Top 5 Ways to Maximize Your TIAK Membership This Year!

Top 5 Ways to Maximize Your TIAK Membership This Year!

Whether you’re new to TIAK or have been a member for years, it’s always a good idea to take stock of just how involved you are and how you can maximize your membership investment in our state tourism association! Check out these five tips below on how to get the most out of your TIAK membership in 2022!

  • Attend functions – there’s no better way to meet new people, exchange ideas and seek input than to network with others. TIAK offers several face-to-face opportunities for you to do just that—from Destination Statehouse in February to the annual educational seminar in April to the tourism conference in October! Pick one or all and get involved!
  • Serve on a committee – do you have a passion for advocacy and legislative topics? Maybe you’re more drawn to sales or marketing. Or, your end goal is to serve on the board. Whatever your preference, TIAK can put your talent to work. The association is managed by professionals but cannot survive without volunteer committee and board members. Just ask—there’s always a need!
  • Keep informed via the TIAK monthly e-news and social media posts! Engage in the comments, reply and share. Great discussions begin when members start to work together toward common goals.
  • If you are new to TIAK, find a mentor! Reach out to someone who’s been a member for awhile and ask questions. If you don’t know who to ask, email the TIAK office and they’ll have a host of names to share with you.
  • Start working on or finish that KDS certification! Now is the time to add “Kansas Destination Specialist” to your professional achievements. It’s a fun and easy way to learn more about tourism, hospitality, leadership and explore Kansas in the process. Visit https://tiak.org/resources/kds/ to learn more! (Current KDS folks—it’s a renewal year, just a friendly reminder).

30 Ideas in 30 Minutes – Kansas Tourism Conference

30 Ideas in 30 Minutes — Kansas Tourism Conference

Thanks to everyone for participating in the 30 ideas in 30 minutes session at the Kansas Tourism Conference! A lot of great ideas were shared, and a couple even won a prize! We’ve compiled them all, plus a few from the idea box. Please forgive any errors as it was quite a challenge jotting things down so quickly!

  1. Lucille, Mitchell County – In January, they visited the area schools and gave each 4th grader a copy of the Kansas Travel Guide. They also created a project page for classes to vote on their favorite “To the ________” for their class to post (in support of the To the Stars Kansas Day campaign).
  2. Holly, Lindsborg – Got a couple of grants during the pandemic, worked with the 4th graders outdoors to put a monarch garden along the trail in Lindsborg.
  3. Holly, Lindsborg – Half sheet of what the CVB is working on in the community went to all businesses to spread the word during the pandemic on how they were still promoting Lindsborg.
  4. Galena – Route 66, painted white stakes that separate the State line, then made a yellow brick road to let travelers know they were entering KS.
  5. Melissa, Hays – During shut down they designed a children’s placement/coloring activity sheet that promotes the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. 
  6. Sady, Dodge City – Boot Hill Conf Center – During the last 6 months, they marketed their conference center as “space friendly” for people to spread out.  Maps, etc.  no extra cost and booked five new pieces of business.
  7. Ally- Downtown Hays – Adding SNAP and double up food bucks to the Downtown Hays market helped attract new customers, support vendors, and serve low-income families.
  8. Susie, Concordia – Made pies on Sunday (personally) and invited people to come sit on the outdoor screened-in porch as people drove by and came to visit.
  9. Susie, Concordia – Visited cemeteries, documenting families, dates, etc. They are half done with those in their area.
  10. Christina, Great Bend – Giveaway – All grand prize winners are getting a free year subscription to KS Magazine.
  11. Alexis, Mahaffie – Only shut down for 6 weeks, so they let people write letters to the animals campaign.  Animals would write back! Over 225 letters from multiple states and they received a lot of local press coverage.
  12. Marcie, KS Sampler – Pancake flip on social media, everybody got to try. They couldn’t have the race due to the pandemic.
  13. Jill, Ark City – Festival last year didn’t happen, so they had a scarecrow contest downtown (from the light poles), “adopt a scarecrow”. Kids enjoy walking downtown seeing the scarecrows.
  14. Sara, Downtown Hays – Sweet treats for your teach! A gift card program to honor teachers and support local businesses Buy a $10 gift card and Downtown Hays matched it with popcorn and candy for FREE. Over 180 teachers were honored. Generated over $2,000 for the businesses plus buying popcorn and candy from the local businesses.
  15. Jim Z, Parsons – New chamber director works on Christmas floats and the normal parade was cancelled due to covid. Instead, they parked floats around the football field so people could drive around floats to create social distancing.
  16. Norton Chamber – Partnered with community foundation (anonymous 10,000 donation) to create a “bingo” game in the community. When you got BINGO you won $100 to spend within 30 days. Bingo campaign engaged 1,000 winners who spent 10,000 in the community within 30 days.
  17. Mahaffie- Drive live, visitors guide, website, list of events.  Encouraged people to keep coming back to the downtown area.
  18. Karen, Merriam — Created a coaster for local bars and restaurants to place on tables instead of the normal ones supplied by vendors. Coasters included the CVB website and list of summer/fall events in an attempt to encourage people to come back for those events.
  19. El Dorado – Foodie tour, helped restaurants locally. They came in for a special meal for one week; used a passport to promote the tour. 
  20. Kylie, Seneca – Partnered with the library to have a book walk. Double page spread of a children’s book to display in windows downtown. Walk through, read books through the storefront windows and end at the library. Participants were entered into a drawing for prizes.
  21. Wakeeney Travel and Tourism – Christmas city of high plains, metal trees, trees in front of historical homes that share history. This year they took eight of the trees to put in a concentrated area (1.4 mile block), and hosted a wine walk at this area serving wine at each house. The walk had  45 participants.
  22. Jessica, Visit Wichita – During pandemic they partnered with Threshold 360 to do virtual tours of attractions, restaurants and hotels for meeting planners.
  23. Lindsay, Visit Wichita – Wicked Brew tour (coffee and brewery). They also launched an attraction tour with a passport. Passports were entered to win an annual membership to each attraction and could be redeemed for a t-shirt. 
  24. Marcie, KS Sampler – Networking and bonding at the annual tourism conference (food trucks, air museum, etc.)
  25. Topeka – Attractions and restaurants donated to the Springfield community foundation to set up a fund for displayed workers in Springfield MO, so he brought the idea to Topeka  and helped create the program with the Greater Topeka Partnership.
  26. Holly, Finney County  – During December they were trying to get people to shop local in their downtown so they created Merry Monday and Wednesday specials. She would showcase Christmas items or gifts, and made videos for social media to promote it for shopping or curbside pickup.
  27. Jony, McPherson- Community building was restored right before pandemic and her job was to bring events to this facility. Due to the pandemic, not a lot of business was coming. She created a wine event which filled the center!
  28. Mandy, Liberal – Post on Facebook with restaurants, menus, delivery information.  Pinned post on the Facebook page.
  29. Melissa, Hays – Cross promotion at summer attractions: designed banners to advertise the Sternberg Museum, placed them at Hays Aquatic Park and vice versa. CVB paid for banners and both attractions benefited!
  30. Sara, Downtown Hays – 20 year anniversary celebration, hosted a “homecoming to Hays” event to admire how far our downtown has come and the tourist attraction that it is now. Included a kids fest, free cake, free concert and more!
  31. Melissa, Hays – Interactive art at seasonal art walks. Set up a sign that said “Chalk art station. Grab some chalk and have fun.” Provided tubs of sidewalk chalk for art walk attendees to get creative in public spaces.

5 First Timer Tips: How to get the most out of Kansas Tourism Conference

Conferences are a great way to connect with people in your industry and learn from the best in the field.  The Kansas Tourism Conference (#KTC21) is THE conference to do just that and more!  You’ll love the motivational speakers, the free swag, networking with peers, awesome food and off-site experiences.   Here are some tips we’ve gathered to help make your first conference experience enjoyable and successful:

  1. Chart your course: It can be overwhelming and incredibly easy to get lost in the flow of events.  Before the conference, review the agenda in advance and pick out which sessions interest you the most focusing on areas of your role.  This will give you an idea how to structure your day and help you know where you need to be and when.  Find the tourism conference agenda here: Kansas Tourism Conference – Travel Industry Association of Kansas (tiak.org)
  2. Come prepared: Bring a small notebook, pen, business cards and your game face.  Throughout the conference you will get plenty of great ideas worth jotting down.  You’ll also meet many new people you may want to stay connected with after the conference.
  3. Be engaged: It’s hard to be fully engaged at the conference if you are constantly checking in with work and responding to email and phone calls.  Get the most out of the conference by minimizing “office work” and keeping non-conference activities to a minimum.  Focus and immerse yourself to gain from the session you are attending.
  4. Network: The whole point of a conference is communicating with people!  Don’t be afraid to attend social hour and off-site activities – hanging out and making conversations with complete strangers can be scary, however the majority of people at the conference are there to connect with like-minded individuals, too.  Many of these events also give you the opportunity to experience the conference host city like a VIP.
  5. Visit the vendors: Review the list of exhibitors before you arrive and highlight the vendors you need to meet. Seek out companies with opportunities that help improve your services.  This will help to use your exhibit time to your best advantage.  It’s also the best place to pick up some cool conference swag!

On your way to KDS? Five tips to help you get there by conference 2021!

Are you just mere steps away from obtaining your Kansas Destination Specialist designation? Maybe you have a book report to complete, or need to visit an attraction and write a quick report—click here to see where you’re at in the KDS journey!

Make 2021 the year that you go from seeking your KDS to joining the ranks of others who have earned this state-wide designation for tourism professionals. Let’s take a peek at certification requirements as a quick refresher (keep in mind this is not a renewal year, so only new KDS seekers are being awarded in October).

  • Earn 25 points by attending education conferences, seminars, webinars, trainings, etc. Points accumulate as follows: half point for webinar or seminar; one point for half-day session; two points for full-day session; and three points for two or more days. TIAK events are automatically awarded credit. For all other educational events, candidate must submit the Education Session Follow-up Form within the same year as the event was conducted.
  • Read and complete three book reports – one from each category. Categories include: Kansas, Marketing and Leadership. Click here to see the approved reading list!
  • Visit a Kansas attraction, 50+ miles from home, and submit the visiting attraction form. Earn one point for each attraction.

Here’s five tips to help you finish up those last requirements so you can call yourself a Kansas Destination Specialist this year!

  • Know where you stand and what is left to complete your designation.
  • Set aside time each week to finish each task, or if you need to visit an attraction more than 50 miles away, plan the day you’ll go and make a day-trip out of it! Take notes while you’re visiting so writing your report is easier. And, write that report ASAP when everything is still familiar!
  • Now that in-person meetings and events are mostly back in person, seek out potential trainings or seminars that could count toward your designation.
  • While there are dozens of book titles on the approved reading list, if you see one that falls into any of the categories, but isn’t on the list, just send the title, a brief summary and ask if it can be considered. Most of the time, it will be approved!
  • You’d be surprised at how fast those points can add up if you take advantage of all the TIAK and state tourism offerings hosted throughout the year. Destination Statehouse and the annual conference automatically count if you attend those events. Find a few more training options in travel, tourism, leadership or Kansas-centered topics, and you’ll be well on your way to KDS!

TIAK Marketing Awards: Top 10 Tips for an Award-Winning Entry

  1. Whether this is your first submission, or you have submitted for 10 years straight, these tips can help you create and submit the best TIAK marketing entry yet. We know you’ve got your eye on first place! Here’s a surefire way to make it happen…
    Start the process early!  You are already on the right track by reading these tips and starting to think about what you will submit this year.
  2. Check the basics before you submit. Be sure to read over the entry rules to submit into the correct categories.  The categories are separated by both budget and marketing project type.
  3. The more details the better. Include as many statistics in your reporting as possible.  (Examples: events- how many people attended? Websites- how many views?) When the judges have two entries with similar rankings and results, the more statistics on your project will possibly help you get ahead in the rankings.
  4. Partnerships are becoming so important; if you are working with someone local, don’t forget to include that! Whether it’s your local printer, museum, school, historical society, chamber, development cooperation, other communities, city/county or someone else, please include information on how they helped you and what monetary or voluntary aid/partnership you were provided.
  5. If the work was done by an internal team, REALLY emphasize that. If you are using an outside agency, describe your team’s input and direction in shaping the project you’ve entered. The judges like to see what you’ve contributed even when the work outsourced.
  6. Do not overlook something that has been done for years. The judges sometimes see important information being forgotten in the application.  The judges need to see all the details including partnerships being used, how resourceful the applicant was, photos, charts, testimonials, etc.
  7. Think outside of the box. There are so many possibilities for award submissions besides a website or visitor guide. Did you have a community festival that generated a ton of visitation? Maybe you had a great social media campaign that earned a lot of online traction? Consider everything from campaigns to printed publications, audio tours or profiles. With five categories, plus the people’s choice award, there’s surely something fitting for your marketing efforts!
  8. Make a report. Don’t just submit a few sentences in the text box.  Attach a document with project graphics, statistics, and how it positively impacted your community.
  9. Did you submit last year? Do not forget to go back and read the judges’ feedback. They give great information to help with future projects and submissions. Also, have another peer review your submission to give tips before you click send.
  10. You can’t win if you don’t submit! Be sure to get your entries in before the deadline of Friday, August 13. Click here for more information.

Registration is open for the 2021 Kansas Tourism Conference

What a year! Get ready to celebrate the travel and tourism industry at the Kansas Tourism Conference in Liberal, October 18-20, 2021. Be a part of the Kansas tourism industry’s “don’t miss” conference of the year. Registration is now open! Enjoy inspiring speakers, valuable educational information and fun networking opportunities. Kansas has so much travel and tourism talent and we can’t wait for you to meet each other!

For more information, and to register, visit the Kansas Tourism Conference event page. Be sure to look around and see what this year’s conference has to offer: a dynamic lineup of speakers, a silent auction, marketing awards, and so much more. When you’re ready to sign up, simply click “Register Now” in the Conference Dates section and get ready to celebrate. Registration is easy and you may select to complete your payment by using either credit card or check. But don’t forget to make your hotel reservation – the link is on the KTC event page.

Think you can dazzle your tourism peers even more? Share your talent in the TIAK Marketing Awards! Join TIAK in highlighting your skills in conjunction with the Kansas Tourism Conference. Entries must be submitted by August 13th and each submission may only be entered once. One winner from each overall budget category will be presented at the Awards Banquet. For submission requirements and registration, please visit the Marketing Awards page.

We look forward to celebrating travel and tourism at the 2021 Kansas Tourism Conference! Register today.

Veto Session Wrap-up

Weekly Legislative Report
Veto Session Wrap-up

The 2021 Kansas Legislative Session adjourned just after 2:00 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, May 8. The Veto Session began on Monday, May 3 and only lasted five days instead of two weeks as some were expecting. Lawmakers went to work quickly overriding five of the Governor’s 17 vetoes by Monday afternoon.

The Legislature will return on May 26 for Sine Die adjournment, which is typically a quick, ceremonial closing of the legislative session. However, this year’s Sine Die could get complicated if Governor Laura Kelly decides to override any more of the bills sent to her from last week.

Considered one of legislative leadership’s biggest victories this year is the override on Senate Bill 50, the primary tax bill which allows for federal decoupling. The legislation also increases the standard deduction for all Kansas income taxpayers, allows itemization on state returns regardless of federal filing status, and requires online retailers to collect and remit sales and transient guest taxes. It was touch and go for a few minutes in the House. After a few changes of vote, the final roll call was right on the line at 84-39. The Senate’s vote was 30-10.

The Legislature also successfully overrode the Governor on the following bills:

  • House Bill 2058 lowers the age to obtain a concealed carry license to 18 years.
  • House Bill 2183 limits the number of advanced ballots delivered on behalf of another voter.
  • House Bill 2332 sets requirements for the solicitation of advanced ballot applications.
  • House Bill 2166 authorizes several distinctive state license plates.

There was one bill that the Legislature was unable to get to a two-thirds majority needed for an override. Senate Bill 55 created the fairness in women’s sports act and required that female student athletic teams only include members who are biologically female. The Senate vote failed 26-14, so it was never considered by the House.

There were 11 other Governor veto’s that the legislature did not attempt to override including the following:

  • HB 2039-American civics test/financial literacy that required Kansas students to pass an American civics test to graduate from high school. It also would have required a personal financial literacy course for grades 10 through 12 lasting at least one semester or two quarters.
  • HB 2089Firearm safety that would have required the state Board of Education to develop guidelines for gun-safety courses that include the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safe program.
  • E-verify– No attempt was made to override the veto of the state budget provision that would have required state agencies and contractors to verify the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
  • Statehouse Meditation Room– The Legislature opted not to override the governor’s veto of language in the budget to reclaim a room for meditation on the second floor of the Capitol that the governor now uses for constituent services. It is believed the Legislative Coordinating Council still has the power to take the room back.

Below are highlights of the key bills passed during the Veto Session:

Conference Committee Report on House Substitute for Substitute for Senate Bill 273 – COVID Small Business Relief Act

The bill provides as much as $500 million in relief to Kansas businesses that were shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. It requires the state to set aside 25% of unallocated federal COVID relief money to compensate small businesses that were financially hurt from government-imposed shutdowns or restrictions during the pandemic. Cities and counties are required to earmark 35% of their federal relief dollars. The bill applies only to businesses with 50 or fewer employees, and claims must be submitted between October 1 and December 31, 2021.

The House passed the bill 68-42, and it was passed 24-14 in the Senate. The bill now goes to the governor for her signature.

Conference Committee Report on Senate Substitute for House Bill 2313 – Disaster Declaration Property Tax Reimbursement

The bill provides property tax relief to certain small businesses that are shut down or restricted due to state declared disaster emergency declarations. This applies to small businesses that received less than $150,000 from the COVID Small Business Relief Act in SB 273. The bill is prospective and restricted for businesses with yearly revenues between $10,000 and $2.5 million. Each property tax rebate is capped at $7,500. The state would be responsible for two-thirds of the claim, and the county would pick up the other one-third. The legislation also includes the extension of the 20-mill statewide school finance levy and directs the Legislative Post Audit to study the impact of government and nonprofit organizations competing with for-profit businesses, which is an issue that the Legislature has grappled with for several years.

Conference Committee Report on House Bill 2134 – K-12 Education Funding

The bill appropriates funding for the Department of Education for fiscal years 2021, 2022, and 2023 including $5.2 billion to comply with a state Supreme Court order requiring the Legislature to adequately fund education. Other education-related policies in the bill include expansion of a tax credit for private school scholarship contributions for low-income students, and limitations on remote learning hours and corresponding state aid dollars. To get Governor Kelly to sign a proposal that includes more school choice, the Legislature negotiated a spending plan that gives her a say in how new federal COVID relief money is spent. The agreement will allow the SPARK committee to continue to oversee the relief money, however with more legislative members on the panel.

Conference Committee Report on Senate Bill 29 – Short-term Health Insurance

The bill provides for short-term, limited-duration health plans for a period of less than 12 months with an increase in the renewal/extension periods from 24 month up to a maximum policy period of 36 months. It also requires insurance companies to disclose information to consumers regarding the Affordable Care Act requirements concerning preexisting conditions and minimum essential coverage. Some are anticipating this bill will be vetoed by the Governor.

Conference Committee Report for Senate Bill 159 – Omnibus Budget

As usually happens, the Legislature passed an omnibus budget bill on the last day of the legislative session that adjusts state appropriations to state agencies for the next two fiscal years. The omnibus budget is a trailer budget bill that makes appropriate changes based on the Consensus Revenue Estimates released in late April.

The influx of federal COVID-19 relief funds had a dramatic effect on the budget, notably in higher education funding. Legislators were acutely aware that this was to be one time money. An additional $53 million was allocated to the state’s universities, community colleges and technical colleges. The dollars were split into grants and scholarships, as well as money to make up for past budget cuts, for student recruitment, and new equipment, including, $10 million for the newly passed Promise Scholarship Act and $4.3 million for technical colleges capital outlay.

Budget negotiators also agreed to a new process for the distribution of federal dollars.  The Governor had vetoed a budget provision passed in regular session that would give additional powers to the legislature in appropriating these funds.  A new SPARK Executive Committee will be formed and comprised of three appointees from the Governor’s office, two appointees from the Speaker of the House and two appointees from the Senate President.  This committee will be responsible for distribution of federal COVID relief dollars.

The largest issue that budget negotiators needed to resolve was state employee pay. House negotiators had proposed a 2.5% state employee pay raise. After a stalemate, the conference committee shifted to a narrower pay issue, salaries in the Judicial Branch. The Senate ultimately agreed to a one-time pay increase for judges. Non-judge staff and court service offices were granted a multi-year planned increase.

The conference committee also added funds for mental health as well as FTE’s for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) funding. Funding for the 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline was also approved. These funds will expand call centers in Kansas, which will connect callers to local services.

In addition, $9.6 million were allocated to update the unemployment insurance benefit system as well as $250,000 to conduct an outside audit in compliance with Senate Sub. for Sub. for HB 2196, the newly passed unemployment insurance reform and modernization bill.

Budget vetoes were also addressed during the Veto Session. Three budget line-item vetoes by the Governor were overturned;

  • Kansas Board of Regents capital renewal provision for $10 million;
  • DCF Hope Ranch provision; and,
  • KDADS provision for PACE, RFP for all-inclusive care provision.

Conference Committee Report on Senate Bill 47 – Tax Bill Bundle

This CCR includes several bills considered by the Legislature this year and does the following:

  • Enacts the Taxpayer Protection Act, requiring that paid tax return preparers sign any income tax return and include the preparer’s federal preparer tax identification number on the form. Any failure to do so would subject the preparer to a civil penalty of $50 per return with a maximum of $25,000 in civil penalties per preparer per year.
  • Extends the sunset by three years on an income tax credit for the Pittsburg Port Authority and makes the credit available to all income taxpayers. Current law limits the credit to only corporate income taxpayers. This proposal was supported by Watco Railroad for investments made in short line rail maintenance.
  • Extends the filing deadline for corporate income tax returns to one month after the federal due date and removes the tax liability for victims of identity theft on any income fraudulently obtained.
  • Increases the number of days a nonresident employee can work in Kansas before being subject to state withholding requirements to 30 days.
  • Extends the sunset of the Rural Opportunity Zone program for two years.

Conference Committee Report on SB 78 – Insurance Bundle

The CCR for SB 78 updates the national insurance commissioners (NAIC) credit for insurance reinsurance model law, codifying the NAIC credit for reinsurance model regulation and updating certain terms and definitions relating to the insurance holding company act, service contracts and surplus lines insurance. The report also eliminates certain requirements relating to the annual submittal of certain documents by out-of-state risk retention groups, extending the time frame to submit certain documents by professional employer organizations, abolishing the utilization review advisory committee and replacing it with URAC.

HB 2187First-time Home Buyers Savings Account

The Legislature passed a bill providing a tax deduction for first-time home buyers. It allows Kansans to set up savings accounts at financial institutions starting July 1, 2022, to save for the purchase of a new home. Contributions would be limited in each tax year to $3,000 for individuals and $6,000 for a married couple filing a joint return. The deposits would be capped for all tax years at $24,000 for individuals and $48,000 for a married couple filing a joint return. The bill passed 119-3 in the House and 35-1 in the Senate. The bill awaits the governor’s signature.

Sine Die

The 2021 Legislature will have its official last day of session on May 26th.  Sine Die is usually a formality, but Senate Leadership announced that Senate members should plan on attending to attempt any overrides of anticipated vetoes by the Governor.  The Senate is also expected to elect a new Majority Leader, to replace Senator Gene Sullentrop R-Wichita, who was voted out of his leadership position due to legal issues before regular session adjourned. Contenders for the leadership position include Asst. Majority Leader Larry Alley, R-Winfield, Majority Whip Richard Hilderbrand, R-Galena and former Senate Vice-President Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia.

2022 Legislative Session Issues

In addition, several bills were discussed during veto session but failed to pass.  They will be held over for debate during the 2022 Legislative Session:

House Substitute for Senate Bill 158 – Medical Marijuana

After hours of debate and more than a dozen of amendments, the House passed a proposal that allows for the manufacturing and sale of medical marijuana in Kansas. The bill is restricted to patients that have been prescribed the treatment by a licensed and trained physician. It also allows counties to prohibit the sale of medical marijuana in that individual county. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will have strict regulations on harvesting, processing, and dispensing to ensure that marijuana is not smoked – even for medical purposes – and not used recreationally. SB 158 will be considered by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee next year.

HB 2119 – Education savings accounts

A bill that would have allowed students to take their base state aid with them to private schools under several circumstances passed the House but died in the Senate. It was part of a broad bill that included school funding and a proposal to expand taxpayer-subsidized scholarships to attend private school. The education savings accounts were ultimately removed from the legislation. They are expected to return next year.

SB 287 – Medicaid Expansion

Efforts to expand Medicaid this session again fell short in the House and the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes tried to amend a bill to expand Medicaid, but it was defeated 23-12. Democratic Rep. Brett Parker tried a similar approach in the House, but his proposed amendment to the state budget was voted down 78-46. The Governor even introduced SB 287 which proposes to pay for Medicaid expansion through the authorization of medical marijuana. As one of the Governor’s top priority the issue will be in 2022.

SB 84 – Sports Betting

The Senate voted 26-12 to pass a bill authorizing the state’s four casinos to contract with the Kansas Lottery to manage and operate a sports book on behalf of the state. The House took a very different approach that would have allowed betting at the state’s four casinos and 1,200 lottery retailers statewide as well as authorized a revote to allow slot machines at the dog track in Sedgwick County. However, the House failed to forward a bill and we expect the issue to return next session.

Tax Credits and Exemptions

Several tax proposals have been held over for the 2022 legislative session.  Some of the top issues include:

  • HB 2445, a property tax exemption of for-profit health clubs who argue they unfairly compete with nonprofit or local units of government health clubs Its provisions were added to a bill during the final hours of the veto session and became very controversial. The Senate ultimately rejected the provisions and instead lawmakers settled on a post audit study to look at the impact of nonprofits and local government competing with for-profit companies.
  • HB 2219-TARGET Tax Credit bill-tax credit for hiring intellectually disabled individuals passed the House 123-1 but the Senate Commerce Committee failed to take it up. This bill will be pursued during the 2022 Session.
  • HB 2315-Provides a tax credit for contributions to tech colleges. The bill passed the House and was heard in the Senate Assessment and Tax Committee but stalled in committee.  Expect this bill to be pursued during the 2022 Session.
  • HB 2328 and SB 282-Aviation Tax Credit. Both bills were heard by both the House and Senate Commerce Committees.  HB 2328 has passed out of the House Commerce Committee and SB 282 was passed out by the Senate Tax Committee. Efforts were made to these to a tax conference committee failed. These credits will most likely be pursued in 2022.

House Sub for SB 91Student Liability for Work Based Learning

A conference committee was formed on SB 91 but was never called to meet.  The bill proposes liability protection for businesses that participate in high school work-based learning programs and clarifies USDs are responsible for carrying coverage for the students by treating high school work-based learning programs like other school sponsored events and authorizes schools to purchase insurance coverage for students participating in the activity. Seen as critical component to career exploration this issue remains a top business priority and will be back next session.

HB 2264 – Profiting from Likeness: Student-athlete endorsements

A bill allowing college athletes to profit from their names, likenesses and images died in the Senate this session. The legislation is seen as vital for keeping Kansas college athletics competitive. Fourteen states have already passed similar legislation, including two signed into law last week. It is rumored this bill is tied to the legislation banning transgender girl and women athletes from participating in interscholastic sports for females, which became a roadblock for this bill passing this session.

Discrimination

Bills deemed discriminatory in nature continue to pop up every year and have concerned issues such as sports, tourism, voting and even adoption bills.  We expect the same for 2022 with additional discussion on gender sports and election laws pending.

Covid Relief/Vaccine

In 2022 we are assured to see lingering Covid issues being addressed such as who may require vaccinations and whether proof of vaccination will be required for work and to attend school.  We also know there will be additional discussion on how to best utilize and spend the federal recovery dollars coming into the state. And we cannot forget about all the issue still plaguing the KS Unemployment Trust Fund.  The 2022 Legislative Session may have as many Covid issues to consider as the 2021 session.

For a comprehensive analysis of all legislation passed during the 2021session click here.

Celebrating National Travel & Tourism Week!

National Travel & Tourism Week is well underway. Be sure to share your photos and activities with office@tiak.org and let us know how you are showcasing your community.

“Donut underestimate the Power of Travel!”

Visit Kansas City, Kansas Director, Alan Carr, delivered donuts to the Wyandotte County delegation in honor of National Travel & Tourism Week.

 

National Tourism Week Across Kansas

National Tourism Week Across Kansas

May 2-8, 2021 marks the 38th annual National Tourism Week (NTW) celebration. It’s a time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal well-being.

While NTW celebrations were held virtually in 2020 as travel buckled under the growing rise in Covid cases, this year we are hopeful that this industry is taking a turn for the better. As such, we are proud to be a part of the #PowerOfTravel and know that our Kansas communities play an essential role in rebuilding our industry and the U.S. economy.

Let’s take a peek at the monumental impact travel has on the Kansas economy:

  • $7.3 billion was spent by 36.5 million visitors to Kansas in 2019
  • Visitor spending has increased $775 million since 2015
  • 15¢ of each visitor dollar is spent in a Kansas retail store
  • A traveler is worth $200 per day to Kansas
  • Overnight visitors represent 40% of all visits to Kansas
  • $613 million in new capital investment for tourism projects
  • 66,007 direct tourism jobs in Kansas
  • Each Kansas household would be taxed an additional $600 to replace the tax revenue generated by tourism

Source: Economic Impact of Tourism in Kansas 2019, Tourism Economics

To celebrate this important industry and take part in NTW activities across the U.S., here’s a quick glance at what some Kansas communities are doing during National Tourism Week!

Kansas City, KS: Visit Kansas City Kansas plans to share information and statistics on the power of tourism via social outlets the week of April 26. Then throughout National Tourism Week, they will be posting spotlights on various industry partners linking back to a blog on their website. The blog and spotlights will feature ways our partners pivoted and saw community support in 2020, and what they are looking forward to with travel coming back in 2021. Lastly, they will be delivering donuts to various partners and stakeholders throughout the week of NTW, with stats on tourism’s impact on KCK/Kansas and a note that says something similar to, “Donut underestimate the Power of Travel!”

Shawnee, KS: Lt. Governor David Toland is the invited guest speaker at Visit Shawnee’s “Turn the Page” Celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week on Thursday, May 13, 2021, at the Pavilion at Theatre in the Park, 7710 Renner Road.

Olathe, KS: Join the Olathe Chamber of Commerce as we celebrate tourism week virtually through a networking coffee.  Meet our chamber members and hear about how tourism impacts our community on Thursday, May 6 at 9am.  For more information and the zoom link, visit olathe.org.

Merriam, KS: The Passport to Merriam will launch during National Tourism Week, inviting locals and visitors to #ExploreMerriam. In addition, the Visitors Bureau will be making special deliveries to front line hospitality workers to thank them for their tireless efforts in serving guests to Merriam.

Trego County: It’s time to hit the road to explore Trego County and join the 36 million tourists who visit our state each year! This May 2-8, we’ll be celebrating National Travel & Tourism Month. Tourism is a vital piece of the Kansas economy, supporting 66K jobs and contributing $7.3 billion to the state’s economy, a $775 million increase since 2015! We believe our residents are our best ambassadors, so we’ve created the #TourTrego challenge to help spread the word about all the great things to see and do in Trego County. It’s a fun, interactive way for you to enjoy our county by sharing your best selfies on your Facebook page along with the hashtag “#TourTrego.” Each time you do, your name will be entered in a drawing for $50 in Wampum bucks to spend at one of WaKeeney’s businesses. We’ve put together a list of the most popular places to explore around our county to help you get started. Click here for more information on how you can #TourTrego.

Council Grove, KS: While not officially during tourism week, Council Grove is gearing up to celebrate the Santa Fe Trail 200th! The Historic Preservation Corporation and Trail Days Historic Site will be presenting a Santa Fe Trail 200 event on Sunday September 12, at 2:00 p.m. in the Council Grove High School Auditorium.  Slawomir Dobrzanski, chair of the Keyboard Department of Kansas State University, will be presenting “Amazing Classical Music on the Santa Fe Trail” related to the 1861 Rawlinson-Terwilliger stone home, a Certified Historic Site and Interpretive Site on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. The music will include a classical version of “Home on the Range,” authentic Native American music, and music from the 1800s played in ethnic countries of the early settlers who built and lived in the stone home and who represent the ethnic foods served in the Trail Days Café & Museum. Call: (620)767-7986 for reservations. Seats are $15.00 each and proceeds go to the Trail Days Historic Site projects.

If you’re not sure how to participate in National Tourism Week, it’s easy! Here’s a few ideas:

  • Share social media posts on tourism’s impact in your community!
  • Host a giveaway of locally made products for visitors stopping by your local chamber, visitors’ bureau or city hall.
  • Invite local elected officials for coffee while you discuss how tourism benefits your destination.
  • Ask your Mayor or Council to issue a proclamation to officially recognize May 2-8, 2021 as National Travel and Tourism Week.
  • Create an itinerary for a weekend getaway in your destination and invite employees, local residents and visitors to suggest their favorites. Highlight each location throughout the week on social media channels.

To learn more about the history and importance of National Tourism Week, visit www.ustravel.org.