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Legislature wraps up, leaves town

TOPEKA - After a deadlock that lasted several hours the House and Senate agreed on a series of bills they would pass to finish the session early Saturday:

The bills would:

--Allow local school districts to keep local funding levels regardless of reductions in state funding.

--Protect state employee pay by prohibiting state agencies from moving money intended for salaries into accounts used for programs.

--Bar future "snake annexations," such as one Mulvane used to annex property for a casino site along the Kansas Turnpike. Unlike previous efforts, Senate Bill 51, is not retroactive. It goes into effect July 1. The bill passed 23 to 11 in the Senate.

“We felt like it was a bad practice but felt like this was something we had to change moving forward,” said Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, who explained the bill.

The bill included other annexation and water issues, including one spurred by an annexation action taken by the city of Overland Park. That portion allows a city to annex parcels of unplatted agricultural land up to 65 acres, but not larger.

Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, opposed the bill, saying it would eliminate Overland Park’s ability to grow to the south and would “lead to patchwork development.”

“It is entirely possible for land owners of tracts of agricultural land greater than 65 acres to completely shut off the development of the city by building a wall on the southern end of the city,” he said.

The House passed the negotiated bill 81-31 and the Senate approved it. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

Immediately after, the Senate approved its motion to adjourn at 2:29 a.m. The House adjourned at 2:37 a.m.

Lawmakers will return to town June 4 for Sine Die, a largely ceremonial event.

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