Archive for Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kansas Legislature adjourns regular session; budget work put off until April 28

Budget work, other issues left for wrap-up session next month

March 31, 2010, 12:52 a.m. Updated March 31, 2010, 12:52 a.m.

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How they voted

Here's how your Kansas legislators voted:

Sens. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, all voted against the bill.

In the House, Reps. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, Tony Brown, D-Baldwin City, Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, and Ann Mah, D-Topeka, all voted against the bill. Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, voted for the bill.

— Despite a looming budget crisis, the Kansas Legislature early today adjourned the major part of the 2010 session without having approved a spending plan for the next fiscal year.

The final gavel came down on the regular session at 12:50 a.m.

After having used up 75 days of a 90-day session, legislative leaders decided it would be best to wait until they have more up-to-date revenue projections before attempting to fashion a spending plan.

On April 16, state fiscal experts will put together a revised revenue estimate. Legislators will return for the wrap-up session on April 28 and try to write a budget with the new estimate.

Legislators face a nearly $500 million revenue shortfall on top of budget cuts over the past year of nearly $1 billion from a $6.4 billion budget.

At the start of the session in January, Gov. Mark Parkinson proposed a three-year, 1 cent increase in the state sales tax and 55-cent per pack increase in the cigarette tax to help close the budget gap.

But tax increase proposals have not gained much traction.

On the other side of the ledger, more budget cuts have also been rejected. House Republican leaders proposed a budget that would cut school funding $172 million, but that has gotten little support from other legislators.

Abortion measure

In one of its final actions Tuesday, the Legislature passed a bill to strengthen state laws restricting such procedures — but not by veto-proof margins.

The Republican-controlled Senate approved the bill 24-15. Hours later, the GOP-led House passed it 83-36, sending it to Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson, an abortion-rights supporter.

The measure would allow patients or family members to sue doctors if they have evidence an abortion violated state law. Also, doctors would be required to report more details to the state about abortions performed after the 21st week of pregnancy and involving fetuses considered viable, or able to survive outside the womb.

Parkinson hasn’t said whether he’ll reject the bill, but abortion opponents worked for the two-thirds majorities needed in both chambers to override a veto. They were one vote short in the House and three short in the Senate.

The slaying last year of Dr. George Tiller, of Wichita, shut down the only clinic in Kansas known for doing abortions late in women’s pregnancies.

The bill’s supporters and opponents agreed that the goal was to stop someone else from opening such a clinic.

“They want to dissuade another physician like George Tiller from setting up camp here,” said Kari Ann Rinker, a lobbyist for the National Organization for Women’s state chapter.

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said that without such a measure, “There’s a red carpet leading into all four sides of this state for any abortionist who wants to come in.”

Tiller’s clinic was among a few in the U.S. performing abortions in the last weeks of pregnancy, and a 1998 Kansas law targeted abortions of viable fetuses after the 21st week of pregnancy.

It permitted such abortions only to save a woman or girl’s life or to prevent “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” Doctors must file a report with the state on each procedure.

But the state hasn’t required physicians to list the exact medical diagnosis justifying each abortion, just a statement saying it was necessary to preserve her health. The state has said none of the more than 3,000 late-term abortions of viable fetuses since the law took effect were to save a patient’s life.

Also, abortion opponents said allowing lawsuits against doctors will help patients and their families hold physicians accountable for substandard care.

Sens. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, all voted against the bill.

In the House, Reps. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, Tony Brown, D-Baldwin City, Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, and Ann Mah, D-Topeka, all voted against the bill. Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, voted for the bill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments

kujayhawk7476 5 years, 5 months ago

So, let me get this straight, the legislature adjourned, without dealing with the most important issue facing the state, the budget crisis, but they found time in their right-wing wacko sessions to deal with an issue no one really cares about. Send them all home in November!

wysiwyg69 5 years, 5 months ago

I do not have anything against raising the sales 1% for three years as long as they put the money where it needs to go. I am lucky enough to have a job and I think most people can afford a 1% tax. I firmly beleive the politicians already know what they are going to do , they will just wait til' the last minute to pass the tax bill and say we had to act quickly and had no other choice except to raise revenues [which they do not have any other options].

Ken Lewis 5 years, 5 months ago

Well, we can rest easy for awhile. They weren't addressing the budget anyway. They were poised to pass needless strip club laws or needlessly manufacture more sex offenders. We cannot keep track of the offenders we have. Adding more will just cost more to have more state employees to track them.

The legislature has spent years passing laws and laws and laws. Everytime, it generates more criminals and runs another business segment out. We have so many laws, we cant afford to have the legislature impose more inflexibility on the State.

feeble 5 years, 5 months ago

but, but, but we're now free from the dangers of K2 usin' strippers!

Glad to see amateur hour in Topeka continues unabated.

Jeremy DeBoard 5 years, 5 months ago

That's not true Beo. They banned K2 and novelty lighters. And don't forget the grand state-wide smoking ban, with the exception of the state run casino, of course.

Why do they need a month off, exactly? How many days do these cons (as in artists) actually work in a year's time?

prairierose54 5 years, 5 months ago

The best part is that they work for 4 months but get credit for a year for KPERS benefits.

They all get a big fat check for life for 4 months work per year.

scarlettohara 5 years, 5 months ago

Eudora, Lawrence, DeSoto and Olathe....can we please send Anthony Brown packing now? Please????

boogie 5 years, 5 months ago

they are all parasites. no different than a tick or a cockroach. the only thing they are interested in, is what is in it for themselves and other state, county, or local employees. send every last one of them packing back to their local districts where local independents can keep an eye on them. o/w they will contine to suck the coffers dry. period.

rbwaa 5 years, 5 months ago

jadkansas (anonymous) says… That's not true Beo. They banned K2 and novelty lighters. And don't forget the grand state-wide smoking ban, with the exception of the state run casino, of course.


and don't forget, they also designated little bluestem as our state grass -- i am so thankful, i was really worried they wouldn't get that done this session!

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