Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

Kansas Legislature Wraps Up on 99th Day

June 02, 2013 2:00 AM | Anonymous
 
The Budget Bill - H Sub for SB 171

After adopting the one and only budget bill of the 2013 Legislative Session, the Kansas Senate adjourned around 2:00 a.m. Although June 2nd would technically be the 100th day, it counts as 99 since they worked straight through from Saturday, June 1st.

Both the House and Senate had to have a Call to adopt the one and only budget bill of the 2013 session, where the doors are locked and everyone is supposed to report to the chamber to vote, while hesitant legislators are cajoled and/or more forcefully convinced to vote for the bill at hand. Each chamber was then able to manage to get just the majority needed to pass the bill - House Substitute for SB 171. In the House, the vote was 63-51. In the Senate, 21-15. No Democrats supported the bill.

It is an ugly budget - every legislator could easily name at least one objectionable facet of the bill. The items that garnered the most attention were cuts to higher education - the Regents Institutions, cuts to the Department of Corrections that one senator suggested would create a "catch and release" policy, large sweeps of funds from Transportation and other agencies - including $9.5 million from tobacco dollars that are supposed to be earmarked for children's programs, and the fact that the budget bill did not include a carveout for the long term services and supports for intellectually and developmentally disabled populations from KanCare. $202 million in additional bonding debt was included over the protests of many legislators, to fund a larger than expected state share of the NBAF project in Manhattan.

The policy that may end up having the most impact is a House created salaries and wages cap based on funding spent up to March of this fiscal year. That policy is certain to prevent agencies - such as State Hospitals - from being able to fill important staff positions that have been held open to hold down expenses. Some of these positions have been unfilled for months or years now.

See budget bill description here.


(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4744, Topeka, KS  66604  785-969-1617

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