Lawmakers head back to Topeka on Wednesday

WICHITA, Kansas – - Kansas legislators are scheduled to reconvene on Wednesday to begin their wrap up session, ending a three week recess

The biggest measure of the this year’s session, the state’s school funding bill, has been signed by Gov. Sam Brownback.

However, lawmakers say they will try to handle a slew of other issues before the session ends.

Representative Steve Brunks says there is one main items that will have to be handled upon returning to Topeka.

“When we come back for the wrap up session that’s to set the final numbers on the budget and that’s what we’re going back to do,” said Brunk.

Brunk says the budget last year was close to $14.5 billion, $6 billion of which came from the states general fund.

While the budget is expected to be the main issue to tackle, other lawmakers say there will still be some controversial issues that have to be settled.

Representative Jan Pauls from Hutchinson says one of those issues will deal with how the state handles the death penalty.

“There are some people who are concerned about shortening the period of time people have to enforce their constitutional rights and some people who are just opposed to the death penalty,” said Pauls.

Pauls adds that something will ultimately have to be done with the Department of Corrections budget as well.

“They were the only agency last year that didn’t have a two year budget passed and that was dude to severe cuts to their budget,” said Pauls

Legislators will also decide on whether to give state civil-service workers their first across the board pay raise since 2009.  So far, budget committees in both the House and Senate talked about alternative plans that would end guaranteed longevity bonuses for workers who have 10 plus years of experience.

Lawmakers will also discuss potential tax changes.

The House and Senate have approved proposals to reorganize the court of tax appeals and change it to a board of tax appeals.

This state agency is responsible for reviewing disputes between taxpayers and the state or local governments.

Wednesday will mark the 77th day of the session.

The Kansas Constitution allows for the legislative session to last for up to 90 days.

Both Brunk and Pauls expect that lawmakers will move quickly and have everything finished by the end of next weekend.

 

 

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