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The End is Nigh

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Monday, April 2, 2018

 

Week 12 saw committee meetings end for the most part, and work begin on the floors of both chambers. The Senate passed its version of the state budget sans K12 funding. The idea is to wait until veto session before crafting the school finance fix and then see if anything is left for other increases (judicial pay raises).

The Senate also passed the Adoption Protection Act when they combined it with the Adoption & Relinquishment Act.  The KBA opposed the Adoption Protection Act and took no position on the Adoption & Relinquishment Act. The combined bill passed the Senate 28-12.

Rep. Susan Humphries did attempt to have the House concur on the Senate bill last Thursday, but that motion failed 58-64. The bill was then reconsidered so it could be sent to conference committee.  Rep. Finch, Ralph and Carmichael were appointed to the conference committee.  The KBA will monitor this conference committee closely and report back with updates.

See HB 2481 history here: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/hb2481/

The House K12 committee reported out a proposal to add another $500 million for schools over the next five years. This is far from what the study projected was needed to meet certain benchmarks but is enough to maintain current achievements. See: http://kansaspublicradio.org/kpr-news/kansas-republican-plan-would-boost-school-spending-500-million  See: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article207210479.html

For his part, Gov. Colyer has not directly supported the $500 million school funding proposal, but he hasn’t shied away from it either. Given his previous statements on school funding, one could predict he would sign the legislation should it reach his desk. See: http://kmuw.org/post/colyer-says-house-bill-meets-his-guidelines

A constitutional amendment to limit the Supreme Court’s power has been introduced in the Kansas House. HCR 5029 states that the financing of the educational interests of this state is exclusively a legislative power and cannot be altered or revoked by any state court. The resolution is something a newly formed non-profit, Kansas Coalition for Fair Funding, discussed last week after the K12 report was released. See: https://www.facebook.com/KASB.Topeka/videos/1688552407858201/

The House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings this week for the HCR 5029. Monday is an informational hearing, Tuesday for proponents and opponents and Wednesday will allow the committee to work the bill. To pass, the House needs to approve the measure with 84 votes, the Senate with 27.

Finally, the Kansas Legislature is quickly approaching Drop Dead Day, April 6th. This marks the last day to consider bills, except those vetoed by the Governor, omnibus appropriations bills and spending bills.  Both chambers will be working on the floor and in conference committee this week.

 

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