Budget, tax and other committees meeting this week in preparation for one-day mini session

Republican legislative leaders have scheduled several committee meetings this week — including budget and tax panels — to prepare legislation for the one-day end of session. Education leaders must stay vigilant to developments since the coronavirus pandemic has caused an historic drop in state revenue and K-12 funding makes up half of the state budget.

The latest revenue estimate shows Kansas faces a $1.27 billion revenue shortfall for the remainder of this fiscal year and the next fiscal year, which starts July 1. Legislators approved a budget earlier this session before the COVID-19 crisis swept the state and nation. 

Gov. Kelly has said current fiscal year spending should be in good shape because of strong ending balances, but problems arise in fiscal year 2021. 

Because of the pandemic, legislators adjourned the 2020 session in mid-March. They were scheduled to return for the wrap up session April 27, but health concerns cancelled that return. Now they are reconvening May 21 for “sine die,” which is the official end of the session.

Last week, Senate GOP leaders said they wanted to work on legislative oversight of $1.25 billion Kansas will receive in federal funding for coronavirus related expenses; allowing businesses access to low interest capital, limiting business liability caused by COVID-19 and removing penalties and interest on unpaid taxes.

With Kansas and many states allowing the re-opening of many businesses, companies have been seeking legal protections should their returning workers get sick. Worker groups however say employees need protections, especially meatpackers, healthcare and other jobs.

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and a GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, has also repeatedly criticized Kelly’s executive orders and emergency actions during the pandemic. Wagle has said she wants changes made to the state’s emergency declaration law, but House members — Republican and Democratic — have said amendments to that law shouldn’t be hurried.

The House Appropriations, Commerce, Judiciary and Tax committees will be meeting this week as well as the Senate Tax, Commerce, Financial Institutions, Judiciary and Tax committees. In addition the State Finance Council, which is headed by Kelly and includes legislative leaders, will meet Wednesday. To listen to these committee meetings, go to this link. Also, follow KASB on social media, the KASB News Briefs and website.

Here is the tentative schedule of committee meetings

Tuesday, May 12 

1:30 – House Commerce 

3:30 – House Taxation 

Wednesday, May 13 

9:00 – House Appropriations  

9:30 — Senate Tax

3:30 – House Judiciary 

3:30 — State Finance Council

Thursday, May 14 

9:00 — Senate Commerce

1:30 – House Commerce 

3:30 – House Taxation 

Friday, May 15 

9:00 – House Appropriations 

9:30 — Senate Financial Institutions

3:30 – House Judiciary 

Monday, May 18 

9:30 – Senate Judiciary

3:30 – House Judiciary 

Tuesday, May 19

9:30 — Senate Judiciary

Wednesday, May 20 

9:30 – Senate Judiciary 

Thursday, May 21 

Legislature returns, Sine Die Adjournment 

 

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