by Dena K. Hubbard, MD, FAAP
The Kansas 2021 legislative session concluded May 9th. Next activity will be on Sine Die Session May 26th to override vetoes and elect a new Senate Majority Leader. There was a limited amount of action in the healthcare field at the conclusion of the 2021 session, but it was still scarier than any horror film including attacks on LBGQT youth, protecting rights to gun ownership over rights of victims of domestic violence, and loosening regulations for out of state healthcare professionals beyond time of COVID.
During the next 7 months before the 2022 legislative session is a great time to begin or continue building relationships with your decision makers. There is so much at stake. While Medicaid expansion wasn’t strongly debated this year, there were provisions within the federal legislation for COVID that would have made it economically beneficial to expand Medicaid. I would encourage you to engage with KAAP and our partners including local medical societies to make our voices and expertise heard for science, public health, and health and well-being of children.
See below for a brief update from the conclusion of the 2021 session.
Please reach out if you have comments, questions, concerns related to specific policy or building your advocacy toolbox. Thanks for all you do!
The Governor vetoed SB 55 requiring gender confirmation for transgender athletes who wish to participate in female sporting events. However, this bill had passed the Senate and the House. The Senate failed to override the veto by only 1 vote! This demonstrates the importance of 1 person making a difference!
The Governor also vetoed HB 2089 allowing schools to provide gun training in schools utilizing an NRA education program. The House failed in a last-minute effort to override the veto. Unfortunately, the Governor’s veto of HB 2058 was overridden by both the Senate and the House. This bill includes reciprocity for out of state conceal carry permit holders and authorizes attorney general to issue an alternative license to carry a concealed handgun to qualified applicants during a declared state of disaster emergency. And it was amended to create a provisional conceal carry license for 18–20-year-olds! Also amended to include SB 190 creating the Kansas protection of firearm rights acts to restore the right to possess a firearm upon expungement of certain convictions. The bill to require relinquishment of firearms for individuals convicted of domestic violence did not pass.
Healthcare Bills Signed
Some of the legislation enacted to help during the pandemic appears to be hanging around. That could be good for things like telehealth but may be twisted to mobilize scope of practice legislation in attempts to allow non-physicians to practice independently.
The Senate equivalent to HB 2208 was signed by the Governor and certified community behavioral health clinics creation; enacting the rural emergency hospital act to provide for the licensure of rural emergency hospitals; telemedicine waivers for out-of-state healthcare providers; reducing certain requirements for licensure by the behavioral sciences regulatory board and expanding out-of-state temporary permits to practice behavioral sciences professions. HB 2066 was also signed which expands the military spouse and servicemember’s expedited licensure law to applicants intending to establish residency in Kansas.
Medical marijuana was passed by the House, but not the Senate, will be available for a hearing in 2022. Short-term limited duration health plans SB 29 and formerly SB 199 (non-ACA compliant) passed both chambers, but will likely be vetoed and unlikely to be overridden. To top off the many months of COVID-19, the legislature included two provisos to the budget to restrict government entities from issuing vaccine passports and contact tracing.
On a good note, four child welfare and safety bills were bundled together in conference committee and passed Senate and House (with 0 nays!) and was headed to the Governor. This included Adrian’s Law requiring visual observation by DCF or law enforcement of alleged abuse victims.