KDP Weekly Roundup #3

Friday, April 5, 2019

Welcome to the KDP Weekly Rundown – the Kansas Democratic Party’s update of the biggest things going on in the Kansas Legislature. What are we focused on this week? School finance and more!

K-12 SCHOOL FUNDING

  • What’s happening?

After some Republican infighting during the conference committee, Kansas House and Senate negotiators finally agreed to a school finance plan. SB 16 is modeled after the Governor’s school funding proposal and maintains the $90 million increase for schools. It also contains a few minor education policy changes, such as a requirement for an online, one-page state performance report on each public school. The Supreme Court will revisit the Gannon case on April 15 to determine if the state’s funding plan adequately funds our schools.

  • What’s next?

The House approved the bill in a 76-47 vote and the Senate passed it 31-8 on Thursday evening. Gov. Kelly is expected to sign the bill into law.

FEDERAL TAXES

  • What’s happening?

Senate President Susan Wagle conceded on Wednesday that she did not have the votes to override Gov. Kelly’s veto of SB 22. Gov. Kelly vetoed the bill last week, saying the bill “would throw our state once again into a self-inflicted budget crisis.” This bill would have detached the state’s tax system from federal rules and largely benefited corporations and high-income earners.

MEDICAID EXPANSION

  • What’s happening?

Senate Republican leaders are still refusing to hold a vote on Medicaid expansion. President Wagle told reporters that Republican leaders plan to have a committee study Medicaid expansion this summer and fall. Meanwhile, Gov. Kelly called on the Senate to vote on Medicaid expansion, saying that she has “always endorsed efforts to carefully study issues before taking action. But when it comes to Medicaid expansion, ‘study’ is a code word for ‘stall.’ The House did what’s right for Kansas – I’m calling on the Senate to do the same.” You can read the Governor’s full statement here. The House passed HB 2066 two weeks ago; the expansion bill is expected to provide coverage to at least 130,000 additional Kansans.

CABINET CONFIRMATIONS

  • What’s happening?

The Senate confirmed David Toland as Commerce Secretary in a 23-14 vote. Toland previously served as executive director of Thrive Allen County, a nonprofit economic development and public health group. Toland’s confirmation was surprisingly controversial. Kansans for Life announced their opposition to his appointment after learning that Thrive Allen County received grants to promote women’s health from a fund named after the late Dr. George Tiller, who performed late-term abortions in Wichita. Other cabinet confirmations this week: Laura Howard as Deparment for Children & Families and Department for Aging & Disability Services Secretary, Brad Loveless as Department of Wildlife, Parks, & Tourism Secretary, and Michael Beam as Secretary of Agriculture.

GOV. KELLY TOWN HALL

  • What’s happening?

Gov. Kelly is continuing her Kansan to Kansan town hall discussions with a stop in Salina tonight. The event begins at 5:15 pm and will be held at the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce (Visit Salina Annex Building, 120 W. Ash, Salina, KS). The governor will deliver brief remarks and take questions.

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