KEPC UPDATE: Monday return for education and budget, school finance fix, budget to senate, tax cut, adoption

In this issue …

  • Legislature returns Monday for education and the budget
  • House passes school finance “fix”
  • House sends budget bill to the Senate
  • About that tax cut
  • Adoption bill draws fire from high tech businesses


Legislature returns Monday for education and the budget

The Kansas Legislature returned to Topeka April 26 to work on education and the budget.  After tackling both of those issues in the House, lawmakers plan to return Monday morning.  Then it will be the Kansas Senate’s turn to work those issues.

They hope to end the session by Friday, May 4th.


House passes school finance “fix”

Working a rare Saturday, the House passed a “fix” for school finance by a vote of 92 to 27.  The bill, Senate Bill 61, corrected an $80 million error in a bill lawmakers passed in early April before taking their First Adjournment.

In an attempt to satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court, which has ruled the current school funding law unconstitutional, the bill does the following:

It provides a statement of public policy that requires a Local Option Budget (LOB) of at least 15 percent of a school district’s total foundation aid from the state.  That required LOB would be included in determining the adequacy of the amount of total funding.

Beginning in school year 2018-2019, the bill provides the following funding.

  • School year 2018-19 – $4,165 per student
  • School year 2019-20 – $4,302
  • School year 2020-21 – $4,439
  • School year 2021-22 – $4,576
  • School year 2022-23 – $4713

Here’s a link to the Legislative Research explanation of what’s in the bill.

Attempts to put more money into the formula failed during House debate.  Those who want to add more say the current funding is inadequate and will be rejected by the Kansas Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in May.

The bill now goes to the Kansas Senate.


House sends budget bill to the Senate

The Kansas House of Representatives also passed a bill that puts the finishing touches on the budget for next year. The vote was 92 to 24.

Often called the Omnibus bill, House Bill 2465 is sort of a catch-all spending bill that cleans up the budget.  The bill takes into account the April 20 consensus revenue estimates, which have been adjusted upward by over $500 million over the next two years.

The House version is HB 2365.

The Senate worked its version of the budget earlier in the session.  A conference committee will likely be appointed to work out differences between the House and Senate.


About that tax cut

A bill that began in the Kansas House as legislation dealing with appraisers has developed into an income tax bill in the Kansas Senate.  House Bill 2228 is now in a conference committee.

The major part of the bill allows individual income taxpayers to itemize deductions whether or not they itemize for federal income tax purposes.

Here’s a link to an explanation of the Senate version of the bill.

Although the Senate wants the bill, the House is reluctant to pass it because the cost is unknown.  Estimates range from $30 million to $90 million, but no one is certain.


Adoption bill draws fire from high tech businesses

A controversial bill having to do with who can adopt is currently in a House-Senate conference committee.  Many in the LGBTQ oppose the bill because they consider it discriminatory.

Now some big national technology companies are weighing in on House Bill 2481.

The bill was amended on the Senate floor to prohibit the Kansas Department for Children and Families and other state agencies from denying contracts to agencies that refuse placement on religious grounds.

The companies, including Apple and Google, have written to legislative leadership with their opposition, which has garnered national attention.

Here’s a link to an Associated Press story on the controversy that appeared in the New York Times Thursday.


Bill tracking

Here’s our latest bill tracking on measures we think are of interest to our readers.  All of these bills are held over from 2017.  As new bills of interest are introduced, I will add them to the list.

You should be able to click on the bill number and be taken to the Kansas Legislature’s web site page for that particular bill.  You will be able to see all actions taken, read the bill, and read any supplemental notes (layman’s descriptions) and fiscal notes (how much does the bill cost the state) that have been prepared.