Archive for Friday, June 1, 2001

Senate saves Graves’ vetoes

House votes to override budget decisions; senators block the way

June 1, 2001


— In a parting shot, the Republican-dominated House on Thursday voted to override four of Gov. Bill Graves' vetoes.

Graves, a Republican, was spared the embarrassment of a full-fledged GOP mutiny when the Senate saved Graves' vetoes by refusing to go along with the House.

It was a fitting end to the 2001 legislative session, which was marked by Graves' inability to lead his fellow Republicans, who hold substantial majorities in the House and Senate.

Asked for his response to the House action, Graves said, "I had pizza and a Pepsi. ... I mean you know ... sometimes the House is hard to figure out."

He added, "We're pleased that the Legislature is officially adjourned."

Earlier in the session, Graves wanted a general tax increase for public schools. But Republicans, led by House Speaker Kent Glasscock, R-Manhattan, shot that down.

The governor also wanted several smaller tax hikes to help balance the budget after revenue projections spiraled downward.

Again, he was cut off by House Republicans.

After the Legislature adjourned May 8, following a record 13-day wrap-up session, Graves vetoed 22 budget reductions.

The cuts he vetoed were shortsighted and arbitrary, he said.

Thursday, lawmakers returned to the Capitol in droves on what is generally a sparsely attended ceremonial last day of the session.

More than 100 of 125 House members, and 31 of 40 senators returned for the veto showdown.

The House collected the needed two-thirds majority in four of seven override votes. The overrides, supported by Republicans and Democrats, would have cut $2.7 million in state funds that Graves had returned to the budget.

Glasscock said the House action reflected a difference of opinion with Graves.

"This is no more a slap of the governor as his vetoes were a slap at us," he said.

House Democratic Leader Jim Garner of Coffeyville said he voted to override because Graves' vetoes put too much spending back into the budget and would leave lawmakers in a bigger budget hole next session.

But the House override votes were quickly rejected by the Senate.

Senate President Dave Kerr, R-Hutchinson, seemed disgusted by the House votes.

"The Republican Senate was very willing to line up behind the Republican governor and say we want to work with you, not only this year but next year, too."

He said the House overrides did not produce any significant savings in a $9.1 billion budget.

The overrides would have canceled $300,000 in longevity bonuses for some state employees, cut $1.3 million from the Kansas Department of Administration and $1.1 million for equipment in the Department of Revenue. Another override would have restored $525,000 in tobacco funds for juvenile services.

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