Topeka — The Kansas House on Wednesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have prohibited the judicial branch from ordering the Legislature to spend money.
On Tuesday, the House had advanced the measure in a preliminary vote by a 91-31 margin. But on final action, the House voted 79-44 for it, which was five votes less than the 84, or two thirds majority needed to pass proposed constitutional amendments.
The measure's supporters said it was needed to rein in the Kansas Supreme Court because of rulings in 2005 and 2006 in which the court ruled the school finance system unconstitutional and told the Legislature it needed to increase education funding.
House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and Gov. Sam Brownback, also a Republican, voiced support for the amendment.
But opponents of the proposal said it would disrupt the balance of powers between the three branches of government and hinder citizens' rights to seek redress in court.
Only Republicans voted for the measure, while all 33 Democrats and 11 Republicans voted against it. House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said he was pleased moderate Republicans joined with Democrats "to protect Kansas schools."