Find Bill
Find Your Legislator
Legislative Deadlines
May 26, 2024
RSS Feed Permanent URL -A +A

Minutes for HB2048 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Extending certain provisions of the governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas and providing certain relief related to health, welfare, property and economic security during this public health emergency.

Minutes Content for Wed, Jan 13, 2021

Chairperson Patton opened the hearing on HB2048.

Natalie Scott provided a brief description of HB2048 (Attachment 1). She stood for questions.

Chairperson Patton directed the membership to hold their questions for the proponent testimony until all participants were complete.

Audrey Dunkel testified in support of HB2048.(Attachment 2) Ms. Dunkel stated that HB2048 continues regulatory flexibility and liability protection and remains critically important as they continue on the path toward pandemic recovery.

Mike O’Neal (Attachment 3) stated while the existing Kansas statutory framework is helpful and provides a basis for action, it still does not address some procedural, practical and constitutional issues that have arisen in the wake of this current health challenge. Mr. O'Neal provided specific suggestions outlined in his written submitted testimony.

Eric Stafford (Attachment 4) explained the liability protection language passed last year was carefully drafted to protect businesses from no-injury COVID-related litigation, while still allowing for businesses to be held responsible when acting maliciously failing to guard or warn against risk. Liability protection for a viral disease is essential for businesses seeking to reopen or remain open. We have had 10 months to see the data and learn more about the risks associated with COVID-19. Everyone plays a part in protecting ourselves and others from infection, but we can take those necessary steps without causing long-lasting economic harm. Mr. Stafford and the Kansas Chamber support more broad reforms to the emergency management act to strengthen due process and the checks and balance of government.

Ron Hein (Attachment 5) testified that he would recommend that it be amended as follows: Notwithstanding any statute to the contrary, a healthcare professional licensed and in good standing in another state may practice such profession in the state of Kansas unless such profession is not approved for practice in the state of Kansas.

Daniel Murray (Attachment 6) stated he and the organizations he was representing strongly support HB2048 business liability legislation. As small business owners across America continue the process of reopening and operating in the COVID-19 environment, it’s imperative that protections are established from the threat of lawsuits that exploit the already damaging effects of COVID-19.

Nicole Millo (Attachment 7) was representing a network of hospitals in Colorado and western Kansas. She explained how the previous bill allowed physicians, practitioners, nurses and therapists from Colorado to work at St. Catherine Hospital, in Garden City, throughout this pandemic. Without this order in place, St. Catherine, as well as other hospitals, would be challenged in their ability to provide critical care and resources throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically, the surges that have occurred in Kansas over the last 11 months. Ms. Millo and those organizations she is representing respectfully request passing HB2048.

Rachelle Colombo (Attachment 8) and the Kansas Medical Society appreciates the opportunity to provide testimony today regarding the extension of those provisions outlined in the Kansas Emergency Management Act (KEMA) as established through the passage of a bill in 2020 which providing certain relief related to health, welfare, property and economic security during this public health emergency. . The provisions of 2020 bill do not immunize providers from acts that constitute gross negligence or willful misconduct, nor does it extend beyond professional health care services. These narrowly constructed liability provisions for health care providers are specifically limited to those services rendered or delayed during the national emergency declaration period. Ms. Colombo and KMS would respectfully urge the support of these liability provisions as a stand-alone policy, or through the extension of current KEMA policy. She urged the committee to reconsider these policies individually at the appropriate time in order to restore consistency across the statutes and ensure optimal patient care.

Tucker Duncan (Attachment 9) representing Kansas Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association is a proponent of HB2048. Mr Duncan suggested an extension to HB2048 which would authorize the temporary sale of alcoholic liquor for consumption off of certain licensed premises. Extending this provision until March 31, 2021 will benefit drinking establishments and consumers alike. Drinking establishments across the state have experienced difficult times during the pandemic, many with reduced hours by local orders, and this provision enacted during the 2020 Special Session in HB2016 has been extremely valuable and important in providing income for the survival of these businesses.

Scott Schneider (Attachment 10) provided testimony supporting HB2048. Mr. Schneider supports the effort to extend the curbside and carryout provisions and the business liability protections passed in HB2016. We will also be presenting several other legislative issues throughout the session to make permanent alcohol delivery, property tax adjustments, and securing our due process rights in the statutes. He shared information from the National Restaurant Association explaining nearly 1 in 6 restaurants (representing nearly 100,000 restaurants) is closed either permanently or long term; nearly 3 million employees are still out of work; and the industry is on track to lose $240 billion in sales through the end of the year.

Written Proponents

  • John Jenks, Director of Public Policy, Kansas City Chamber of Commerce (Attachment 11)
  • Amanda Stanley, General Counsel, League of Kansas Municipalities (Attachment 12)
  • Kevin Walker, Sr. V.P. of Public Policy, Overland Park Chamber of Commerce (Attachment 13)
  • Ron Hein on behave of Kansas Advanced Practice Nurses Association (Attachment 14)
  • Nicole Livanos, Associate Director of Legislative Affairs, Nation Council of State Boards of Nursing (Attachment 15)
  • Jay Hall, Legislative Policy Director, Kansas Association of Counties (Attachment 16)

Neutral

Tucker Poling (Attachment 17) provided neutral testimony stating although there are many aspects of the bill that the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts supports, continuing during the existence of the state of emergency declared by the legislature, such as temporary regulatory flexibility to facilitate the state’s response to COVID19, the Board believes it is duty-bound to advise the legislature that the Board has significant public safety concerns related to some provisions of the bill. The Board respectfully suggests the legislature amend the bill in a manner that retains the Board’s ability to protect public safety. The most vital revision can be achieved through deleting two sentences in subsection (h) of Section 10. This is spelled out specifically in his attachment.  This revision would not undermine your policy goals.

Opponent

Nick Reinecker (Attachment 18) testified in opposition to HB2048 stating the current state of emergency disaster declaration is a dangerous and harmful precedent in the use of Emergency Management principles. I disagree that we should be in a state of emergency disaster and am an opponent on that basis. Mr. Reinecker provided supporting documentation in the attachment of his full testimony.

Chairperson Patton told the membership he planned on discussion and final action on this bill tomorrow (Thursday Jan 14th). He adjourned the meeting at 5:30 p.m.