Check this spot on Sundays for a few quick hits about what’s driving the debate in the Legislature.
“It doesn’t get any better. Unfortunately, that’s the good news and the bad news.”
– Rep. Mario Goico, R-Wichita, speaking after the Legislature concluded its fourth week of the session
“In the business world, if I need carpenters, I don’t give my secretary a raise.”
– Rep. Mark Hutton, R-Wichita, responding to lawmakers who resisted a proposed pay raise for corrections officers because the state doesn’t have the money for raises for all state employees. Hutton said high turnover necessitated a raise to help keep corrections officers.
That’s the amount that would be left in the state’s general fund at the end of June if lawmakers pass a budget bill as amended by the House Appropriations Committee.
The University of Kansas came into the crosshairs of lawmakers after going out of state to issue $326.9 million in bonds last month. The university was able avoid the need for legislative approval of the bonds by using a Wisconsin agency instead of the state’s own finance authority.
House members responded last week by adding a provision to the budget bill that would restrict KU from spending certain funds next fiscal year. KU called it a targeted attack and said it would threaten the university’s ability to manage its finances. But lawmakers say the legislation restores oversight to the university’s finances. The House probably will hold hearings on the bond issue this week and could vote on the legislation regarding the university’s spending as well.
The House and Senate will try to work out their differences in marijuana reform. Last year, the House passed a bill that would reduce the penalties for marijuana offenses and allow for medicinal hemp to be used for the treatment of seizure disorders. The Senate cut the medicinal portion from the bill and this week passed a version that dealt only with the criminal penalties. Negotiators from both chambers will try to forge a compromise.