Community Supervision

Lindsay Archer
Research Analyst

Meredith Fry
Research Analyst

Natalie Nelson
Principal Research Analyst

In Kansas, three entities comprise the community supervision structure: Court Services, Community Corrections, and Parole Services.

Parole Services supervises offenders released from Kansas correctional facilities on parole, post-release supervision, or conditional release. This article will focus on the functions of Court Services and Community Corrections and how they compare to each other.

Court Services

One of the duties delegated to the Office of Judicial Administration (OJA) by the Kansas Supreme Court includes trial court support. Court Services Officers (CSOs), often referred to as probation officers, supervise a large population of lower-risk offenders in Kansas.

The purpose of Court Services is to carry out the orders of the district court in a timely, professional, and ethical manner, consistent with community interests. The roles and duties of Court Services and its personnel are governed by state law, administrative rule, and local court policy. According to the Kansas Association of Court Services Officers, the CSOs’ primary role of service is accountability to the court and the court process.

The duties of CSOs vary. In general, CSOs supervise the probation of adult and juvenile offenders, work with children in need of care, research and write pre-sentence investigation reports, and perform other duties as directed by the district court.

Community Corrections

Community Corrections seeks to supervise and assist high-risk people convicted of felony offenses to address substance abuse and mental illness. Community Corrections focuses on public safety, helping people make changes to reduce criminal behavior, and reducing admissions to prison facilities. Community Corrections is a state and local partnership in which county departments are funded by the State through grants from the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC).

Community Corrections is composed of county employees working under the direction of local boards of county commissioners who supervise higher-risk adults and youth assigned by the court for intensive supervision probation.

Court ServicesCommunity Corrections
Governing BranchJudicialExecutive
Associated AgencyOJAKDOC
County – StateStateCounty
Crime LevelLow-risk Felony Probation; Misdemeanor ProbationModerate and High Risk

Felony Probation

Dual Supervision Legislation

An issue that has arisen with the current supervision structure in Kansas is how to resolve conflicts that may occur when an offender is ordered to be supervised by multiple entities due to multiple convictions.

In response to a recommendation made by the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission in December 2021, the 2022 Legislature passed SB 408, which provides guidance for the consolidation of supervision into one supervision entity or agency for an offender under the supervision of two or more supervision entities or agencies.

The bill amended the statute governing transfer of supervision of persons on parole, on probation, assigned to a Community Corrections program, or under a suspended sentence to allow the district court where the defendant is currently being supervised to use the guidelines to determine whether it is appropriate to transfer jurisdiction of the defendant to a different district court or retain the jurisdiction.


In 2022, the Judicial Branch reported to the Legislative Budget Committee that the 2021 Legislature provided it with funding to hire 70 additional CSOs. Those positions were filled, and the retention rate for those positions, and CSOs in general, was reported as high.

The Judicial Branch has stated that it is better situated to meet the statutorily mandated duties CSOs must perform, in addition to new criminal justice reform duties, locally originating duties, and other services CSOs provide that are designed to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

Subsequently, KDOC stated that Community Corrections was unable to compete with the higher wages that Court Services could provide to CSOs, which would negatively impact retention of Community Corrections officers, and, ultimately, offender recidivism.
The Legislature added $2.6 million from the State General Fund (SGF) in FY 2022 and $8.4 million SGF for FY 2023 for the purpose of salary increases among Community Corrections agencies, as reflected in SB 267.

See the 2023 Briefing Book article “Board of Indigents’ Defense Services and Judicial Branch Budget Increases” on page 61 for more information.

Wind Turbine Light Mitigating Technology

Lindsay Archer
Research Analyst

Heather O’HaraPrincipal Research AnalystHeather.O’Hara@klrd.ks.gov785-296-7792

In 2021, Kansas was ranked among the top five states in total wind energy generation, with the third-largest share of electricity generated from wind power, following closely behind Iowa and South Dakota. In early 2022, the state had nearly 8,250 megawatts of installed wind generating capacity.

Wind turbines have certain safety requirements in place to ensure they can be seen at night. One requirement is the installation of red lights on turbine blades, which present as circulating red dots in the horizon.

As the number of wind turbines increase, so do the number of red lights visible in the night sky. New technologies have arisen to mitigate potential lighting concerns, such as Aircraft Detection Lighting Systems (ADLS).


Aircraft Detection Lighting Systems, sometimes referred to as Aviation Detection Lighting Systems, are radar-based systems that prevent wind turbine lights from turning on unless an aircraft is approaching or descending toward a wind facility. With ADLS, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires lighting to be activated and flashing if an aircraft is at or below 1,000 feet above the tallest wind turbine and is approaching a 3-mile perimeter around the facility.

FAA Approval/Standards

The FAA has issued guidance to wind developers to ensure aviation and wildlife safety regarding turbine lighting and visibility in its Advisory Circular AC/7460-1M titled, “Obstruction Marking and Lighting” ( dated effective November 16, 2020.

The Circular includes standards for turbine paint for all turbines and light color and strobe specifications for turbines at or greater than 500 feet above ground level. All vendors offering light mitigating technologies must be certified by the FAA, and every project requesting such technology must submit a request to the FAA, which evaluates each request on a turbine-by-turbine basis.

The FAA may deny the request based on factors such as proximity to military training areas, airports, or low-altitude flight routes.

As of October 2022, ADLS is the only FAA approved light mitigating technology available to wind projects.

Light Mitigating Technology in Other States

Multiple states have instituted light mitigation requirements for wind turbines in recent years, among them are Colorado and North Dakota.


Colorado’s SB 22-110, effective August 10, 2022, applies prospectively and requires new wind-powered energy generation facilities to install light mitigating technology if vertical construction of the first turbine in the facility began on or after April 1, 2022. The bill defined technology as FAA-approved sensor-based systems that are designed to detect approaching aircraft and that deactivate when it is safe to do so.

North Dakota

North Dakota’s Public Service Commission established rules requiring turbines constructed after June 5, 2016, to have light mitigating technology. Enacted legislation soon followed in 2017 requiring every wind energy conversion facility that had been issued a certificate of site compatibility by the Commission before June 5, 2016, to be equipped with a functioning light mitigating technology system that complies with Commission rules by December 31, 2021.

Emerging Technologies

Though ADLS is the only FAA-approved light mitigating technology currently available, new technologies may soon be used more widely. Companies have emerged offering alternative technology that dims FAA-approved obstruction lighting fixtures when the prevailing visibility conditions are favorable, returning the lights to full intensity when visibility conditions lessen or deteriorate.

It is unclear whether or when this type of technology will be approved by the FAA, and, if approval is received, whether FAA standards will need to be amended to accommodate for the addition.

Tracking Broadband Availability in Kansas

James Fisher
Managing IT Analyst

Kate Smeltzer
Research Analyst

Heather O’Hara
Principal Research Analyst

Education, precision agriculture, and health care are just a few of the possibilities broadband internet enables, and a lack of connectivity can impact the economic well-being of individuals across the country.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in 2021, 23.36 percent of rural residents lacked fixed broadband with download speeds of 25 megabits per second (mbps) and upload speeds of 3 mbps (25/3) and fourth generation wireless networks (4g) with advertised median speeds of 10/3.

Further, the FCC has acknowledged that past maps are not as granular and accurate as policymakers would like. This means the published statistics on availability could be very different and could potentially impact funding for expansion of broadband.

Broadband Maps

The current broadband availability map is created using FCC Form 477 data. This form is used to collect information on the deployment of broadband and telephone services from service providers at a census block level. If a single home in a census block is reported as being served, then the entire census block will appear as though it was served in some capacity.

The map above shows the number of fixed residential broadband providers (including cable, fiber, fixed wireless, satellite, and ADSL) in a given area of the state. It indicates that over 99.0 percent of the state is served by 3 or more providers offering speeds of at least 25/3.

In 2018, Connected Nation, a nonprofit organization, engaged with the Information Network of Kansas to develop a statewide broadband map. The data collected was more granular than FCC form 477 data, but had other issues, which include:

10 providers refused to participate;
6 providers were non-responsive; and
2 providers submitted granular data for only 1 of the services they offered.

The map is shown here:

At the time, Kansas had 88 broadband providers, and 70 submitted granular/location level data. In instances where a provider did not participate, form 477 data was used. The Connected Nation data shows 17.0 percent of Kansans do not have access to broadband internet with speeds of at least 25/3 when only relying on the provided granular data. If the supplemented Form 477 data is included, this number drops to 3.4 percent.

Changes to Federal Data Collection

In June 2022, the FCC began collecting information from broadband providers about the precise locations where their services are provided. The window to collect this more granular data closed on September 2, 2022.

On September 12, 2022, the FCC opened up a challenge period for states, tribal governments, and local governments to review the data collected. The FCC released pre-production drafts of the new National Broadband Map on November 18, 2022. The Map uses more granular, specific location-level information about broadband service.

The release of this pre-production map also starts the public challenge period. The FCC has encouraged the public to test and submit ISP speeds using the updated FCC Speed Test App.

The pre-production residential services map of Kansas indicates the state is 100.0 percent covered by providers with an advertised speed of at 25/3 or greater. If only examining providers using terrestrial technology (excludes satellite and cellular technology, but includes fixed wireless), the percentage of the state covered by 25/3 or greater is 98.8 percent (see map below). The Office of Broadband Development (Office), within the Kansas Department of Commerce has expressed concerns of the inadequacy of the pre-production map, and noted it overestimates available service.

What This Means for Broadband in Kansas

More accurate maps could help give a better idea where grant funding should be utilized to incentivize the build out broadband infrastructure. These incentives are relevant to businesses considering service in less dense areas, where it is challenging to recover the cost of establishing the service.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Rural Kansas

Kate Smeltzer
Research Analyst

James Fisher
Managing IT Analyst

Electric Vehicle Adoption and Industry Growth

Globally, the automotive industry plans to invest $330 billion in electrification by 2023 and offer up to 130 electrified vehicle models in the United States. Nationally, hybrid vehicle sales in 2021 comprised 5.4 percent of total sales, and Zero Emission Vehicles, such as plug-in hybrids, and fuel cells, represented 4.1 percent.

Historically, successful new technologies, like television, cellphones, and LED light bulbs, were slow to sell until they reached the 5.0 percent adoption rate, at which point adoption began to occur at a much higher rate as demand become unpredictable.

The increasing demand for electric vehicles could also lead to a demand for more charging stations to help power these vehicles and alleviate driver “range anxiety,” as they would be capable of driving further without fear of running out of power for the vehicle.

As of 2022, nearly 6,763 electric/hybrid vehicles are registered in Kansas. This is less than 1.0 percent of vehicles registered in the state. Kansas will play a role in the expansion of charging station infrastructure in order to facilitate interstate travel and commerce.

Charging Station Expansion and Funding

It is estimated that $39.0 billion in investments are needed by 2030 for public charging infrastructure to meet the accompanying demand for electric vehicles in the United States.

As of 2022, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), an association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies, has invested nearly $3.7 billion in programs and projects to accelerate the electronic vehicle (EV) charging station infrastructure implementation process. The EEI estimates nearly 140,000 EV fast- charging stations will be needed to accommodate the projected 26 million EVs that are expected to be on U.S. roads by 2030.

In December 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Energy created a new department called the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Office), which will support and ensure production of electric vehicle charging networks nationwide.

In February 2022, the Office announced that $5.0 billion will be made available for electric vehicle charging under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, which was established in the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act.

As of September 27, 2022, all 50 states including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have been approved to move forward with the construction of EV fast-charging stations covering approximately 75,000 miles of highway across the country.

The NEVI Formula funding can also be used for other projects that are directly related to charging of a vehicle, such as:

  • Upgrade of existing and construction of new EV charging infrastructure;
  • Operation and upkeep costs of EV charging stations;
  • Installation of on-site electrical service equipment;
  • Community and stakeholder engagement;
  • Workforce development;
  • EV charging station signage;
  • Data sharing activities; and
  • Mapping analysis.

Kansas EV Charging Programs and Funding

On September 16, 2022, the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Charge Up Kansas NEVI plan was approved and is set to receive $39.5 million over the course of the next five years. This program will include direct current fast chargers as well as EV charging corridors.

In Kansas, the corridors included will reside along I-70, I-35, I-135, U.S. 400 and U.S. 81 from I-70 north to the Nebraska state line.

When completed, approximately 1,600 miles of Kansas interstates and highways will have fast charging stations available for public use.

Traffic Enforcement Using Cameras

Jill Shelley
Principal Research Analyst

Eric Adell
Research Analyst

Cameras are statutorily authorized for use by municipalities in 36 states and the District of Columbia for enforcement of traffic laws, most commonly in enforcement related to speeding, full stops at red lights, and passing school buses that are stopped with the stop arm extended. State laws authorize municipalities or certain municipalities to use such cameras under certain circumstances. Toll agencies, including the Kansas Turnpike Authority, also use video enforcement for toll collection.

Kansas law is silent on the use of cameras to enforce any statutes included in the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways or similar city ordinances. Bills have been introduced, but not enacted, in Kansas in recent years to authorize cameras on school buses to identify any vehicle passing a school bus stopped with the stop arm extended and lights flashing: 2021-2022 HB 2154, 2019-2020 SB 472 and HB 2532, 2017-2018 HB 2040, and 2016 HB 2470.

Proponents generally state camera enforcement can help reduce behaviors that put lives and property at risk and act as a force multiplier for law enforcement agencies. Opponents have stated enforcement without a law enforcement officer present is unmerited and enforcement from images could be used for surveillance or to raise revenues for the local government.

Costs of Crashes

The map on the following page shows the uses for which states authorize traffic enforcement cameras.

Information in the 2020 Kansas Traffic Crash Facts Annual Accidents Facts Book published by the Kansas Department of Transportation ― which notes 52,469 total crashes, 426 fatalities, and 15,997 people injured in 2020 ― includes the following about types of violations that traffic cameras are most frequently used to enforce in other states:

  • Estimated costs of $6.2 billion for 30,386 crashes involving driver infractions;
  • 4,599 crashes that were speed related, 88 fatalities, 2,071 injured, with associated economic costs of $1.6 billion; and
  • 1,275 crashes in work zones, 2 fatalities, 409 injured, and associated costs of $110 million.

Each crash can have more than one contributing factor, but driver inattention was most common (11,397 crashes). Other top driver contributing circumstances noted were right of way violations (No. 2, noted for 5,901 crashes), driving too fast for conditions (No. 3, 3,978 crashes), and running a red light (No. 12, 1,185 crashes).

School bus violations. The April 2022 Kansas One Day Stop Arm Violation Count found, for the 2,669 buses of 184 districts participating, 882 instances of a vehicle passing when the stop arm was extended.

State Policy Choices

States crafting policy for use of such cameras have many policy choices, such as:

  • Which entities can use camera enforcement;
  • In what capacities contractors can be involved;
  • Whether a traffic violation documented with use of a camera will be a criminal or a civil offense;
  • Whether a law enforcement officer or another type of government employee must review images before notices of violation are sent;
  • Whether information about camera-enforced violations can be used for insurance purposes or determining whether the driver’s license should be restricted or suspended;
  • Whether the images can be used for any purpose other than enforcement of the specific violation;
  • What elements must be present in, or omitted from, the image (e.g., an image of the driver);
  • The image retention period; and
  • Whether and how information is made available to drivers about the presence of enforcement cameras.

Additional sources include:

Authorized Use of Cameras for Law Enforcement in the U.S.

Autonomous Vehicle Regulation

Eric Adell
Research Analyst

Jill Shelley
Principal Research Analyst

“Autonomous vehicle” is a term used to define a vehicle capable of operating without the intervention of a human driver and with the use of an automated driving system (ADS). A vehicle with an ADS is designed to perform the entire dynamic driving task without human intervention within the operating conditions for that specific ADS, known as its operational design domain.

The term “dynamic driving task” refers to operational and tactical functions required to operate a motor vehicle on a highway in traffic. If an ADS-equipped vehicle cannot perform the dynamic driving task properly, it must come to a state of minimal risk condition (a safe state to which an ADS brings a vehicle when a failure renders the system unable to perform the entire dynamic driving task).

Prior to SB 313, enacted in 2022, no statute authorized operation in Kansas for autonomous vehicles, and actions by and equipment for a human driver were required, implicitly prohibiting the use of a vehicle with an ADS for both individuals and businesses within Kansas.

Autonomous Vehicle Legislation in Kansas

SB 313, a bill concerning autonomous motor vehicles, authorizes use of an ADS-equipped vehicle in autonomous mode if it meets certain criteria as defined by law. The owner of a driverless-capable vehicle who intends to use an ADS must submit a law enforcement interaction plan to the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP), and the vehicle must be registered and titled as driverless-capable.

It is also lawful for ADS-equipped vehicles to perform the dynamic driving task while a conventional human driver is present as long as the human driver can respond to requests to intervene, has a driver’s license and insurance, operates the vehicle according to manufacturer’s requirements, and can regain control of the vehicle when prompted.

The new law authorizes on-demand driverless-capable vehicle networks, which are transportation network companies (TNCs), to use driverless-capable vehicles for transporting people or goods. These include transportation for hire as well as public transportation. The provisions of the Transportation Network Company Services Act, as well as the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways, apply to driverless-capable vehicles to the extent practicable, but provisions that by their nature apply only to a human driver do not apply.

The bill also establishes an Autonomous Vehicle Advisory Committee to report activities and recommendations for use and regulation of ADS-equipped vehicles by July 1 of every year, starting in 2023 and ending in 2027. Its membership includes legislators, designees of certain organizations including trade and municipal organizations, and representatives of law enforcement and certain state agencies.

Legislation in Other States

All but six states (Alaska, Missouri, Montana, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia have legislation or executive orders regarding autonomous vehicles. Of the states authorizing testing or full autonomous vehicle use, 9 authorize use of autonomous vehicle technology through either executive orders or rules and regulations authority, and 27 have statutory authorization; California, Hawaii, and Washington authorize such use through both statutory and executive authority.

Authorizations in six states permit only a study, define terms, or authorize funding relating to autonomous vehicles. Twenty-one states regulate what is known as truck platooning, in which a human truck driver leads two or more trucks that are linked via vehicle-to-vehicle communications and following the lead truck closely. These trailing vehicles must have a conventional driver in the truck to intervene as necessary and operate the vehicle where platooning is not authorized or prudent.

The map above identifies states that have legislation or executive action that authorizes use of autonomous vehicles. This authorization can vary widely, from testing to full deployment without a human driver. Autonomous vehicle testing sometimes involves trials at private lots or at universities, but the majority of tests are conducted on public roads and highways with conventional drivers who can intervene as the vehicle operates.
A more complete description of state laws and executive actions regulating autonomous vehicles is available in the KLRD memorandum “State Regulation of Autonomous Vehicles.” (

Autonomous Vehicle Regulation in the U.S.

Streamlined Sales and Use Tax

Eric Adell
Research Analyst

Edward Penner
Senior Economist

The Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA) is a multi-state cooperative agreement intended to simplify the administration of state sales tax systems and encourage remote sellers to collect and remit sales and use taxes. Since 2003, 24 states have enacted SSUTA-conforming laws. Kansas was the first state with effective conforming legislation.

Historical Context

The SSUTA was an outgrowth of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, created in 1999 in response to questions over states’ right to collect sales taxes from remote sellers (out-of state and/or internet retailers). With the growth of internet sales, states were seeking to combat revenue losses resulting from the shifting sales tax base and ensure equity between remote retailers and brick-and-mortar stores.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in National Bellas Hess, Inc. v. Illinois (1967) that collection of sales tax required a retailer to have physical contact with the state, and in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (1992) that remote sellers, though liable for state sales taxes, could not be required to collect taxes where they lack sufficient physical presence, as requiring compliance with multiple state sales tax systems imposes an undue burden on interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause.

The SSUTA is an attempt in part to remove this burden by creating a streamlined and simplified tax system in which states and retailers could voluntarily participate.

Relevant Legislation and Recent Events

SB 472 (2002) and HB 2005 (2003) enacted provisions bringing Kansas into conformity with the SSUTA (KSA 79-3666 through 79-3682).

The Bellas Hess and Quill rulings were overturned in the 2018 South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. ruling that remote sellers can be required to collect sales tax if they have “sufficient economic nexus” in the state. South Dakota’s participation in the SSUTA was one of the reasons given by the Court as evidence the South Dakota law did not violate the Commerce Clause.

Kansas began requiring registration of remote sellers in 2019. Prior to 2021, Kansas was one of three states without a provision requiring marketplace facilitators (entities facilitating internet sales through a physical or digital marketplace) to collect and remit sales tax; 2021 SB 50 required marketplace facilitators with more than $100,000 of annual sales sourced into Kansas to collect and remit sales taxes.

Streamlined Conformity Requirements

To provide a simplified tax system, the SSUTA requires member states to agree to certain rules in the administration of their sales and use taxes. These requirements include, among other things, rules related to sourcing of taxable sales, uniform definitions, and the retention of certain proceeds by certified service providers.

Destination Sourcing

The SSUTA generally requires member states to adopt statutes requiring destination sourcing for sales tax purposes. This requirement means that for taxable sales where the purchased product or service is not received by the purchaser at the business location of the seller, the tax will be applied and collected as if the sale occurs where the product or service is received by the purchaser.

Uniform Definitions

The SSUTA includes a library of definitions and generally requires that, if a member state uses a term appearing in the library of definitions within its sales and use tax statutes, it must use the definition of that term provided for by the SSUTA library of definitions. This provision does not require a state to use all terms in the library of definitions, but does require uniformity in the definition of those terms if they are used.

Certified Service Providers

To reduce compliance burdens on remote sellers, the SSUTA provides for Certified Service Providers (CSPs) to perform sales and use tax functions on behalf of sellers. Member states are generally required to allow CSPs to retain 5 percent of the first $500,000 of tax owed to the state and 2 percent of all additional tax owed to the state each year. In 2021, CSPs retained $2.0 million of sales and use tax that otherwise would have been due to the state of Kansas.

Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Member States

Income Taxation of Social Security Benefits

Chardae Caine
Fiscal Analyst

Edward Penner
Senior Economist

Federal Income Tax Treatment of Social Security Benefits

Up to 50 percent of Social Security benefits are subject to the federal income tax if a taxpayer’s combined income, including 50 percent of Social Security benefits, exceeded a statutory threshold. The taxable amount is the lesser of 50 percent of benefits or 50 percent of the amount by which the combined income exceeded the statutory threshold.

A secondary threshold can result in as much as 85 percent of Social Security benefits being taxable. The Social Security Administration reports that approximately 40 percent of people receiving Social Security benefits must pay income tax on their benefits.

Kansas Income Tax Treatment of Social Security Benefits

Kansas uses federal adjusted gross income (AGI) as the starting point for the Kansas income taxation. Accordingly, income subject to federal tax is generally subject to the Kansas income tax. However, the Kansas Legislature created a modification to federal AGI for Kansas income tax purposes to exclude Social Security benefits from Kansas income tax after a certain threshold.

The Kansas exclusion of certain Social Security benefit income from Kansas income tax applies uniformly to taxpayers regardless of the taxpayer’s filing status. The chart on the next page illustrates the current threshold at which Social Security benefits become taxable in Kansas.

Kansas taxation of social security benefits.

Income Tax Treatment in Other StatesCurrently, 37 states have no income tax or do not include Social Security benefits in their calculation for taxable income. The remaining 12 states approach Social Security benefits in various ways.

  • Colorado allows taxpayers to subtract a portion of Social Security income if they are 55 or older. Taxpayers aged 65 and older pay no income tax on Social Security benefits.
  • Minnesota provides subtraction for taxpayers with income below $81,180 filing single, or $103,930 for those filing jointly.
  • Missouri allows full exemption if the taxpayer is 62 years of age or older and has income less than $85,000 filing single, or less than $100,000 for those filing jointly.
  • Montana does not have age or income stipulations. The state does encourage taxpayers to complete a worksheet to determine their state taxable amount.
  • Nebraska allows taxpayers below an indexed income level to deduct all federally taxable Social Security benefits. Income above that level must follow federal guidelines.
  • North Dakota allows taxpayers to deduct benefits if their AGI is less than $50,000 filing single, or less than $100,000 for those filing jointly.
  • West Virginia exempts benefits for taxpayers whose income does not exceed $50,000 filing single, or $100,000 for those filing jointly.

Recent Kansas Legislative Considerations

The 2021 and 2022 Kansas Legislatures have considered legislation that would further or entirely exempt Social Security income; however, no such legislation has been enacted into law.

In 2021, the Senate Committee of the Whole twice advanced legislation that would have exempted all Social Security benefits from Kansas income tax.

In 2022, the Conference Committee for the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation and House Committee on Taxation advanced legislation that would have increased the threshold up to $85,000 for tax year 2023 and increase the threshold by $5,000 for all tax years thereafter.

Federal Tax Conformity

Edward Penner
Senior Economist

Lindsay Archer
Research Analyst

Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 42 apply a broad-based income tax. For the convenience of taxpayers and the state, as well as ease of legal application, many states incorporate substantial portions of the federal Internal Revenue Code (IRC) into their own state income taxes.

This incorporation, often referred to as tax conformity, may take several forms, such as the starting point for determining the tax base, utilizing federal provisions for deductions from income, or applying all or a portion of federal tax credits to state tax liability. Additionally, states may generally adopt federal conformity and then have specific modifications to that general provision.

Starting Point Conformity

Most states with an income tax use a reference to the IRC as the starting point for determining state income tax. The two primary options are either federal adjusted gross income (AGI) or federal taxable income. AGI incorporates the federal adjustments to gross income, such as educator expenses, student loan interest, alimony payments, and contributions to a retirement account. Taxable income incorporates those provisions as well as the federal standard or itemized deductions and personal exemption amounts.
Additionally, states may adopt “rolling conformity” to these provisions, which results in the state automatically using the current federal provision or adopting the federal provision as of a date certain, which results in the state disregarding changes to federal tax law made after the specified date.

Kansas uses rolling conformity of federal AGI as the starting point for determining the amount of income that will be subject to Kansas income tax.


For states that use federal taxable income as their starting point, the issue of deductions has largely already been addressed at the federal level. For states that use AGI as a starting point, the state may further consider whether to adopt conformity of some or all of the federal itemized and standard deductions.

Deductions reduce AGI to a lower amount to be used as taxable income. Taxpayers are generally required to choose between itemizing deductions based on specifically allowable expenses or taking a standard deduction, which allows the taxpayer to deduct a specific amount regardless of the amount of actual deductible expenses the taxpayer may have incurred.

Federal tax conformity by state.

Kansas allows taxpayers to either itemize or take a standard deduction. While the Kansas itemized deductions partially conform to the federal deductions, the provisions are not identical. Additionally, the Kansas standard deduction amounts differ from the federal amounts. Prior to 2021, Kansas taxpayers were only permitted to claim itemized deductions on their state tax returns if they itemized deductions on their federal returns.

Tax Credits

Many states partially adopt certain federal tax credits for purposes of state income taxes by virtue of conformity.

Kansas is one of 32 states that allows taxpayers to claim a portion of the federal earned income tax credit on their state returns. Kansas allows taxpayers to claim 17 percent of the federal amount.

Additionally, Kansas allows taxpayers to claim 25 percent of the federal child and dependent care credit on their state tax returns.

Modifications to Conformity

While Kansas does adopt general rolling conformity to federal AGI, the State uses provisions referred to as addition and subtraction modifications to limit some federal adjustments to gross income and provide additional adjustments that are specific to Kansas. These modifications largely relate to certain categories of retirement and Social Security income, interest income on government debt, and contributions to savings accounts for education and disabled individuals.

KPERS—Cost of Living Adjustments

Steven Wu
Senior Fiscal Analyst

Melissa Renick
Assistant Director for Research

Dylan Dear
Managing Fiscal Analyst

The majority of Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) pension plans are defined benefit plans, which provide a fixed, pre-established benefit for members at retirement.

Economic Changes

The value of fixed benefits can decrease over time due to changes in the economy, like inflation. The longer a retiree or beneficiary lives in retirement, the greater the effect inflation will have on how much purchasing power those benefits have.

In 2002, the average annual retirement benefit was about $10,000. The average annual inflation in the Consumer Price Index (CPI)–Urban over the 20 years since then is about 2.5 percent. The purchasing power of that $10,000 benefit is about $6,100 in 2022.

Cost-of-living Adjustments

Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) modify benefits to counteract the impact of economic changes like inflation. COLAs can be implemented either automatically or on an ad hoc basis.

Automatic adjustments occur on a regular, predetermined schedule and do not require additional action by the plan sponsor. These adjustments can be tied to an index, such as the CPI, or conditioned on investment performance or funding level.

In contrast, ad hoc adjustments do not occur on a regular basis and require approval of the plan sponsor or a delegating authority. In Kansas, that authority resides within the Legislature.

In June 2022, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators reviewed 100 public pension plans and found that 72 plans included an automatic COLA of some sort, while the remaining 28, including KPERS, had utilized ad hoc adjustments before.

COLAs in Kansas

KPERS plans have not included a COLA since the system was created, with three exceptions:

  • KPERS 2 included an automatic 2.0 percent COLA when it was created in 2007, but the authorizing statute was repealed in 2012.
  • KPERS 3 has a self-funded COLA of 1.0 or 2.0 percent, but that benefit is funded by the member through an actuarial reduction to the member’s lifetime benefit.
  • A 13th check benefit was paid to members from 1980 to 1987.

In total, the Legislature has approved both permanent and one-time ad hoc COLAs. The Legislature has not approved a COLA since 2008.As of the December 31, 2021, valuation, 11,261 members (10.0 percent of beneficiaries) met the criteria to receive at least one COLA since they retired. The remaining 90.0 percent have never received a COLA.

Cost and Funding of COLAs

The projected costs of implementing a COLA depends on the characteristics of the adjustment—automatic or ad hoc, one-time payment or permanent adjustment, base or compound adjustment, and so on.

When a COLA is approved, costs are funded through current employee or employer contributions. COLAs can be funded through a one-time payment equal to the change in the unfunded actuarial liability (UAL), or the cost can be amortized over a number of years.

CPI for All Urban Consumers, Midwest (CPI-U)

During the 2022 Session, several bills to implement a COLA were introduced to both the House and Senate. Those bills would have implemented a COLA in a variety of ways:

Automatic COLAs

One actuarial analysis estimated that a 2.0 percent automatic, compounding COLA would increase liabilities by 16.0 percent. Applied to KPERS, this would cost $5.5 billion to implement.

For example, 2022 HB 2583 and SB 401 would have implemented an automatic COLA for all retirees starting June 30, 2022. COLA increases would be tied to the CPI, ranging from no COLA, if the CPI increase was lower than 0.04 percent, to a 5.0 percent COLA, if the CPI increase was 3.5 percent or greater.

The projected cost for the bill was a $4.9 billion increase in the UAL. If funded over a 20-year period, the projected average annual cost would have been about $500.0 million.

Ad Hoc COLAs

According to the KPERS consulting actuary, the projected cost of a single ad hoc permanent adjustment of 3.0 percent based on the December 2021 valuation would total $545.9 million.

For example, 2022 HB 2584 and SB 402 would have provided a single, permanent adjustment for retirees before July 1, 2017. The adjustment would have been tiered from 1.0 to 5.0 percent, depending on how long the member had been retired. The projected increase in the UAL was $317.4 million. If funded over a 15-year period, the average annual cost would have been approximately $36.0 million.

13th Check

HB 2742 (2022) would have issued a one-time 13th check payment to retirees on or before July 1, 2022. The projected cost was $142.4 million.