Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt isn’t dogmatic in his timeline for the Kansas Legislature to finish its school finance work, but he has reasons for asking for it to be done soon.
“From the standpoint of the state’s litigation team, it would be very helpful if we had roughly a month between the time the Legislature passes whatever it passes and the time the Supreme Court has said is the deadline for the state to file its legal briefs,” said Schmidt. “That would be about March 15 for the Legislature to act.”
The legal briefs are due April 15. Last session, the Legislature didn’t meet that deadline and Schmidt’s office asked for extra time. They’ll do that again if necessary.
“If they take longer than that, we’re going to accommodate whatever they do,” said Schmidt. “We have to.”
Schmidt notes that even when the Legislature votes in favor of a measure, the work on that bill is not done.
“There still are legislative clerks that have to process it,” said Schmidt. “That typically takes a handful of days. It has to be presented to the Governor. The Governor may sign it immediately or may deliberate for a number of days. Sometimes, there’s a question whether a Governor is going to sign the bill. Sometimes, even if a Governor signs a bill, the Governor has a signing statement or other interpretation that’s relevant to presenting what the Court is supposed to be reviewing.”
It also takes time for the legal staff to go back through the legislative record to divine what the precise intent of the Legislature is on a bill. This is lengthened somewhat in this instance because the Legislature has not retained its own legal counsel as it did in previous sessions, so the Attorney General’s office doesn’t have a single point of contact that can run down that Legislative paperwork the way it did in other years.