The big issues you should know about
The big issues you should know about

Highlights from the Kansas House 

The KS House heard 33 bills on the floor last Wednesday and 32 more on Thursday.  This week is "turnaround," a deadline in which bills must move from their chamber of origin (House or Senate) and move across the rotunda to the opposite chamber for approval there. In the House, we passed legislation covering everything from requiring all advance voting ballots to be returned by 7 pm on election day, funding our state’s water plan, veterans and military issues, parent’s rights bill,  the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, and allowing dogs at microbreweries.  See how I voted on last week's House bills.

Improvements to Health dept. budgets

I have always led the effort to improve funding for intellectually and developmentally disabled Kansans. In our House Social Services Committee last week, we heard testimony on HB 2330  to update the funding formula allocations for county health departments. This is one step to improve the way funds are distributed from county health departments. We'll vote on this soon and continue our work to prioritize social services benefits for Kansans most in need.
Rep. Donohoe in Education Committee

Parents' Bill of Rights passes through Education committee

By now, you’ve probably all heard about activist educators around the country making national news by pushing a woke ideological agenda instead of an actual education for our children. While I don’t think this is the norm for our KS teachers, parents do need a path to address these issues if they arise. Our House Education Committee passed HB 2236, the Parents' Bill of Rights, which now goes to the House floor for a vote. The bill would establish a parent's right to direct the education, upbringing and moral or religious training of their children including the right to object to harmful and inappropriate educational materials. This Parents' Rights bill reinforces that parents are the ultimate authority when it comes to their child’s education and upbringing.  I voted Yes.

Education funding doesn't consider outcomes

Another recent discussion in our Education committee, we heard testimony on HB 2223, a bill that removes the 2024 sunset and extends the weighting for funding of at-risk students (those who qualify for free and reduced lunch) to 2025. This was established in the Gannon court decision, which dictated funding for K-12 education and additional funding for these at-risk students.

I asked if the Gannon decision also provided outcomes expectations for this additional funding, and the answer was no. So while we want to support all students, and those considered at-risk, we should also address the outcomes of those students. Some school districts have a very high percentage of at-risk students, so this is a key piece of the funding puzzle. More consideration is needed, not just for this bill, but for the 14,000+ at-risk students in Kansas who receive additional funding and services. If the outcomes in their assigned school are not good, their families also deserve options to attend the school of their choice, in order to improve their child's academic outcomes and success in education. See the recent information below on low-income student outcomes, and read the full report.
KS students reading scores fall behind KS students reading scores fall behind

Fairness in Women's Sports Act passes House

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act passed in the Kansas House with slim, bipartisan support. From here, it will move to the Senate for approval and to Governor Kelly’s desk. 

In her re-election campaign ads, Gov. Laura Kelly said the following: “So let me just say it: Of course, men should not play girls’ sports. OK. We all agree on that.”  We all suspect the Governor was playing word games in that ad, but she will soon have an opportunity to show Kansans that she means what she says by allowing this bill to become law.   

If HB 2238 becomes law it will protect the rights of female athletes in the state by requiring that female student athletic teams only include members who are biologically female. Title IX was designed to stop discrimination and create equal athletic opportunities for women. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act ensures we’re not moving backwards on 50 years of advances for female athletes. I voted Yes.

Other bills of note: 

SB33/HB 2282 - Eliminating taxes on retirement and social security. Republicans are leading the way to tax relief for Kansans at or near retirement with our proposals to eliminate all social security benefits from Kansas income tax. 
As I stated in my campaign, I believe that one should not have to worry about the tax burden when they are planning to retire. SB 33 furthers that goal by expanding the Kansas individual income tax exemption for Social Security benefits to include all federally taxable Social Security benefits beginning in the tax year 2023. The bill would exempt all federally taxable income received under all retirement plans beginning in tax year 2024. The Senate bill also helps Kansans who use the standard deduction by increasing the Kansas individual income tax standard deduction amounts annually by the cost of living adjustment (COLA). I look forward to supporting a similar House bill when it comes to a vote.

HB 2376
- Prohibiting any restrictive covenant that violates the Kansas act against discrimination
and authorizing the removal of such covenants from existing documents, and prohibiting city or county laws prohibiting discrimination that are more restrictive than state law. This bill makes racially restrictive covenants on property void and unenforceable. I voted Yes to prohibit such racial discrimination.

HB2056 - Ensuring Absentee Ballots are Required to Arrive by 7:00 pm Voting Day
This bill requires all advance voting ballots to be returned by 7 p.m. on election day. The majority of the Democrats opposed this legislation, even though thirty-one states in our nation either require ballots to arrive by 7 pm on Election Day or have tighter restrictions than Kansas law. This bill strengthens confidence in Kansas election law and further safeguards our elections. There is simply no reason we should be accepting ballots that arrive days after election day, especially when those envelopes often lack a post mark showing when they were mailed. I voted Yes.

All bills being considered by various House of Representatives committees are detailed here.

Follow me for latest updates

Regularly, or as significant news happens, I will be posting information in this newsletter, so please share it with your neighbors so they can sign up here. You can also follow me on my Facebook page. Please follow those updates here.  As always, you may contact me with any questions or concerns at