Kansas State legislative update for Feb. 18 highlights key dates, bills

(Graphic by Marshall Sunner | Collegian Media Group)

On Friday, Feb. 18, Sue Peterson, chief government relations officer and assistant to the president of Kansas State, led a legislative update session through Zoom. During the session, she presented bills from the House and Senate and discussed the potential impact passage of those bills might have on Kansas State.

Peterson began the session with an update to the legislative session calendar. She noted both the House and Senate committee schedules are shorter since the committees only met on Monday and spent Tuesday through Thursday on the House and Senate floors debating their respective bills.

Peterson reviewed House and Senate bills affecting higher education. She highlighted each bill and its potential impact.

HB 2498 is a bill currently only applicable to K-12. If passed, the bill will prohibit the secretary of health and environment from making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for school attendance. Peterson said while the bill does not apply to higher education, in the past, such bills have eventually involved higher education in some way.

“In the meetings over the last several years, lots of times like this, the bill may not be introduced and related to higher ed,” Peterson said, “but ends up higher ed getting involved and getting added in some way, shape or form down the road.”

As a result, Peterson said she is keeping an eye on the bill.

One bill with a potential impact on K-State is Senate Bill 441. On Friday, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee heard the bill. If passed, it impacts laboratory reporting transparency. Cheryl Doerr, associate vice president for research and compliance, and David Rosowsky, vice president for research, submitted written testimony raising several concerns about the bill. However, according to the Governmental Relations website, the bill passed from the committee to the Senate floor.

Peterson said President Linton presented to the House Higher Education Committee this past week, as did all other higher education entities in the state. The committee made final action decisions on the budget recommendations on Monday.

Legislative review sessions are held at noon every Friday through Zoom. Anyone with a KSU eID and password can attend the sessions. Access is available through the Zoom link on the Governmental Relations website.

Additional information, including a list of legislative hearings for the current week and access to the Kansas Legislature committee meetings, is also available through the website.