Budget to the Governor

NEIGHBORS:

The Legislature wrapped up its business on the 113th day of the session. The last item of business – the 2018-19 budget – is on its way to the Governor’s desk. Details below.

2018-19 Budget info

House and Senate conferees agreed to a budget of $6.38 billion from our state general fund for fiscal year 2018. (FYI, $6.3 billion was the approved amount for fiscal year 2017 as well.) Here are just a few of the budget items you may find interesting:

  • Delays some KPERS employer contribution payments for 2019, with a provision to repay them over time. 2018 KPERS payments are made.
  • Provides a 2.5 percent adjustment for all State employees with less than five years of Service – Except: Highway Patrol Law Enforcement Personnel, Legislators, Teachers and Licensed Personnel and Employees at the Schools for the Deaf and Blind, employees at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation who are part of the Recruitment and Retention Plan; and other Statewide Elected Officials. A 5.0 percent adjustment for State Employees who have not had a pay adjustment in
    five years. A 2.5 percent adjustment for Judges and Non-Judicial Staff in FY 2018.
  • Opens at least 20 additional beds for patients at Osawatomie State Hospital. If the facility cannot open the beds at Osawatomie State Hospital, the funding is to be used to enter into a contract to provide patient beds through third-party facilities for FY 2018.
  • Add $1.0 million in both 2018 and 2019 for domestic violence
    prevention grant matching funds above the Governor’s recommendation.
  • Eliminate the securitization of tobacco proceeds the Governor recommended in his budget, and delete $34.5 million in State
    General Fund expenditures and $7.2 million from Temporary Assistance for Kansas Legislative Research Department 3 June 10, 2017
    Needy Families (TANF) to restore expenditures from the Children’s Initiatives Fund. Bottom line is this takes the Children’s Fund money back out of the general fund into the special account where it can be better secured. Good news for kids!
  • Declined to require all K12 schools to use the same health insurance plan and declined to require all school districts to do their procurement through the state agency, as proposed by the Governor.
  • Provides a 3.0 percent rate increase for providers of Home and
    Community Based Services under each of the waivers for FY 2018.
  • Adds $1.0 million for safety net clinics for FY 2018 over the Governor’s recommendation; adds $11.0 million for Community Mental Health Centers in 2018 and $2 million more in 2019 over the Governor’s recommendation; and adds $1.5 million, for the Senior Care Act over the Governor’s recommendation. This will go a long way to restore the holes torn in our safety net services the last few years.
  • Restores the 4% funding that was taken from KU and K-State budgets last year.
  • Didn’t support the combining of the Board of Cosmetology and the Board of Barbering, as proposed by the Governor.
  • KDOT can issue up to $400 million in bonds in the next two years to be used exclusively for highway maintenance and repair.
  • Appropriates $1.2 million for funding of the state water plan.
  • Authorizes up to $7 million for Medicaid care of children in out-of-state hospitals that contract with KanCare managed care organizations.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Child Welfare Task Force

While waiting for the budget to finalize, other bills were also sent to the Governor for his consideration. One of the most interesting was House Substitute for SB 126. It requires the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families to set up a Child Welfare System Task Force. The Task Force would be required to study the child welfare system in Kansas by convening working groups addressing DCF’s general administration of child welfare, protective services, family preservation, reintegration, foster care, and permanency placement. The required topics would include, but not be limited to, the following:

● The level of oversight and supervision by the DCF over each entity that contracts with DCF to provide reintegration, foster care, and adoption  services;
● The duties, responsibilities, and contributions of state agencies, nongovernmental entities, and service providers that provide child welfare
services in the State of Kansas;
● The level of access to child welfare services, including health and mental health services and community-based services, in the State of Kansas;
● The increasing number of children in the child welfare system and contributing factors;
● The licensing standards for case managers working in the child welfare system; and
● Any other topic the Task Force or working group deems necessary or appropriate.

The Task Force would be required to report progress to the Legislature in January 2018 and produce a final report by January 2019. They must report on:

● Recommended improvements regarding the safety and well-being of children in the child welfare system in the State of Kansas;
● Recommended changes to current law, rules and regulations, and child welfare system processes;and
● Whether an ongoing task force or similar advisory or oversight entity consisting of legislators, attorneys in the area of family law, judges, foster parents, parents with reintegrated children, and other interested parties would aid in addressing child welfare concerns and any other topics the Task Force deems appropriate.

For those of you who have dealt with the foster care system in our state, you may agree this is long overdue.