30 April 2021 |

Legislative update: Lawmakers poised to return, make big decisions

Kansas Action for Children
April 30, 2021

The full Legislature returns Monday for what promises to be a packed few days. What’s on the menu? We will likely see veto override attempts and work to pass a school spending plan. And with the Legislature being what it is, we will likely see a surprise or two.

Kansas Action for Children has been focused on stopping Senate Bill 50, which was passed by both chambers and then vetoed by the governor. If you haven’t done so already, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to vote NO on SB 50 and sustain the governor's veto.

For more happenings, keep reading!

BUDGET WORK: New estimates of revenue coming in, questions about who allocates federal funds

A small group of lawmakers returned to the Statehouse this week to continue work on the state’s budget. Committee members were updated with the newest Consensus Revenue Estimate, which indicates we should expect increased revenue by several hundred million dollars. This optimistic outlook strengthens the state’s ability to make decisions that improve our state’s financial footing – and the financial footing of everyday Kansans.

There is no shortage of needs, including social services such as health care waiting lists, mental health services, food insecurity, and child care shortages. The state can also do less flashy things such as rebuilding our unemployment trust fund, paying off debt, and strengthening our fiscal resiliency. In short, tax cuts for profitable businesses and wealthy Kansans should be strongly rejected, even with the more optimistic revenue picture.

Budget decision-makers also heard an update on federal dollars that will be made available to Kansans through the American Rescue Plan. We have no doubt discussions about how the state will use those federal relief dollars will take up considerable time during the interim. We also believe Gov. Laura Kelly and her administration should be a part of those conversations, as they have over the previous year. Unfortunately, the Legislature has approved a change in who will make final decisions about the federal relief dollars, essentially excluding the governor from the process.

KAC wants the legislature to work with the Governor through the authority of the State Finance Council to manage the incoming federal funds, rather than through the Legislative Coordinating Council.

It’s the time of year where details in the legislative process are crucial to the final decisions and bills we will all live with for the upcoming budget year. As the legislature returns Monday, we’ll be watching these details and influencing policy decisions to put kids and families in the strongest position.

MEDICAID EXPANSION: Facebook Live event and new report

Save the date and time! Join KAC’s partner Alliance for a Healthy Kansas for a Facebook Live event on Tuesday, May 4, at noon, on Medicaid expansion. Watch over on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/expandkancare.

P.S.: If you haven’t heard about a new report estimating Medicaid expansion could save Kansas employers up to $80.6 million, make sure to read the full report, as well as read recent news coverage about it (KSNT; Kansas Reflector).