Governor Uses Line-Item Veto

Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed a measure tucked into a spending bill that would have allowed Kansas legislators to reconsider a decision not to join the state pension system for teachers and government workers.

The state constitution gives governors the power to veto individual items in spending bills even while signing them, and Kelly used it to strike what she called “an exclusive opportunity” for members of the Legislature that’s not available to other public employees.

State law currently requires lawmakers to decide when they are elected whether they will participate in the state pension system, a move that sets aside part of their salaries to help pay for their retirement benefits.

The law says that the decision – once made – cannot be changed.

The new provision would have allowed lawmakers to reverse that decision before their 2023 session begins in January.

Kelly questioned whether the IRS would allow such a change if the federal government reviewed it.