Historic legislative session is done

Today is sine die in the Kansas Legislature, the last day of the session. Scheduled "at a convenient date" after the final adjournment, it can be largely ceremonial, though it also allows for any final veto override attempts. Today turned out to be largely ceremonial, as the Kansas Senate adjourned with little fanfare, leaving the House no avenue to override the Governor's last minute vetoes.

All that remains is to see if the Kansas Supreme Court strikes any part of the school finance law passed two weeks ago. Already the Court noted that it would allow the law to take effect while it deliberates, so as to not penalize districts by closing schools. The Court will hear arguments and make a decision, it is hoped, by the end of July. At that point, we will know if a special session of the Legislature will be needed.

The 2017 session was remarkable for the sea change experienced in Kansas politics. While the end results were not all we might have hoped for, stymied by the Governor's vetoes and his remaining ultra conservative allies, Kansas did return to some measure of fiscal sanity, some measure of responsibility for public education, and some measure of gun sense. And even though it did not ultimately succeed, the Legislature did vote to expand Medicaid, an effort that barely received lip service until this year.

We've said it a lot, and you'll hear us say it a lot more in the next year: 2018 is shaping up to be a pivotal election year for Kansas.

Today's final day also marked another notable moment. One new legislator, Jason Probst, of Hutchinson, was sworn in to replace Rep. Patsy Terrell, who passed away suddenly a few weeks ago. And Rep. John Wilson announced his resignation, to spend more time with his family. These would be the fifth and sixth legislators replaced just this session! Replacements are selected by precinct committee chairs in the legislator's districts. So do consider running for precinct chair next time someone asks!

Remember to do more than vote. Get informed. Get involved. Make a difference.

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