The Kansas legislature returns from a five-week spring break to wrap
up the 2013 legislative session on Wednesday, May 8. And if they want to
keep to an 80-day session, the legislature will need to close by
Monday, May 13.
To avoid extending the session past 80 days both chambers will have
to agree to both a tax plan and a budget. Traditionally, the Veto
Session is a quick two- or three-day event that allows the legislature
to review and, in some cases, attempt to override, any vetoes signed by
the governor. In recent years, these last few days have been devoted to
crafting a state budget. One of the main components of this year’s
budget is the April Consensus Revenue Estimate. This estimate revised
the November numbers and allows for a better FY 2014 picture. This year
not much has changed. The estimators found an increase of around $30
million from the FY 2013 numbers but a small decrease of $10 million for
FY 2014. So the estimate for revenue projections increased by $20
million for the remained of FY 2013 and FY 2014.
Decent news that should help both chambers close out the session.
However, the Senate still needs the House to decide on extending the 1
percent sales tax. Extending the sales tax has been a top priority of
the governor because it will help offset some of the tax cuts passed
last session. Without the sales tax extension higher education is sure
to see a larger than anticipated cut to funding. Other state funded
programs will also feel the pinch.
On the budget side, Gov. Brownback has recommended several items be
added to his original budget. They include $16 million to reduce the
waiting list on medical services, sweep $9.5 million from the Children’s
Initiative fund back into the state general fund and provide $422,000
to fund the 14th Court of Appeals position, which has remained vacant
for several years. Starting July 1, 2013, the governor will be able to
appoint a person to fill the position with Senate confirmation. The
governor’s largest addition is the $202 million in bonds to help pay for
Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan.
Besides budget/tax issues both chambers will be working on the
omnibus liquor bill to correct some serious flaws before it takes
effect. Liquor in the Capitol is one of those issues.
Finally the Kansas Legislative Research Department has released two
2013 legislative summaries. These are great resources to find new laws
by specific category and they can be found at http://www.kslegislature.org/li.
For more information and to find other bills please review the updated Bill Tracking Chart