The Kansas Senate was all teed-up to debate two budget-centric bills last Thursday. One bill would raise some tax revenue; the other would cut K12 funding. However, Senate leadership decided to shelve the proposals. Many believe the K12 cuts put a damper on the total vote. Further muddying the water is the possible veto by the Governor. This makes a simple majority vote problematic. Many think a veto-proof majority would be needed to avoid the bill getting shoot down. The issue then is finding 27 votes among factions who differ drastically on how to balance the budget.
With no budget bills to debate, Senate leadership has decided to halt all other bills until some agreement can be reached. This means all bills currently sitting before the Senate will stay there. The turnaround deadline is 8 days away, so some bills will be killed for lack of action.
This gridlock has not slowed Senate committee hearings much at all. For instance, Senate Judiciary plans on working the entire week, something they have not done all session. Judiciary plans to hear 12 bills and work an unknown number on Friday. The Senate Fed/State committee will hear two immigration bills on Wednesday, Feb. 15th. Immigration issues have been on the minds of many in the Capitol these last few weeks, and now we get to hear what actions, if any, they plan to support. The KBA is monitoring these bills very closely.
On the House side, things are moving along nicely. The full House voted to approve HB 2041 extending the judicial branch surcharge fund. This bill merely extends the sunset date. The KBA advocated against removing the sunset because this surcharge fee was first proposed as a temporary stop gap measure.
House Judiciary has an equally busy schedule as they plan to hear ten bills this week. The KBA is deeply involved with HB 2245 which repeals large sections of a law put in place in 2016 requiring the Kansas Secretary of State to certify the list of lawyers eligible to vote in nominating commission elections. The KBA believes this law is overly burdensome and duplicative while allowing the possible release of personal information to the general public. The KBA is also concerned that eligible lawyers could be denied their right to vote in nominating commission elections. KBA will live-tweet the hearing and provide the testimony on our website.
Also, please find an updated bill tracking chart on the KBA website and new information regarding HB 2101 repealing common law marriages. The testimony from this hearing is now available on our website.