March 9, 2012
On Thursday, the Kansas Legislature passed House Resolution 6014 to recognize mothers and families of military members of all branches of service who have given their lives in the line of duty. It is always vital that we remember and honor those who paid the highest price for the freedom and liberty we all cherish. It is equally right to recognize the huge sacrifice that family members give.
As we honor parents of our service members, it is also important to remember our veterans as we approach “Cessation of Hostilities” day which is in recognition of the end of the Vietnam War. And just as the House did last year, the Senate will soon recognize and honor all Vietnam Veterans. Those Vietnam Veterans wishing to be recognized are invited to attend the Senate Session which will take place on March 30th.
To also recognize the service of men who have been forgotten by our country, the State passed the Kansas Vietnam Era Veterans Medallion Program aimed at providing an opportunity for Kansans to pay tribute to Kansas Heroes.
If you know a Vietnam Veteran you want to honor, please call my office at 785.291.3500 and we will be able to help you with the necessary paperwork to recognize your veteran.
On Wednesday night, Senator Apple and I met with parents, providers, and stakeholders of the state’s Medicaid program to discuss the changes coming as a result of the Governor’s ERO and the bids for managed care companies. We had a very productive conversation with Secretary Sullivan of Aging and Secretary Mosier of Health and Environment to give the audience more detail of how the changes coming to the program will affect families in our district.
The two department heads emphasized the importance of patients being able to keep their own case manager. They have established working relationships with their case managers and want to see that relationship preserved. The other area of concern was the length of time it would take for insurance companies to pay providers. The RFP required the insurance companies to comply with a 30 day reimbursement policy which is critical for the cash flow of providers. We had a great exchange of questions and answers. It is extremely important that we make sure that the families’ primary focus, which is to ensure services are not lost or cut, be fact.
As the Governor’s administration continues through the process of negotiations with managed care organizations, I continue to explain our concerns for Lakemary and remind them of the great work being done there. Each year, more than 500 individuals with developmental disabilities are cared for by the folks at Lakemary providing the critical services necessary so everyone might have the tools necessary to live a happy and productive life.
Changes were made to how Medicaid will recoup costs from those who have life insurance policies but had no income while they were living to pay for medical expenses. The individual had non-liquid assets which were unable to cover the cost of medical treatment. This bill does two things and both are right. First it would allow Medicaid to collect some of the insurance policy to reimburse taxpayers who provided for the free medical care. Then the remainder of the policy value would then be transferred to the family or heirs in the will of the deceased. That fulfills the earnest desire that we all share, and that is to provide for our family.
Candidate Citizen Requirement
After the legislature passed the requirement for new voters to display citizenship documentation, the House discovered candidates for office did not have to follow the same requirement. The House has taken up a bill which would add language to the Kansas SAFE Act to ensure candidates for office must produce the same documentation voters are required to do. This bill seems to just make sense. If it’s good for voters, it’s good for candidates.
Current Kansas law does not allow restaurants and bars to change what they charge for drinks during the day. Once a price is set for alcohol for the day it cannot be changed which is called “happy days.” Allowing a “happy hour” will help Kansas business owners to compete with counterparts in Missouri. Mothers Against Drunk Driving was neutral on the bill because they agree that a happy hour is better than all day discounted drinks.
Paola Robotics Club
The Paola Robotics Club proudly represented Miami County in the Kansas City Regional for FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) last weekend. When I stopped by to see them, they were hopeful that they could go on to win the competition. I was thrilled to learn that they received the Chairman’s Award, which is the top honor in the competition of 64 teams! The team first competed in 2003 and have been awarded over 20 trophies, including now 6 Regional Chairman’s Awards. While this was an impressive win, their work is not over as they will now travel to St. Louis at the end of April to compete in the National Tournament. Congratulations to Panther Robotics!
Next week the House will be taking up the tax plan with debate on the House floor. There are several proposed amendments which would drastically change what we debate. At this point, it is hard to tell you exactly what might come of the proposal. The core principles I will look for in any tax reform proposal are: First, can we afford it? Second, does it encourage job growth in the state? Third, is it fair to all taxpayers regardless of economic status? As the House continues its debate, I will keep you updated on the changes.
If there is anything you need or a question I can answer, please let me know by phone at 785.291.3500 or email at email@example.com