Key Kansas lawmaker denies being absent due to vacation

Kansas Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ty Masterson, R-Andover, discusses budget issues during a meeting of GOP senators, Friday, May 29, 2015, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Masterson returned after a week's absence for what he says was family business in Texas. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A key Kansas lawmaker who has been criticized for his weeklong absence says he was away on family business and was not paid during that time.

Republican Sen. Ty Masterson from Andover said he was in Texas on family business and declined to give specifics for privacy reasons.

Friday was the 99th day of the legislative session, which traditionally span 90 days or less each year. Lawmakers have been in a deadlock attempting to fill an estimated $406 million budget shortfall with tax increases.

Masterson is chairman of the Senate budget committee and was rumored to be on vacation over the past week while receiving overtime pay.

Administrative staff confirmed that he waived his pay, but the paperwork had not been processed due to the lack of a signature.

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