Kansas Legislative session ends, but it's not over yet

Last Friday, the Kansas Legislature wrapped up its regular session. As expected, however, all of the Legislature's business was not finished, and they will return on May 1st, after their three week Spring Break, to work on Medicaid expansion, the state's budget, and possibly education. Let us fill you in on some of the bigger issues wrapped up, and those left to finish.


The good news is that SB22, the tax giveaway bill that would have crippled the state's slow recovery from Brownback's tax policies was vetoed by Governor Kelly, and Legislative Leadership could not muster enough votes to overcome it. But the Mega spending and budget bills were not finished in time, and will be worked in the Veto session beginning May 1. There is still a lot of work to be done there, and we will continue to track how that goes.


In the final flurry of action this last week, the Legislature did manage to pass a public school finance bill. In the end, it closely matches what the Governor proposed back in January, with a few policy items added on. Governor Kelly signed it this weekend, and it will be presented by the Attorney General to the Kansas Supreme Court on April 15.

How SB16 got to this point is pretty interesting, but about as convoluted as it gets in the Kansas Legislature. It began as SB44, then SB142, then suffered a gut and go to become HB2395, then finally another to become SB16 (though actually House Sub for SB16), through contentious hearings, contentious floor votes, and fascinating conference committee meetings. (The audio of the Conference Committee between the Senate and the House was very entertaining for political junkies.) You can follow the path on our Legislative Tracker page, and here's a good summary article.

The end result though is that a bill to end litigation on public school funding is being presented to the Supreme Court. The Court's decision is expected before the start of school in August.

KanCare Expansion

You will remember that the House managed to get around their Leadership's opposition to bring a Medicaid Expansion measure to the floor, and subsequently passed it. Advocates for expanding healthcare access to 150,000 working Kansans faced the same barriers from Senate Leadership, but at the last minute, a motion was made in the Senate to bring the bill out of committee for a vote. That motion will be voted on when the Legislature returns on May 1. That means, of course, that your Kansas Senators, and Senate Leadership, need to hear from you during this three week break.

Other bills

This last week also saw action on some other bills. You can see more details at our Legislative Tracker.

Unfortunately, additional restrictions to women's reproductive health were passed and sent to the Governor. SB67 would require doctors to inform their patients of an untested procedure to reverse medical abortions, even if those doctors to not think the procedure safe or ethical.

In health care news, HB2209 was passed to allow the Farm Bureau to offer health care plans outside of the jurisdiction of the Kansas Insurance Commissioner (and likely in violation of Federal law), which would allow them to not cover pre-existing conditions (including pregnancy!), and to selectively choose or drop coverage. This bill was bundled with several other insurance related measures, and the Governor has yet to sign it.

In good news, a bill to allow 18 year-old Kansans to carry concealed weapons, while passed by the House, did not receive a vote in the Senate. And measures related to election reform passed, among them one to ensure absentee ballot voters have a chance to correct signature issues before their vote is thrown out, another to allow voters to vote at any polling location in their county, subject to a decision of the county election officer.

So what now?

The Kansas Legislature is on break for three weeks. During that time, they will be home, and it is an ideal opportunity for constituents like you to get in touch with them. Many are holding listening sessions, and they will continue to check their email. Visit our Actions page to see what you can do, especially on Medicaid Expansion, the one issue still pending.

Do more than vote.

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