Syndicated to Kansas newspaper June 12, 2017
Martin HawverThe Legislature has gone home, the Statehouse is quiet, but the 113-day session of the Legislature isn’t over yet…by a long way…
It’s not over until all the legislation is signed by the governor and headed to the statute books; there are still major issues that we’ll not know for a week, maybe two, just how they worked out.
Sure, the tax increase bill has passed, the governor’s veto overridden, and those owners of LLCs may have to attend remedial classes for just how you go about paying Kansas income taxes, but that’s the simple stuff.
What’s ahead?
Well, the governor hasn’t dealt with that guns-in-hospitals bill yet, and a signature or a veto or just leaving it in the desk drawer until the end of the week will determine whether you get to carry your concealed-carry pistol into hospitals across the state, even the wards of the unfortunately designated “criminally insane,” to visit your friends.
If the governor vetoes that high-interest bill, which has the gun rights folks and the…well, the rest of Kansans split, you won’t have to leave your gun in the car when you visit hospitals. Oh, and your kids headed off to college might ask for a new sweater for this fall, and a pistol, since state universities won’t be able to post those cute little “no guns allowed” signs with any real consequence.
And, will public K-12 schools open this August? Not sure yet, the governor hasn’t signed the bill that is the Legislature’s effort to spend as little money as possible to meet the Kansas Supreme Court’s order to provide sufficient money to make sure all school districts can educate their charges to those confusing and vague “Rose Standards” for educational and social goals for public school students.
Lawmakers did their best to patronize the high court, with targeted appropriations for what the court repeatedly identified as the “25 percent of students” who can’t read and do mathematics as well as most Kansans want them to. Yes, lawmakers targeted funds at those kids, but the governor hasn’t signed the bill into law yet—though there is that expansion to individuals the ability to take big tax credits to a scholarship fund that will financially help parents who want to choose generally private schools to educate their children, which most believe will be the part of the bill he likes best.
Oh, and that K-12 issue, if the governor signs the bill, isn’t over until the Supreme Court finds the school plan constitutional, and that’s questionable because nobody is expecting the plaintiffs (that’s school districts) to sign-off on the bill’s provisions that increase total state aid by “only” $186 million for the upcoming school year and $283 million the next.
And, of course, there is the budget bill on which that House-Senate conference committee worked until nearly midnight for two days and then the House and Senate separately worked until nearly dark Saturday to pass…
Well, there are hundreds of pages of spending in the bill, and we’re thinking that while the governor won’t veto the entire tome, he likely will find an appropriation or two that he doesn’t care for and will line-item veto. Whether those vetoes of relatively small appropriations or direction of how money is to be spent may be negligible to most lawmakers, they just might hit a nerve that will spawn a motion to override.
We’ll know for sure by 10 a.m. June 26, whether the typically mostly ceremonial sine die adjournment of the Legislature turns out to be a social conversation about vacation plans or a chance to compare tan lines of lawmakers or a scrap to override vetoes, both of entire bills and those line items.
So…maybe don’t break out the straw hats, Hawaiian print shirts and flip-flops just yet…