Posted Date: 05/03/2021
The Kansas Legislature on Monday failed to override a veto by Gov. Laura Kelly of a bill that would have prohibited transgender students from participating on girls and women’s school teams, but Republicans did overturn Kelly’s veto of a tax cut bill.
The Legislature spent much of the first day of the wrap-up session on veto override votes and committee meetings focused on the final budget and further tax changes. No action was taken on K-12 finance.
Supporters of SB 55 said it was unfair for students who were born male to compete with and against females but Kelly and opponents of the ban said the measure was discriminatory and harmful to transgender students. The veto override attempt started in the Senate and failed on a 26-14 vote; one shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto and send it to the House. Three Republicans joined the 11 Democrats in the Senate to sustain the veto.
On the issue of taxes, however, Republicans stuck together, overriding Kelly’s veto of SB 50, 30-10 in the Senate and 84-39 in the House. Kelly said the bill would cause budget problems down the road and was skewed to benefit the wealthy and corporations, but Republicans said it would help Kansans.
The Legislature also overrode Kelly’s vetoes on election law changes, several line-item vetoes in the budget, including one that will give Republican legislative leaders much more power in determining the use of federal COVID funds, and a bill lowering the age to get a concealed carry firearms permit from 21 to 18.
No override attempts were made Monday on Kelly’s vetoes of HB 2039, which requires students pass a civics test and financial literacy course to graduate high school, and HB 2089, which requires use of the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program in early grades for districts that have firearm safety classes.
Meanwhile, the Senate tax committee recommended approval of HB 2313, which includes the 20-mil property tax levy for schools for the next two school years.
The Legislature made no progress on funding K-12, having left that issue unresolved from the regular session.
Budget deliberations were further complicated when the State Division of the Budget released a memo that said the Legislature needed to increase higher educaiton funding to receive federal COVID funds and satisfy a federal requirement that states maintain level funding for education. A further analysis of the issue can be read here.
Here is a video wrap-up of the first day of the veto session.