Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

House Passes Budget with No Debate

June 03, 2015 1:51 PM | Anonymous

June 3, 2015

Observers and many Representatives were stunned when the House of Representatives adopted House Sub for SB 112 with no debate with a vote of 64 to 48.  The three minute action left some members wondering if there had been an intentional rush to avoid public debate.  The House Majority Leader indicated that there were no lights on to indicate that members wanted to speak on the proposal.

This is truly surprising because the House never debated a mega-budget or omnibus budget on the floor this year.  While the Appropriations Committee did develop a budget position in committee and did adopt many of the included positions (including adopting most of the Governor's Budget Amendments) - the committee bill was never brought above the line for debate in the House.  Instead, the Senate adopted a mega-budget bill (crafted by the Senate Ways and Means Committee) prior to the April break and every adjustment since then has been simply inserted into the conference committee, including all post-April items that normally would take shape as an omnibus bill.

Many legislators believe that this was “as good as the budget would get” at this late date.  The conference committee has also created another option – Senate Sub for HB 2135 would cut an additional 5.7% from all agencies.  While there are some conservatives who would like a chance to vote for that proposal, it would create many problems if passed.  For one thing, our Medicaid program (KanCare) is required to provide “maintenance of effort” according to federal requirements or incur penalties, meaning equal and/or more services and equal and/or expanded eligibility.  A 5.7% cut would have to include provider reimbursement cuts and would reduce the federal funds for the program.  The cut to K-12 Education would almost certainly draw the attention of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Read the conference committee report and a full explanation of the bill at

http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2015_16/measures/sb112/

Scroll below to the chart of “Bill History”.  The bill copy and supplemental note at the top of the page describe the bill as originally passed – and NOT the mega-budget as agreed by the conference committee.



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