Senator Elaine Bowers 2023 Senate Scene Week 7


Friday marked a critical deadline known as “turnaround,” marking the official halfway point for the 2023 Legislative session.  It was a busy week for the Senate, as we spent two full days debating and voting on and passing out over 30 bills ahead of the Turnaround deadline.  To date – there have been 260 Senate bills introduced and 62 bills sent to the House.  After being on the floor all day Wednesday and Thursday, the Legislature will break until March 1st to give clerical staff time to process the significant amount of paperwork resulting from this week.  By “turnaround,” a bill, with few exceptions, must have passed its Chamber of origin in order to be considered by the other Chamber before session is over for the year.  When the Senate returns on Wednesday, the legislature is scheduled to meet for another month before our April recess.  We will then return for a brief period to consider any vetoes prior to final adjournment.  The focus for the next month will be to consider bills passed by the House Chamber and bills exempt from the Turnaround deadline.  Under legislative rules, most bills must be adopted by one chamber in order to be considered by the other chamber.  The major item we must complete prior to adjournment is passing the budget.

FIRST BILL TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK – Capitol Preservation Committee

SB 11 will authorize the placement of a life-size version of the “Ad Astra” sculpture on state capitol grounds, transferring the approval authority to the Capitol Preservation Committee.  This 8’2” tall statue is located in Salina at the artist’s studio, Bergen Studios, where it has been stored for the last 20+ years.  The artist Richard Bergen passed away in 2020.  His son Rich, also an artist, worked on the statue with his father and will help with the statue installation plus the installation of over 2600 bricks with donor’s names also stored at the studio.  Plans were drawn for the Ad Astra Plaza on the west side of the Capitol during the renovation with a pedestal made specifically for the smaller version.  The 22’ Ad Astra statue was added on the top of the dome in October 2002.  Over the years, the smaller statue was overlooked and lost with committee changes.  Now following the House vote (122-0 this week made the legislative vote unanimous – the earlier Senate vote of 39-0), fund raising can begin in earnest to place the sculpture on its base which has been waiting for Ad Astra since 2002.

FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK– February 20th – 24th

SB 8 reduces penalties for the late filing of and the failure to file personal property renditions and the discovery of escaped personal property.  SB 8 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 37 expands the transferability of income, privilege, and premium tax credits issued under the Kansas housing investor tax credit act.  SB 37 passed 35-4. I voted yes.

SB 83 addresses providing additional student eligibility under the tax credit for low income student’s scholarship program.  SB 83 passed 22-16.  I voted yes.

SB 233 would create the Kansas Child Mutilation Prevention Act (Act).  The bill would allow an individual who had gender reassignment service performed as a child to bring a civil cause of action and establish the statute of limitations for such cause of action.  The provisions of the Act would not apply if the child was born with a medically verifiable disorder of sex development, as defined in the bill.  SB 233 passed 26-11.  I voted yes.

SB 174 would amend the crime of interfering with law enforcement and would include knowingly fleeing from a law enforcement officer who has reason to stop the person under continuing law in the Kansas Code of Criminal Procedure.  SB 174 passed 32-6.  I voted yes.

SB 217 would amend various statutes in Kansas law to shield people from the crime of stalking by adding to any electronic tracking system (air tags).  SB 217 passed 40-0.  I voted yes. 

SB 180 would establish the Women’s Bill of Rights and provide a meaning of biological sex for purposes of statutory construction.  SB 180 passed 26-10.  I voted yes.

SB 221 requires affidavits of write-in candidacy for certain locally elected offices and providing requirements for counting write-in votes on ballots.  This bill was created to save election officials countless hours in having to count silly write-in names like “Mickey Mouse” for certain offices where the votes would have no impact on the result.  SB 221 passed 29-7.  I voted yes.

SB 144 exempts satellite service and video programming services accessed over the internet from the video competition act.  SB 144 passed 32-6.  I voted yes.

SB 91 would enact the Kansas film and digital media industry production development act, providing a tax credit, sales tax exemption and loans and grants to incentivize film, video and digital media production in Kansas.  SB 91 passed 28-7.  I voted yes.

SB 6 restricts the authority of the secretary of health and environment and local health officers to issue orders and quarantines, such as the ability to restrict public gatherings.  SB 6 passed 22-18.  I voted no – the Department of Agriculture has concerns with the proposed limitations including avian bird flu and hoof and mouth disease which could be transmitted to humans from animals.  There will more discussion on this agriculture topic if the bill has a hearing in the House.

Senate Sub SB 232 establishes the office of the child advocate as an independent state agency.  The Child Advocate would be established as the independent head of the Office of Child Advocate.  The Child Advocate would be appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the Senate.  Sub SB 232 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 219 would amend the Health Care Provider Insurance Availability Act to add facilities where elective abortions are performed to the list of entities that are not healthcare providers as defined in the bill, which would make such facilities ineligible to purchase professional liability insurance from the Health Care Stabilization Fund.  SB 219 passed 26-12.  I voted yes.

SB 5 prohibits the prescribing of drugs intended to cause an abortion using telemedicine and restricting the governor’s power during a state of emergency to alter such prohibitions.  SB 5 passed 27-12.  I voted yes.

SB 96 would create the Pregnancy Resource Act (Act), which would provide for a tax credit for contributions to nonprofit pregnancy centers or residential maternity centers exempt from federal income tax pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code.  SB 96 passed 28-11.  I voted yes.

SB 208 would prohibit the use of remote ballot boxes for the return of advance voting.  An amendment removed all ballots in the state including a box located at county courthouses.  I voted no.  Local comments have been positive on ballot boxes in rural areas and particularly the one box located at county courthouses in our rural district.  SB 208 passed 21-19.

SB 3 designates Silvisaurus condrayi, a one-ton armored ankylosaur that walked across Kansas during the late Cretaceous period, as the official state land fossil.  This fossil was discovered in Ottawa County in 1955 by Warren Condray.  Students across the state watched on the legislative YouTube station as the Senate heard the bill on the Senate floor.  SB 3 passed 40-0.  I voted yes. 

SB 195 authorizes the children’s cabinet to form a 501(c)(3) for fundraising for the Dolly Parton imagination library book gifting program.  SB 195 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 169 provides an income tax rate of 4.75%.  Under current law, there are three brackets:  $0 to $15,000 ($30,000 for married) – 3.1%, $15,001 to $30,000 ($30,001-$60,000 for married) – 5.25%, and $30,000+ ($60,000+ for married) – 5.7%.  SB 169 passed 22-17.  I voted no.  As with many ideas, this bill will need much more discussion on the tax dollar differences between the brackets from the highest bracket dropping and the lowest rising.  This will be the Senate position during negotiation with the House with their version of a tax bill.

SB 115 changes the lists of persons who are required to be given notice of the hearing on a petition for an independent or stepparent, private agency or public agency adoption.  SB 115 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 132 provides for the buffalo soldier distinctive license plate.  SB 132 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 189 authorizes state and local law enforcement agencies to receive files and information about an applicant from other agencies that received an application for employment from the applicant or conducted an employment background investigation on the applicant.  SB 189 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 27 would amend provisions in the Uniform Insurance Agents Licensure Act and the Public Adjusters Licensing Act to allow the Commissioner of Insurance to set fees in an amount lower than the maximum amount of the fees established in law.  The bill would also amend fingerprinting criteria for resident agents.  SB 27 passed 38-2.  I voted yes.

SB 33 would expand the Kansas individual income tax exemption for Social Security benefits to include all federally taxable Social Security benefits beginning in tax year 2023.  The bill would exempt all federally taxable income received under all retirement plans beginning in tax year 2024.  These changes would be retroactive to tax year 2022 and the deadline to file claims for tax year 2022 would be extended from April 15, 2023, to April 15, 2024.  Finally, the bill would create a subtraction modification allowing taxpayers who carried back federal net operating losses in tax years 2018 through 2020 pursuant to the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to subtract such amounts from their income for purposes of determining Kansas adjusted gross income.  Taxpayers would be permitted to carry forward such net operating loss for up to 20 years if the amount exceeds the Kansas adjusted gross income of the taxpayer.  SB 33 passed 36-3.  I voted yes.

SB 248, which provides a sales tax exemption for all food and food ingredients to zero (this tax is being phased out in current law) removing all sales tax on food including taxes approved by local units of government which have been voted on by citizens in their community.  SB 248 passed 22-16.  I voted no.  Analyzing the effects in more depth of removing local taxes approved by voters will be necessary in future discussions before session-end on this idea.  This will be the Senate position in negotiations with the House.

SB 205 authorizes a water rights in a water bank to participate in multi-year flex accounts on a temporary basis.  SB 205 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 123 deems military veterans and spouses or dependents of such veterans who were stationed in Kansas for at least 11 months as residents for purposes of tuition and fees at postsecondary educational institutions.  SB 123 passed 40-0.  I voted yes.

SB 28 would establish the Group-funded Pools Refund Fund and amend and repeal law to eliminate assessments paid by municipal group-funded liability pools and group-funded workers’ compensation pools in order to refund existing balances in two associated fee funds and wind down such funds.  SB 28 passed 39-1.  I voted yes.

SB 229 provides for the City of Topeka distinctive license plates.  SB 229 passed 38-2.  I voted yes.

SB 119 updates certain obsolete statutory references in Chapter 40 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated.  SB 119 passed 40-0.  I voted yes.

SB 194 would require members of a hospital board to be qualified electors of either the county where the hospital is located or any county adjacent to such county and own real property within the taxing district of the hospital.  SB 194 passed 38-2.  I voted yes.

SB 75 changes the legal rate of interest from a fixed rate to a variable rate based on the statutory rate provided for interest on judgments.  SB 75 passed 38-0.  I voted yes.

SB 85 protects consumers by enacting the Kansas Travel Insurance Act as part of the Kansas Insurance Act.  SB 85 passed 34-5.  I voted yes.

SB 49 addresses a concern by many Kansans in rural areas who have been plagued by the constant red blinking lights from wind turbines, by requiring new turbines to have light-mitigating technology systems while also providing a mechanism for existing turbines to have such system over the course of time.  A select committee was formed last fall to find a solution and suggested 2 bills – one prospective and one retrospective.  They were merged together to form this one bill.  SB 49 passed 39-1.  I voted yes.

SB 120 authorizes the secretary of health and environment to adopt rules and regulations for an annual certification program for the replacement of distribution systems segments and increasing the amortization period on loans from the Kansas water pollution control revolving fund.  SB 120 passed 37-3.  I voted yes.

SB 34 attempts to address the lack of availability of affordable housing by expanding the Kansas Rural Housing Incentive District Act to allow for certain housing projects in cities with a population of 60,000 or more, providing cities a tool to use in helping create more projects that contain homes for people to either rent or buy.  SB 34 passed 30-6.  I voted yes.

SB 13 permits certain local broadcasters to provide broadcast services of a school’s postseason activities notwithstanding if the state high school activities association enters into an exclusive broadcast agreement for postseason activities.  SB 13 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 24 changes the required number of employees contained in the definitions of “large employer” and “small employer” for purposes of coverage for autism spectrum disorder.  SB 24 passed 38-1.  I voted yes.

SB 228 modernizes statutes concerning county jails, modifying procedures used when district courts commit prisoners to jail and requiring a medical examination.  SB 228 passed 34-3.  I voted yes.

SB 243 provides requirements and procedures for settlement agreements involving a minor.  SB 243 passed as amended 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 131 allows an out-of-state physician to receive a sports waiver to practice medicine in this state on a limited basis during certain sporting events and permitting the state board of healing arts to adopt procedures to allow other licensed and regulated healthcare professionals to be issued a sport waiver.  SB 131 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

SB 98 authorizes medical student and residency loan assistance to encourage the practice of obstetrics and gynecology in medically underserved areas of the state.  SB 98 passed 39-0.  I voted yes.

A full description of each bill can be found at as well as the Final Action vote on each measure.


Henry and Hershel Hutchinson from Concordia served as pages on February 22, 2023.  They spent the day with us in the Capitol where they attended an all-day Senate session, ran errands for the Senators, and toured the Capitol.


Thank you for all of your calls, emails, and letters regarding your thoughts and concerns about happenings in Kansas.  I always encourage you to stay informed of the issues under consideration by the Kansas Legislature.  Committee schedules, bills, and other helpful information can be easily accessed through the legislature’s website at .  For those who want to pursue a more in-depth analysis of bills, go to and pull up “Bills & Laws,” then “Senate Bills,” before scrolling to the desired number and hitting “SN” (Supplemental Notes) for a general explanation which is written by the Legislative research & reviser staff.  You are also able to ‘listen in live’ or watch session at this website as well as reviewing past committee meetings and sessions.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns, and suggestions.  An email is the best at this point in the session.

Thank you for the honor of serving you!

Senator Elaine Bowers
Kansas State Capitol Building
Room 223-E
300 SW 10th St.
Topeka, KS  66612
785 296-7389

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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