Day 90 + 12 = Veto Session
The Kansas Legislature returns from a four day weekend, hopefully regrouped and refreshed to make a final push to end the session. When they return, it will be Day 102, the 4th longest session in Kansas history. Both chambers still struggle with a tax plan, but the House has at least passed a school finance plan that adds $280 million over the next two years. The bill, HB 2410, has several very good policy pieces but many are concerned that funding levels are far from adequate. Should the Senate concur with HB 2410, it could be signed by the governor before the week is out. Then it just needs to be approved by the Kansas Supreme Court. Should the court strike it down, we can expect to be back for a special session.
The Kansas Senate returns to debate its version of school finance, and should they pass their plan, both chambers will most likely head to a conference committee to hammer out the details. The Senate will also leap head first into the conceal/carry debate. There appears to be a compromise that state hospitals, primarily metal health facilities, will be allowed to continue their exemption from conceal/carry laws going into effect July 1st. The big issue is whether universities will also be exempt.
It is important to note that the House school finance bill was nearly amended to put “teacher due process” rights back into state law. Currently, due process is established by contract between individual school districts and teachers. The KBA is concerned with this provision because this provision was added to a bill introduced, by the KBA, HB 2186. The Senate did not take kindly to that amendment and decided not to run our bill on the floor. If the teacher due process amendment had been included in the school finance bill, we could have stripped it from HB 2186 and moved our bill through the legislative process. Alas, that is not the case, and the Senate has “gutted” HB 2186 and replaced it with the Senate school finance plan.
Finally, Rep. Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane) announced his resignation earlier this session due to health issues. Last week his son-in-law Jesse Burris (R-Topeka/Mulvane) was elected to succeed him. Rep.-Elect Burris is a licensed Kansas attorney who worked at the Kansas Department of Health and at the Kansas Secretary of State’s office. He plans to commute during the workweek and return home on off days. This addition brings our lawyer/legislator number up to 15.
Some articles to interest:
http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article153058419.html - Wichita Eagle (Tax Plan);
http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article153007194.html - KC Star (Tax Plan);
http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/editorials/article152958544.html - KC Start (Judicial Branch Pay increases);
http://kansaspublicradio.org/kpr-news/kansas-lawmakers-go-legislative-overtime - KPR (Veto Session)