KEPC UPDATE: Senate passes school finance, lottery compromise, gun debate, nothing new on tax bill

In this issue…
  • Senate passes school finance
  • Lottery compromise: extension for 15 years
  • Senate debates guns
  • Nothing new on tax bill
Senate passes school finance
The Kansas Senate passed its version of school finance Wednesday by a vote of 23 to 16.  The bill went to the Kansas House of Representatives which asked for a conference committee to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
The House has appointed its negotiators. The Senate negotiators have not been named as of this writing.
Lottery compromise: extension for 15 years
Without action by the Kansas Legislature, the Kansas Lottery’s legal authority to continue will lapse.  Legislation is in the works so that doesn’t happen.
A Federal and State Affairs conference committee has been working on the issue and has reached a compromise on differences between House and Senate Bills.  An earlier compromise was rejected by the House on Wednesday.
The new compromise is in House Bill 2313.  Here’s part of what’s in it:
  • The Lottery would not sunset again until the year 2037 (15 years from now)
  • The bill authorizes Lottery vending machines
  • Pull tab instant winner tickets could be dispensed in regular lottery dispensing machines
  • The Lottery will negotiate a shared fee to cover the cost of the machines with certain fraternal groups
  • The legislature’s staff is working with Lottery officials to draft the property language to make the compromise work
Senate debates guns
As of this writing, the Kansas Senate is debating House Bill 2278, which is the major gun bill of the session.
The bill would exempt certain institutions from a general requirement in current law that public buildings have adequate security measures in place before the concealed carry of handguns can be prohibited.
Those public buildings would be:
  • State or municipal-owned medical care facilities and adult care homes
  • Community mental health centers
  • Indigent health care clinics
  • Any buildings located in the district associated with the KU Medical Center.
Several amendments have been offered.
Nothing new on tax bill
As of this writing, we know nothing about what direction the House or Senate might be heading on raising revenue for the budget and school finance.  There’s not much new since earlier in the week when the House rejected a conference committee report that raised income taxes.  The Senate had passed the bill earlier.
A conference committee on taxes is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m., but may or may not talk about the income tax issue.
A hearing was held in the House Appropriations Committee on a plan (House Bill 2429) by a group of conservative legislators to balance the budget by changing the distribution of tax revenues from cigarette and tobacco products that would normally go to the Children’s Initiative Fund.
Bonds would be issued to fund the budget.  They would be paid off by diverting money from those tax revenues.
That’s seen as having very little chance of passage.