The Kansas Legislature begins its "wrap-up" session in Topeka today, and legislators certainly have left themselves plenty of loose ends to wrap up.
In fact, it almost would seem appropriate to call today the real beginning of the legislative session. The first three months were more of a warmup.
The governor and the leadership of the House and Senate have emphasized in the last week that they are ready to compromise and move ahead with key issues such as the state property tax package. However, all seem hesitant to make the first move that will be needed to start the compromise ball rolling.
And there still seems to be plenty of finger-pointing. Already Gov. Hayden is considering the possibility of a special session to finish the work that can't be completed in the wrap-up session. But if a special session is needed, he says, it won't be his fault.
``The speaker and the president don't want one, and I certainly don't, either, but if the Legislature doesn't do its job, then we'll have one. The truth is you do the job the people elected you to do. If it takes a special session to do that job, then so be it.''
Most people would say that part of the job is to get it done during the allotted time period. Kansas residents probably also would be more supportive of a special session if they felt legislators had been making good use of their time so far. If you take a three-hour lunch break, you shouldn't expect to get paid overtime when you work after 5.
If the Legislature goes into overtime with a special session, there will be plenty of blame to go around. A wiser choice both politically and financially would be for legislators to buckle down, work together and pack a lot of constructive action into the few days of their wrap-up session.