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Hornet Statehouse Buzz Feb. 11, 2022

Week 5 of the Statehouse Buzz

February 11, 2022 — Week 5

The House passed an amended APEX bill to attract a mystery company to Kansas. It was quickly passed by the Senate without changes and Governor Kelly signed the bill into law. Commerce Secretary Jeff Toland has already submitted the proposed bid to see if Kansas lands the company. There was a healthy debate about the bill in the House, reflecting concerns about tax incentives and why the state should give so much for economic development for the mystery company.

Higher ed was on the docket for the week as budget hearings begin for state universities, community colleges and tech schools in the House Higher Ed Budget committee. Interim President Ken Hush testified before the committee on Thursday, February 10 and presented a strong case for ESU as an economic driver for the state of Kansas as well as fo4r what we represent in Kansas higher education. I wanted to thank President Hush, Diana Kuhlmann, Kelly Heine, and Angela Wolgram for their hard work on the presentation, a true team effort. I also would like to thank all the individuals and departments who responded and gave data to the list of questions the Budget committee asked. On February 17, President Hush will testify before the Senate Ways and Means committee’s subcommittee on higher education and will speak along with the other university presidents before the House Appropriations committee the same day.

The Buzz this week?

  • Three regents recently sent back to committee by the Senate for further questioning had hearings in the Senate Education committee this past week. Carl Ice, Cynthia Lane and Wint Winter were all sent on to the full Senate, but only Carl Ice was endorsed by the committee. It is likely all three will pass the Senate, but maybe with some close votes for Lane and Winter. The committee was concerned with political action on the part of Winter as well as Lane’s support as a superintendent for the K-12 court case which has pushed a lot of higher education funding to the back burner since the Supreme Court determined Kansas education funding was not constitutional.
  • Senator Caryn Tyson (R-Parker) proposed a bill to cut the 1.5 state mill levy for the educational building fund and to make the EBF part of the state general fund. This is opposed by all the universities and KBOR, but it receives a hearing on Wednesday, February 16 in the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee, which Tyson chairs.
  • ESU’s sale of the Earl Center has a bill number (HB 2600) and has been introduced. We will be following that bill through the process. A new land sale bill to allow the state agencies to keep the profits of sales of buildings donated or gifted to the university (SB 450) has a hearing in Jeff Longbine’s Insurance committee on Tuesday, February 15. ESU supports the passage of that bill which will be combined with an earlier bill (SB 332) which amended a law to take 80% of state real property sales out of KPERs and to allow agencies to keep the money for their agencies.

As usual, if I may be of assistance, please contact me at

That’s the buzz this week!