Capitol Comments Articles
Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Hears and Works Bills

Hearings (Feb. 20, 2024) - Today, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, chaired by Senator Beverly Gossage (R-Eudora), met today.  The committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 490, changing the optometry scope of practice.

The committee heard from the following conferees:


  • Todd Fleischer, Kansas Optometric Association
  • Shane Kannarr OD, Kannarr Eye Care
  • Derek Bryant, American Optometric Student Association
  • Kathleen Holthaus, OD
  • Jason Rogers, OD
  • William Wilk, Kansas Chamber of Commerce


  • Representative Bill Clifford (R-Garden City)
  • Mary Champion, KSEPS
  • Dr. Zack Unruh, OD MD

The committee met again in the afternoon to work the following bills:

  • Senate Bill 352, enacting the John D. Springer patient’s bill of rights to require hospitals to allow in-person visitation, adopt visitation policies and procedures and creating a civil cause of action for violation of such rights.  The committee added language clarifying that parents shall be allowed to be with those under 18 at all times.  The committee further struck lines 6-12 and 17-25 to stop hospitals from creating policies that restrict patient visitation. Senator Kristen O’Shea (R-Topeka) attempted to add language to backfill any federal funding lost due to state law change compliance, the amendment didn’t pass when a 4-4 tie committee vote was broken by Chair Gossage (R-Eudora).  The committee recommended the bill favorably as amended. 
  • Senate Bill 391, an act concerning public health, relating to infectious or contagious diseases; changing the authority of the secretary of health and environment and local health officers; naming the constitutional right to health freedom act; revoking the authority of the secretary to order individuals to isolate or quarantine and impose penalties for violations thereof.  The committee amended the bill to specify that the bill doesn’t impact the tuberculosis section of the statute, and also to allow the board of county commissioners to make orders to quarantine upon local health officer recommendations.
  • Senate Bill 433, Clarifying practice privileges of institutional license holders.