Monday, May 2, 2016

Kansas Legislative Update

Our thanks to the Working Kansas Alliance for this Legislative Update for 2016


The Kansas Legislature returned to work last week on Wednesday. They returned for the annual veto session. The week was full of conference committees where each chamber tries to work out their differences they have on certain bills.

On Friday the Commerce Conference Committee met. In the Conference Committee they inserted HB2576, the piece of legislation that would outlaw cities and/or counties from enacting fair scheduling ordinances into SB366. The intent of this measure is to thwart attempts by cities and counties to require more reasonable scheduling practices for workers, many of who are low-wage, part-time employees. They also inserted 3 other state preemption laws in SB366. All the preemption laws inserted into SB366 were ALEC model pieces of legislation written by corporate lobbyists. This bill would block local governments from implementing innovative ways to effectively address poverty and inequality in our communities. We are strongly opposed to this bill. The Conference Committee agreed to disagree.

Also on Friday the unthinkable seemed to happen, the Tax Conference Committee passed out a measure that would repeal the 2012 LLC tax cuts. The measure first went to the House Floor to be debated. Simply repealing the 2012 LLC tax exemption would not fix the revenue problems our state is facing, it is like applying a Band-Aid to a gunshot wound. When it came time to vote the bill failed, 45-74.

On Saturday SB366 came up for debate and a vote on the House floor. There was a lot of debate but unfortunately SB366 did pass the House. On Sunday SB366 came up for debate and a vote on the Senate floor. There was a long debate on the Senate floor, which mainly focused around how this bill is taking away power from local governments. Unfortunately the bill did pass the Senate with a final vote of 32-6. The bill now heads to the governor.

Also, late Sunday night and early Monday morning the House and Senate debated and voted on the budget bill. The budget itself relies on that Governor Brownback will make millions and millions in cuts to basic government services. The budget also will delay $100 million in payments to KPERS. We can expect that this payment “delay” to KPERS will never get paid back. It also assumes that the state will be left with about $27 million during the current fiscal year and $81 million next year. However as we have seen in the past revenues have consistently fallen short of projections and we can expect that revenues will continue to fall short under this budget because of Brownback’s failed tax and economic experiment. Unfortunately the budget passed both the House and Senate in the dead of night earlyMonday morning with a Senate vote ending around 3:30AM Monday.

This wraps up the 2016 Legislative Session.

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