Lawmakers look to override Gov. Brownback’s veto

Kansas lawmakers battle to pass a tax plan in Topeka June 6. Courtesy KSN News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Another budget bill dead on arrival at the governor’s office.

Late this afternoon Governor Sam Brownback made good on his promise to veto yet another budget bill approved by both the House and the Senate. The last time this happened, in February, neither chamber could muster enough votes to override the veto.

Can it happen this time, with the clock ticking?

This is a strict numbers game at this point. They need 84 votes in the House and they need 27 in the Senate to get an override. If they get those numbers, they get the override.

The Senate got it done, the House got it done, but the governor took out his pen and vetoed Senate Bill 30, a bill that would balance the Kansas budget. So, they are working on a deal to get enough votes.

“Yeah, if it doesn’t happen we are going to be here a lot longer trying to go back to square one to get something that would get two-thirds of the House and Senate, because so far the governor has not provided any help,” said Representative Tom Sawyer (D) of Wichita.

Lawmakers in the Senate said they have been one or two votes short of an override when they first passed the bill. They said the override can still happen, but one of the questions remains, even if they get the override, does this tax plan have enough money to pay for more money in the court mandate for K-12 education?

“To my way of thinking, that is woefully inadequate and that’s what the court case is all about right now is whether or not they system is adequately funding K-12 schools,” said Senator Anthony Hensely (D) of Topeka.

While House and Senate both get on with the task of trying to change enough votes to override the governor and pass the latest tax plan, some lawmakers say going home may, frankly, be enough motivation to get a deal done.

“Of course all of us are very anxious to get home, we have laundry to do and families, and to get back to our jobs,” said Representative Diana Dierks (R) of Salina.

The Senate has to pass something first, and they are expected to get enough votes, because they only need likely one more vote to override the governor.

As for the House, at last count, I’m told they are still six votes short.