill 2121, extending the suspension of speedy trials due to the pandemic, and House Bill 2269, raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21, made it through both chambers. They now head to the governor to sign.

The Senate also approved House Bill 2236, or the ‘Parent’s Bill of Rights’ bill, on final action.

Senators also advanced bills preventing schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccines (Senate Bill 314), implementing the NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun safety program in schools (House Bill 2304), and restricting health officials’ authority to issue orders (House Bill 2390).

After a recess, senators returned to advance several more bills. House Bill 2053 establishes a Presidential Primary Election for the 2024 election. House Bill 2138 requires school districts to keep transgender students from rooming with students of the gender they identify with and allows people to appeal against a school board’s decision to close a school. The appeal must be triggered by a petition which would then be brought to the State Board of Education. House Bill 2313 defines “born alive” fetuses as any fetus with a heartbeat, muscle movement or pulsation of the umbilical cord; and requires health care providers present at an attempted abortion to give it care regardless of the circumstance it was delivered. Senate Bill 50 prohibits social media companies from banning any political speech unless it qualifies as lewd, obscene or violent. House Bill 2141 would disqualify parents who miss child support payments from food assistance programs. House Bill 2016 establishes penalties for disability access litigation determined to be abusive. Senate Bill 315 would require schools and childcare facilities to grant vaccine exemptions without inquiring into the sincerity of the request and remove the meningitis vaccine requirement by public universities for students living on campus.

The House spent most of the morning debating the state budget, or Senate Bill 42. They eventually passed the proposal despite some representatives asserting more deliberation was required.

The House advanced several more bills, including its substitute for Senate Bill 169, the proposal for a single income tax rate and immediate elimination of the food sales tax. Senate Bill 209 changes the deadline for advance ballots to 7 p.m. Election Day, rather than three days later. House Bill 2416 provides a sales tax exemption for certain purchases by Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ, Inc. and not-for-profits designated by the Secretary for Aging and Disability Services. Senate Bill 180 legally defines males and females biologically, and allows those distinctions to be made for governmental objectives. House Bill 2439 requires medical providers to inform people undergoing drug-induced abortions they can still change their minds. House Bill 2412 would remove state fees to obtain or renew a conceal-carry license. House Bill 2140 implements work requirements for certain food assistance registrants ages 50 through 59 without dependents.

The Senate-House Conference Committee on Senate Bill 83, one of the State education budget proposals, will meet Wednesday at 9 a.m. to further work the bill.