Kansas governor signs bills for first-time homebuyers, elder abuse, rural development, new sex crimes

By: - May 17, 2021 4:18 pm

Rep. Tory Arnberger, a leader of the under-40 Future Caucus, praised the passage and signing of legislation to create a savings account and tax credit for first-time homebuyers. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Gov. Laura Kelly signed an assortment of legislation Monday dealing with first-time homebuyers, elder abuse, tax preparations, rural opportunity zones, and new crimes for sexual extortion and sexual battery of a spouse.

The seven bills, some of them representing bundles of policy revisions, all passed both chambers by wide margins earlier this month before lawmakers closed the session.

“This is the kind of success that can be achieved when we work together — not as Republicans or Democrats but as Kansans,” the Democratic governor said.

Leaders of the Future Caucus, a group of legislators younger than 40, praised the passage and signing of House Bill 2187, which establishes savings accounts and an associated tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

In a joint statement from Rep. Tory Marie Arnberger, R-Great Bend, Rep. Rui Xu, D-Westwood, Rep. Nick Hoheisel, R-Wichita, and Rep. Brandon Woodard, D-Lenexa, the lawmakers said Kansas and surrounding states have been successful with similar plans for college and health savings accounts.

“We believe this bill will encourage homeownership in the state of Kansas, and provide an additional tool for working Kansans to make purchasing their first home a reality,” the caucus leaders said.

The governor also signed Senate Bills 170, 60, 47 and 39, and House Bills 2121 and 2077.

Senate Bill 60 makes sweeping changes in Kansas criminal law, including the removal of the spousal exception from the crime of sexual battery and creation of the crime of sexual extortion. It also bans court-ordered psychiatric exams of alleged victims, and increases penalties for fleeing from police.

Senate Bill 47 extends for two more years the rural opportunity zone program, which repays student loans for professionals who move to one of the state’s 77 counties with a population of less than 40,000.

The bill also includes numerous other tax-related policies, such as new regulations for paid tax preparers. Compensation attributed to identity fraud will now be exempt from taxes, and there are new credits for contributions to the Eisenhower Foundation and Friends of Cedar Crest.

Other bills deal with extension of a cold case DNA task force, time restrictions for crime victim compensation, stricter penalties for mistreatment of residents at adult care homes, animal health regulations, and authorization of tele-psychology.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.

Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

MORE FROM AUTHOR