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Veto Session Comes to an End

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The 2019 Veto Session ended around 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 5th. However, there still could be serious business conducted on Sine Die, which is set for Wednesday, May 29th. See; http://www.kansaspublicradio.org/kpr-news/session-recap-kansas-democrats-wield-new-power-gop-leaders-thwart-medicaid-expansion

The Veto Session was four days of dramatic standstill action focused on a filibuster type maneuver by Medicaid Expansion proponents in the House. The plan was to hold the state budget hostage and force the Senate to debate the expansion bill the House passed in March. The initial votes saw the slimmest of majorities deny the passage of the budget. See; https://www.kwch.com/content/news/Kansas-House-rejects-budget-in-Medicaid-fight-509462811.html; See also; https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/05/03/us/ap-us-xgr-kansas-legislature-the-latest.html

This put pressure of leadership to break the expansion coalition by reworking the budget and removing key pieces which some of those expansion supporters wanted. That tactic failed with more that 80 no votes on that budget. However, after sitting around for most of Saturday, May 4th, the coalition finally broke and the floods gates opened. House Sub for SB 25 (state budget) passed 79-45. Many of the moderates in the expansion coalition flipped once it was obvious the budget would pass. See; http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/sb25/

With the budget out of the way, both chambers set their sights on a tax cut bill. Gov. Kelly vetoed an earlier version of the tax cut which the legislature could not override. The legislature used the same bill number for the latest tax cut bill.  SB 22 would run about $240 million over three years. It would decouple the state from the feds on standard deductions starting in 2019, exempt foreign income starting in 2017, and ever so slightly reduce food sales tax burden. See; http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/sb22/

There is a good chance Gov. Kelly vetoes this bill as well. The message would be to look at a comprehensive tax policy change in 2020.

Should Gov. Kelly veto SB 22, the legislature may attempt an override on Sine Die. The override vote may not be the only vote taken by the Kansas Senate on May 29th. Sen. Ty Masterson (R-Andover) made a motion to pull SCR 1610 from Senate Judiciary. This will allow a vote to alter the merit selection process for the Kansas Supreme Court. See; http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/scr1610/

To appear on the ballot SCR 1610 would need 27 votes in the Senate and 84 votes in the House—a tall order for most legislative days—very difficult on Sine Die.

Finally, the Kansas Supreme Court will hear two other huge issues this Thursday, May 9th: the K12 lawsuit and the Court of Appeals hearing on selection of judges. The issues surrounding school finance are well document and many believe the new funding will end the lawsuit. The hearing on the Court of Appeals issue is also straightforward. It is a question of law. Who gets to pick? Gov. Kelly believes the pick remains with her (Kelly nominated KBA President Sarah E. Warner last week) while Senate President Susan Wagle believes the pick is now with Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. Chief Justice Nuss has recused himself from the proceeding and has no opinion on the matter.

You can find more information about the case here: http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/supreme-court/Cases_of_interest/Cases/121061/default.asp

Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  budget  SB 22  school finance  SCR 1610  selection of appellate judges  sine die  tax bill  veto session 2019 

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