The Legislature has wrapped up its 2014 regular session. Here’s a look at some of the bills we followed that affect small-business owners like you:
- Fought for reforms to the
Kansas Court of Tax Appeals. The new law makes several positive changes to
improve access and adjudication for tax payers, including small business, who
are dissatisfied with local property tax assessments.
- Fought for a bill that requires new transparency
measures in property tax. The new
law will shed light on municipalities when they increase property tax
revenue through increased valuation. As many small businesses have
experienced, this often serves as a backdoor tax increase and requires no
action by the municipal governing body.
- Secured passage of a bill
which allows small businesses to band together and buy health insurance through
self funded association health plans.
This will allow employers to voluntarily join with other employers to
form larger, more stable risk pools. These association plans can move participating
small businesses toward a more level playing field with larger entities.
- Won passage of a bill which includes
a provision requiring an act of the Legislature to expand
Medicaid, as anticipated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,
the federal health-care law better known as Obamacare. This ensures Medicaid
expansion won’t occur in Kansas until at least the next legislative session.
- Stopped several bills
which would have mandated new health insurance benefits. These mandates increase the cost of health
insurance for small business.
- Fought for a bill to
codify liability protections for small businesses against trespassers. The new law provides long-term certainty that
small businesses won’t be subject to financial ruin because a trespasser—a
criminal—sustains an injury while trespassing on a small business owner’s
- Secured passage of a bill
which ensures that proper standards are placed on scientific evidence presented
in court, keeping junk science and speculation from tainting a jury. Liability
reforms, like this, inject a measure of fairness into a legal system that
currently preys on business, often without regard to legal merit.
- Fought for a bill that
preserves our non-economic damage caps. The new law addresses a warning from
the Kansas Supreme Court that our statutory caps may not meet Constitutional
muster. If we were to lose the caps,
medical malpractice and liability insurance premiums will soar and drive
businesses and doctors from Kansas.
- Beat back attempts to increase the
state minimum wage. The bills would have increased the minimum wage to $10.10 and permanently
index it to inflation. Like most government mandates on business, raising the
minimum wage will have a deep and disproportionate impact on the small-business
- A bill passed allowing
employers to improve their unemployment insurance rate by “buying up” rate
groups. Currently employers are restricted to buying up 5 rate groups, this
bill removes that limitation. The new
law will give small businesses some flexibility to decrease their UI tax rate.