About the Author
Joseph N. Molina III
Legislative Services Director
The Kansas Legislature ended the 2016 legislative session June 1. Sine Die is normally a formality but this year both chambers spent time approving a tax bill vetoed by Governor Brownback, voted on a transgender bathroom resolution and discussed possible solutions to the school finance decision which found their previous equity fix unconstitutional.
The tax bill is now law after both chambers, by near unanimous votes, overturned the governor’s veto. The tax bill now allows plaintiffs to have a de novo review of their cases at the district court level. At first glance this seems a simple solution but the back story deals with the sale of a large pizza company and a tax bill near $43 million. See; http://bit.ly/1sqIXd6
The Kansas Senate also approved a resolution condemning the federal government’s order to public schools on transgender student’s bathroom usage. The Kansas Attorney General will challenge the law in court.
The Kansas Senate also approved a resolution condemning the federal government’s order to public schools on transgender student’s bathroom usage. The Kansas Attorney General will challenge the law in court. The federal edict requires schools to allow transgender students to use the restroom of the gender they identify with, not their gender at birth. See; http://abcn.ws/1spFICI
Neither chamber chose to solve the school finance issue on the last day of the session. The Kansas Senate debated the idea in caucus with a number of potential solutions but in the end leadership decided not to press the issue. The mood was tense and many legislators are upset with the court for threatening to shutdown schools and some want to defy the court’s ruling.
For his part, the Governor stated that he “will work with the Attorney General and Legislative leadership to respond aggressively and appropriately to any action taken by the Kansas Supreme Court to close schools”. See; http://bit.ly/1TY8lQt; See also, http://bit.ly/1XkvC3b; and http://bit.ly/1Y4tJGI
The last big piece of the day was the failure to meet monthly revenue projections for the 10th time in 12 tries. Revenues are down $74.5 million for the month of May. This comes after the Consensus Estimating Group reduced these estimates significantly in April. This also comes on the heels of Governor Brownback cutting state budgets, higher education and transferring funds to have an ending balance of $21 million on June 30. The ending balance is now a deficit reaching $55 million, maybe more should June number trend downwards as well.
With the legislative session over, balancing the budget will fall to the governor. The most likely course of action would be to delay payments to K12 schools till after June 30th or cutting funds from various state programs like children’s funding, extraordinary need fund for K12 and KDOT. See, http://bit.ly/1O6F0UP; See also, http://bit.ly/1UjngBE; and http://bit.ly/1TRuzqe; and http://bit.ly/1RQHTUk.
To sum up, the state is now $55 million in the red, the legislature passed a tax bill that has the potential for a $43 million tax refund and the estimate to provide school equity is $38 million. The outlook is uninspiring.
June 1 also marked the deadline to file for legislative elections or withdraw from the election. A number of legislators decided this would be their last term, retiring on the last day of the session. Some prominent names include, Speaker Ray Merrick, Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast, Rep. Mark Kahrs, Rep. Tom Moxley, Senate Vice President Jeff King, Sen. Steve Abrams and Sen. Mitch Holmes.
If interested you can find those still in the race at the Kansas Secretary of State’s website http://www.kssos.org/elections/elections_upcoming_candidate_display.asp.
http://hrld.us/285Kaa6 - Miami Hearld