Wichita, Kan. (January 23, 2023) – The 2022 legislative session for the State of Kansas began in January 2022. Lawmakers are back on Capitol Hill for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic and are ready to work. Notably, several bills focusing on the authority of state and local government authorities in response to contagious or infectious diseases such as COVID-19 have either died by general order or were backed by Governor Laura Kelly’s veto. For example, Senate Substitute for House Bill No. 2062 would have prohibited long-term care facilities and health care facilities operated by state or local government from limiting the right of residents or patients to receive or refuse visitors in their private rooms.
However, other laws survived and were passed that impacted the sphere of work and employment, including pension and health care benefits for some sectors and exercise rights for some health workers. The following list below provides a summary of the relevant 2022 Labor and Employment Bills that have become law.
Related to health care and retirement
HB no. 2110
This bill was signed by Governor Laura Kelly on April 7, 2022 and requires the State Health Plan for Employees (SEHP) plan year 2023 to provide coverage for diagnosis and prescribed treatment for pediatric neuropsychiatric syndrome Acute Onset Diseases (PANS) and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatry Infectious Streptococcal-Associated Diseases (PANDAS) to study the use and cost of such coverage.
HB no. 2481
This bill was signed into law by Governor Laura Kelly on April 7, 2022. It relates to the Kansas Police and Fire Retirement System. The bill authorizes the purchase of participating service credits for certain non-federal government jobs within the state and regulates the method of payment. Effective July 1, 2022, any member of the Kansas Fire and Police Retirement System who was previously employed through non-federal government employment in the state and whose service otherwise meets the qualifications of an employee as prescribed in the KSA 74-4952(4) as amended, and meets the requirements of KSA 74-4902(10) as amended, may elect to purchase services for such non-federal government employment.
Substitute Senate for HB n. 2279
This bill was signed into law by Governor Laura Kelly on April 15, 2022, amending the Kansas Nurse Practice Act (KNPA), which governs the licensing of registered nurses for advanced practice. Significantly, this bill allows advanced practice registered nurses to prescribe medications without a written protocol as authorized by a responsible physician. It also requires them to maintain malpractice insurance and requires national certification for initial licensure as an advanced practice registered nurse.
SB no. 453
Governor Laura Kelly signed this bill into law on April 18, 2022. Amends the law and clarifies that the 40 hours of training for unlicensed employees working in an adult nursing home is part of a nursing assistant training course certificate (CNA) required by the Secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS). Bill specifies who can prepare, administer and teach the first 40 hours and remaining hours of CNA training, where training can be conducted, timing for training completion, and who can evaluate skills demonstration to confirm completion successfully completed the training course. The bill prohibits all unlicensed employees who are not making progress toward completing the CNA training required by the Secretary within four months of completing the first 40 hours of CNA training from providing direct, one-on-one assistance to residents. The bill also expands the entities authorized to prepare and administer the training to include a hospital, hospice, all-inclusive aged care (PACE) program, or qualified course sponsor. It also expands the premises where training could be conducted to include a hospital, hospice or PACE.
SB no. 421
This bill affects the Kansas public employee retirement system. Authorizes certain transfers from the state general fund to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement Fund. It also limits the certified contribution rate to the State of Kansas and participating employers, as defined by KSA 74-4931 (which includes Kansas public school districts, technical colleges, junior community colleges, or state agencies that have employees who are members of the state school retirement system), the additional percentage contribution corresponding to the reimbursement amount in tier dollars. In 2022, the employer contribution rate is 13.11% and in each subsequent calendar year, the contribution rate for an employer will be an amount not exceeding 1.2% of the tax rate. immediately preceding tax year.
Substitute of the Chamber for SB n. 91
This bill was signed into law by Governor Laura Kelly on April 13, 2022. It provides liability protection for businesses that participate in work-based learning programs; providing in part that an enterprise which accepts a secondary student in a work-based learning program shall not be subject to civil liability for any claims arising from the student’s negligent acts or omissions during the student’s participation in the work-based learning program at The firm or place of work, nor a firm accepting a secondary student on a work-based learning scheme shall be subject to civil liability for any claim for bodily harm to the student or illness or accident death of the student arising out of negligence company’s act or omission during the participating students.
HB no. 2703
This bill creates the Kansas Targeted Employment Act, which establishes a tax credit for businesses that employ Kansas residents with developmental disabilities and amends unemployment compensation laws regarding out-of-state reimbursement of employers work schedules, funds control tables, solvency and credit rate programs, and the My Reemployment Plan program. The law also makes the program mandatory rather than voluntary.
Jurisprudence relating to employment in the public service
On August 5, 2022, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in Bruce v. Kelly, 514 P.3d 1007, two questions of law certified by the United States Court for the District of Kansas. This proceeding was unique because the lawsuit was not pending in any Kansas state court and was referred to the Kansas Supreme Court in part due to a lack of Kansas background check interpreting the relevant provision. The two questions before the Kansas Supreme Court were as follows:
- Kan.Stat. Anna. Does §74-2113 define the rank of Major in the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) as an unranked or ranked service member of the Kansas Civil Service?
- If Kan.Stat. Anna. §74-2113 defines the rank of major in the KHP as a classified service member, ago Kan. Admin Reg. §1-7-4 requiring a former classified service member – who has already completed a required probationary period of classified service – to serve another six-month probationary period in classified service after serving as a service member not classified?
These two certified applications arose out of a federal lawsuit Mark A. Bruce filed against Governor Laura Kelly, Will Lawrence, and Kansas Highway Patrol Superintendent Herman T. Jones (collectively, the defendants). Bruce worked for the KHP for 30 years and was promoted to the rank of major in 2008 and successfully completed a six month probationary period in that role. After being appointed KHP superintendent by the then Kansas governor in 2015, he claims the defendants forced him to resign. Bruce argues that Kan. Stat. Anna. §74-2113 required defendants to restore him to the rank he held prior to his appointment as superintendent, a return to the rank of major with permanent status in classified service, rather than terminate his employment. The defendants, however, argued that Bruce was not entitled to continue working because Kan. Stat. Anna. §74-2113 places Major in unclassified service and employees in unclassified service are not eligible to continue working. Furthermore, the defendants argued that even if Kan. Stat. Anna. §74-2113 defines the rank of major within the classified service, Kan. Admin Reg. §1-7-4 would have required Bruce to serve another probationary period upon his return to the rank of major, during which his employment could be terminated at will.
In its response to the two questions posed, the Kansas Supreme Court held that Kan. Stat. Anna. §74-2113 defines the rank of KHP Major as within the classified service and if KHP employees attain permanent status in the classified service before being appointed superintendent or assistant superintendent in the unclassified service, then Kan. Admin Reg. §1-7-4 (2021 Supp.) does not require them to serve another probationary period once they are “returned” to their former rank and classification under Kan. Stat. Anna. §74-2113(a).
The practical implications of this ruling for employers are to pay attention to its civil service classifications and the implications of protecting classified employees from dismissal. Additionally, once a probation has been served and an employee returns to a previously classified status under applicable law, that employee is not required to serve any further probation and retains his or her protected status.
The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding the specific circumstances.