2017 Legislative Update 6

It was a very busy week as members of the Kansas House of Representatives spent most of the time on the floor debating and voting on various bills and amendments before turnaround day. We have reached the mid-way point of the 2017 session and the Kansas Legislature will resume work on March 6th after a short week-long break.  There is still a lot of work to do!

It is a special honor to serve as your state representative.  I both value and need your input on the various issues facing state government.  Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions.  My office address is Room 452-S, Kansas Statehouse, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612.  You can reach me at (785) 296-7430 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me.  Additionally, you can e-mail me at pam.curtis@house.ks.gov.  

House Overturns Governor’s Veto on Tax Bill, Senate Fails

After both the House and Senate formed bipartisan coalitions to pass a bill last week that largely repealed Sam Brownback’s failed tax experiment implemented in 2012, the Governor issued a veto on Wednesday morning.

In order to overturn a veto, a body needs 2/3 of the vote. In the House, that 2/3 number is 84. After the initial vote came up just one vote shy, two legislators on the Republican side flipped their votes, surpassing the required number with a total of 85 votes in favor of the veto override.

Later that day, the Senate took up the veto override bill. With 40 members, the Senate needed 27 votes in favor. Unfortunately, they came up just three votes short, and the overturn failed.

Democrats will continue to work for the will of the people to resolve this issue. To see how your legislator voted, check out this interactive map from The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Due Process Passes Through House

Due process for teachers was stripped in 2014 in a vote occurring in the dark of night. This removed protections for Kansas educators. Wednesday morning, the Kansas House passed the first step toward restoring due process rights. Due process ensures a fair dismissal process.

In a final action vote, House Bill 2186 passed with a 72 – 53 vote. This bill included the due process amendment. Next, the bill will go to the Senate for a vote.

Medicaid Expansion Passes House After Killed by Committee 

Last week, the Health and Human Services committee made a motion to table Medicaid Expansion, effectively killing the bill for the 2017 session.

On Wednesday, however, a Medicaid Expansion amendment was added to House Bill 2044. After a long debate, both the amendment and the bill passed. Kansas has refused millions of federal dollars that could have been spent on bettering our hospitals and clinics, and taking care of our citizens that need it the most.

On Thursday, the House took final action on the Medicaid expansion amendment, passing with a vote of 81 - 44. This marks the first movement towards expansion of the program.