Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 03 May 2011 15:43The wrap-up session has begun and we now have the slow, incremental process of fashioning a budget and of completing work on a number of “substantive” bills through conference committees trying to iron out differences of opinion between the House and Senate. But the biggest task is the work of the conference committee crafting a budget for the next fiscal year that both senators and House members will support.
While the House/Senate conference committee is to meet and reconcile differing views on their respective budgets, the House Appropriations Committee chairman has called separate House committee meetings to craft a different House budget proposal.
In Friday’s House-only meeting, three members of the House Appropriations...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 26 April 2011 15:41April 27 finds the Legislature back in session for the wrap-up of bills, mostly budget matters. We really don’t know when we will finish, but we must complete the session in 90 days.
According to the current legislative calendar, the 90th day of the session is May 11, and that won’t change, so long as the calendar isn’t modified to accommodate committee negotiations or an impasse.
Here’s a bit of information you might find useful: Most laws become law when published in the statute book (July 1 of each year), but many bills signed this month by Gov. Brownback were put on the fast track to become law when published in the Kansas Register. That’s sort of the official state newspaper of Kansas.
Publication in the Kansas...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 19 April 2011 19:00Next Wednesday we start the wrap-up (veto) session. The primary issue at hand will be the budget.
This is always a pull and tug among four competing concepts: the need to cut spending or increase revenue, the desire to cut spending, the need to spend on services and the desire to spend on services.
Our duty is to balance them as each elected official believes he or she is called to do in representing the needs and desires of the legislator’s district.
First, consider essential cuts (no one wants the alternative—a tax increase). Because of this recession, Kansas was in a $500 million hole. With our recent revenue projections, estimates have been lowered $21.5 million more.
If we adopt the governor’s proposed budget, we would...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 12 April 2011 17:06We’re still on break from the session, and we are waiting the governor’s approval or veto of bills passed so far by the Legislature. We reconvene April 27 for the veto session.
In my Feb. 2 column and again two weeks ago, you read about the legislation that creates rural opportunity zones (ROZ) for many counties with decreasing population, and Marion County is one of the designated counties. If you want to read the bill, the ROZ bill is SB 198.
Well, this week’s news is again great: Gov. Brownback is traveling to four Kansas locations today (Monday, April 11) for ceremonies announcing his signing of the bill into law.
This is great news for Marion County. The bill creates a five-year Kansas income tax exclusion (no state income...
Written by Rep. Bob Brookens Tuesday, 05 April 2011 14:55We passed a budget out of the House Friday. When the House budget was finally adopted, it had changed the 7.5 percent wage decrease to a 1.193 percent cut to all agencies except schools (they had already been hit with an additional per pupil cut above the governor) and except certain SRS caseloads.
The agency heads will have to decide how and where to cut. Salaries could still be impacted significantly, but each department or commission will make those decisions on their cuts.
Presumably, the new cut includes judiciary and all board of regents colleges and community colleges. It will also cut the Department of Corrections.
For the judiciary, a small fraction of its budget was restored before this cut. I am not certain how the...
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