Capitol Comments – June 2, 2017
Want Capitol Comments sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up.
When Legislators returned Monday, May 1, for Veto Session all of the major issues remained: a budget, a revenue package, and a school funding formula. Today marked day 105, and the same items remain.
After a long night of debate, the Senate passed a school finance plan Wednesday morning on a vote of 23-16. I opposed the plan as it is riddled with flaws both from an adequacy and equity standpoint, making it unconstitutional. In adherence to the oath of office that I take on the first day of every new term, I opposed the bill.
The House has also passed a school finance plan, establishing its position. Their plan has more money, but still contains flaws that make its constitutionality just as questionable. Negotiators from the House and the Senate are now meeting as a conference committee to work out the differences.
The Senate passed a tax plan Tuesday night, but it was quickly defeated in the House. I supported the plan on Tuesday because it went a lot further in getting our fiscal house in order. The Brownback income tax cuts went entirely too far and resulted in a self-inflicted budget crisis. The Senate Democrats unanimously voted for this bill to reverse the damage that’s been done by the failed experiment. With the rejection by the House, negotiators have gone back to the drawing board. The House tax committee met this afternoon where additional tax bills were introduced. Needless to say, many options are being discussed.
Before we can finally adjourn the session, the Legislature must also pass a budget. As you may recall, the Senate passed a budget shortly before leaving for break. It’s not a perfect budget, but it’s a solid start. The House budget committee has been meeting, but nothing has been passed.
Art in the Capitol
On a positive note, a piece of artwork entitled, “Kansas Pictorial” is on display in the rotunda of the second floor. It was created by students at Shawnee Heights Middle School as part of their annual Earth Day project. The students used recycled homework from classroom recycle bins.
The art is a reflection of “historical events, people, and the unique Kansas landscape” and is to serve as a reminder of the “rich heritage of Kansas and the teamwork needed for the future of our state.” It serves as an excellent reminder, and I want to thank these art students and teachers for sharing this spectacular piece with us.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 785-296-3245 or by email at Anthony.Hensley@senate.ks.gov. Or, stop by my legislative office located in room 318-E of the Statehouse. I also encourage you to follow me on Facebook.com/SenatorAnthonyHensley.
Thank you, again, for your continued support.
Senate Democratic Leader