2014 Kansas Legislative Session Now Underway

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Kansas lawmakers returned to the statehouse this afternoon to open up the 2014 legislative session for day one of ninety...

Kansans voted their legislators into office to make the tough decisions and this year, lawmakers will have their hands full...

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said, "The budget is going to consume most of the session, no doubt about that."

Democratic legislators argue that hefty tax cuts approved in recent years leave no room for education.

Senator Hensley said, "Income tax comprises 40% of the general fund revenue and if you take that much out, it's going to be difficult to try to fund K-12 education."

Republican House Speaker Ray Merrick feels the funding is already adequate.

House Speaker Merrick said, "When i look at the money that goes to education it's well over 50% to K-12 and when you do the math its almost 600 million we give to schools but it's already in the system so we aren't getting any credit for it."

In 2013, lawmakers endured a 9 day overtime session. This year, some House and Senate members believe one key issue could prevent 2014 from seeing that same overtime fate.

A lawsuit from four school districts who sued the state alleging the legislature failed to deliver on promised funding. A ruling during the 2014 session could send lawmakers into overtime.
Sen. Hensley said, "A court decision could come very soon and then some people think they might wait until after the session is over."

Merrick said, "Everybody in this building would like to get our work done and get out of here last year was an anomaly."

lawmakers will hear some of governor sam brownback's proposals for the session when he delivers his state of the state address.. wednesday night