Kansas lawmakers leave pot, tax, budget issues to 2nd half

Published: Feb. 28, 2020 at 10:48 AM CST
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Kansas legislators are leaving their first big votes on the state’s next annual budget, cutting income taxes and the medical use of marijuana to the second half of their annual session.

The Senate hit the Legislature’s annual “turnaround” deadline Thursday with a debate on 20 bills touching on a wide range of topics, while the House completed its first-half work Wednesday. Most bills had to clear their chamber of origin Thursday to be considered further.

The first half of the 90-day session was marked by abortion opponents’ failed attempt to pass a proposed anti-amendment to the state constitution on abortion. Afterward, they blocked a bipartisan plan to expand the state’s Medicaid program.

Some big proposals didn’t face the turnaround deadline, including the $19.8 billion budget proposed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly for the fiscal year that begins in July. Committees in the Republican-controlled House and Senate have been reviewing her spending proposals for weeks.

Top Republicans said they are expecting the House to debate proposals for cutting income taxes in coming weeks.

And a House committee is expected to tackle both medical marijuana and legalizing sports betting next month. The Senate passed its own sports betting bill Wednesday.

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