by Melissa Brunner
It's Spring Break time for Kansas lawmakers! First adjournment for their annual session was Friday. They return April 25th for the wrap-up session.
The wrap-up is also called the veto session. The thought was that the legislature would have the bulk of its bills sent to the Governor by first adjournment, then return in a few weeks to consider any items the Governor might have vetoed. The omnibus budget bill, a measure wrapping up all the loose ends with spending, would be the main item up in the air and would have been worked out by House and Senate negotiators by that time.
This year seems to continue the trend of leaving more and more to "wrap up." And the issues are contentious, too. The budget hit a major bump in the road when House negotiators voted it down after initially agreeing to it. Back to the drawing board. Major initiatives from the Governor on school finance and tax reform are idle - perhaps not to return for this year. Redistricting, which started on such a fast track, is now locked in a heated debate over whether the City of Topeka should be split between two Congressional districts. And the Senate's map is up in the air, too.
To be fair, this break isn't necessarily a complete break. Conference committees will continue to meet and, it's hoped, have deals struck and ready to hit the floor when their colleagues reconvene. If agreements aren't reached, then we're looking at a wrap-up with heels dug in that could stretch the session beyond its allotted 90 days.
What do you think of how this plays out, this year or any year for that matter? Is this a good way to ensure give and take and consideration of all sides? Or would you prefer they settle the issues earlier? The process can be grueling to watch - is it effective or how would you change it to make it better?
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