The Kansas Legislature has reached turnaround, which means that any bills that were not in an exempt committee and did not make it out of the house it originated in are supposed to be gone for the session, but that’s not always so, particularly when amendments can be made to any bills that are still alive.
“Often, the biggest issues are both exempt and don’t get resolved in the normal timeline,” said Tallman. “The budget is really kind of exempt from this. It is exempt bills and exempt committees. The very schedule is that each body kind of works on their own budget through mid-March.”
Though this is thought of as sort of the midway point of session, that’s not always so.
“We’ve been through basically two months, we have one month to go when they come back and then theoretically the short veto session,” said Tallman. “In past years, the veto session has gone on for weeks.”
There hasn’t really been movement on school funding yet and that is the domino that sort of knocks over all the others.
“The one thing that has to be done is respond to the court in some fashion and that’s a budget thing,” said Tallman. “On one hand, the court has set some pretty aggressive deadlines. The Governor had asked the Legislature to try to resolve school finance by now, really. The Attorney General has sort of gently suggested that he would like things resolved as soon as possible, but it’s not really shocking.”
A charitable interpretation of the facts would note that there are many House members who are new and they need to be educated before they know where they stand on the issue.
Perhaps that’s why a Senate committee is the one that has first set a hearing on school finance for Wednesday, March 6, even though offices are closed from Friday through Tuesday.