Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

Appropriations passes Mega-Budget Bill

March 17, 2015 11:27 AM | Anonymous

If you've been watching the news, you know that the Kansas Legislature has rushed through a bill to change the way that K-12 Education is funded in Kansas.  The bill was introduced last week, inserted into a Senate Bill and passed by Appropriations, passed the full House by Friday, and the Senate voted to concur on Monday.  The bill freezes the current school finance formula and provides for block grants to school district, allowing more flexible use of funds.  It was highly controversial and many schools say it reduces their budgets.  This has opened the way for the Legislature to begin working on its major budget bill for the session.  

Yesterday and today, the House Appropriations Committee has been working through its Mega-Budget bill - combining the agency budget reports and adding amendments.   Today, a proviso offered by Social Services Subcommittee Chair Will Carpenter was adopted to preserve funding for NAMI in the KDADS Budget within existing resources.  The motion was seconded by Rep. Barbara Ballard.  The proviso that has been lobbied by mental health advocates also included funding for Keys for Networking, which had been earmarked for consideration at Omnibus.  Both NAMI and Keys for Networking have been notified that their contracts are ending and the funding will not be retained in its current structure in FY 16 and 17.  New contracts will be made available under an integrated prevention block grant format, but these have not yet been defined and may or may not encompass the services provided by these organizations.  Further advocacy will be needed to assure that the services are preserved and funded.

KMHC is watching this process closely - So far, there has been no effort to alter the Governor’s recommendation to add $1 million each year for FY 16 and FY 17 to expand behavioral health crisis and transitional services in the community.  We are also supporting the Governor's recommendation to retain the $1.9 million from the sale of Rainbow, which KDADS proposes to invest in crisis and transitional services in the community through a revolving loan fund.  

The Committee combined HB 2365 - Judiciary Budget and HB 2366 - Capitol Improvements Budget into HB 2370 the Mega-Budget Bill and passed it.  The bill will probably be debated in the full House next week. 

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

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