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November 29, 2015
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Legislative Update

Important Legislative Update

Today the House and Senate were on the floor all day, working bills, debating bills, and voting on bills. It was a busy day that truly revealed where many Kansas Legislators stand on certain issues.

This morning HB2391 made its way to the floor. If you recall HB2391 was a bill that deals with moving many state employees from classified to unclassified positions. The bill states that any new position the State of Kansas offers must be a unclassified position, and it also gives power to agencies heads to move current positions from classified to unclassified. What this means is that many state employees will be moved from classified to unclassified, and all new positions must be unclassified. This is very worrisome because unclassified positions do not have civil service protections and the same benefits as classified. It’s also worrisome because employees who hold unclassified positions can be fired, whenever and for no reason. This also opens the door to a patronage system based not off merit, but partisanship.

There were several amendments offered to HB2391. The first amendment was offered by Representative Alcala which was to give all state employees one extra discretionary day off, he stated that currently state employees only have one discretionary day off. Representative Alcala’s amendment would bring that total to 2 discretionary days. This amendment did not pass.

The second amendment was offered by Representative Carmichael, his amendment had to deal with reinstituting the anti discrimination policy for all state employees. If you recall Governor Brownback in February repealed an executive order that gave anti discrimination protections to state employees based on sexuality, and gender identity. Brownback stated that the reason why he did this was because it was not his offices authority to implement this law, but instead is the duty of the legislature. This is why Representative Carmichael brought forth this amendment. This amendment was brought to question on the basis if it was germane. Unfortunately the House Rules Committee stated that the amendment was not germane. It makes no logical sense to why this amendment was found not germane. What is not germane about adding protections for state employees into a statute about protections for state employees? This truly shows the “values” of some legislatures when they wont even allow a anti discrimination amendment come to a vote.

The debate continued with several Representatives bringing up key points. Representative Tietze questioned the key sponsor of the bill, Representative Davis, over her statements of moving from classified to unclassified status as “voluntary”. Representative Tietze clearly showed that this measure is not voluntary. She pointed out that just because someone can quit their job or not accept the job over the status of the position does not make it “voluntary”. Representative Curtis also raised several key points that this measure is going to open the door to partisan politics, and a patronage system.

Unfortunately the measure passed. The final vote count was 71-53.

Later in the HB2096 came to the Senate floor. If you recall HB2096 is SB179 and SB212 combined. HB2096 now would outlaw any voluntary paycheck deductions - period. All voluntary deductions from paychecks for public workers would be outlawed. That includes deductions to their unions and even to charities. HB2096 also severely restricts collectively bargaining for public sector unions and completely gets rid of the arbitration process. Governor Brownback and some Kansas legislators want to stop public employees from raising workplace concerns and deny them many of the benefits and protections they deserve.

There was also an amendment offered to HB2096. Senator Love proposed an amendment that would allow some paycheck deductions, but only to non-profits and charities. Senator Holland had several questions in regards to Love’s amendment. He asked why Union deductions were being singled out? Senator Holland stated, “We talk about freedom, but we are meddling with whom people can conduct business with”. He also stated that it’s not correct to discriminate against certain organizations on who can receive paycheck deductions. When Senator Love’s amendment came to a vote it did not pass.

The bill has been “passed over” for now. What this means is that final action has not been taken, but it most likely will at some point.

We will keep you updated.

Copyright © 2015 Working Kansas Alliance / Kansas Coalition for Workplace Safety, All rights reserved.
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Olathe PD Web Messaging

Police add web messaging

Olathe police are starting a web-based communication system that allows them to send messages to citizens.

Many other police departments, governments and agencies nationwide have adopted the new Nixle system in the last two years, but few in the metropolitan area use it, Olathe police say.

Olathe now does, as do the police departments in Merriam and Lee’s Summit, said Olathe Police Sgt. John Roland.

“We want to invite everyone and anyone,” he said. “It’s a great tool and we’re excited about it.”

People can register for the service at

They can get messages on such things as critical incidents, wanted persons, crime trends and missing and endangered persons.

There are four different types of messages: alerts, advisories, community messages and traffic advisories, Roland said.

Alerts are items that may require some action, such as staying indoors or looking for someone. Advisory items are “want to know” informative items and community messages about things like crime prevention tips and law enforcement events.

Messages related to a specific neighborhood can be targeted for those registered within a quarter mile radius, or messages can be sent citywide.

The information can be received online and by e-mail for free or on mobile phones as part of text messaging plans. They system is simple to use and there are no junk messages, Roland said.

For more information, go to and click FAQs on the bottom of the page, or call Roland at 913-971-6728.

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