301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org
Kimberly and Josh Savaty

5.22.23 – Pratt Tribune -By Kimberly and Josh Savaty, KMU Legislative Liaisons KMUNET.ORG

The House wrapped its 2023 legislative session around 9:30 pm on Friday. The Senate followed suit at 10:17 pm. However, in a rather surprising twist, legislative leadership made the motion to conclude the session Sine Die. Typically, Sine Die occurs two or three weeks after the final adjournment of the Legislature allowing for one more day to touch up any final issues. Such

will not be the case this session unless the Governor calls a Special Session for a defined topic.

The final days of the 2023 Legislation session included work on the final budget bill, a K-12 funding package, and a series of veto overrides and veto override attempts. Before the First Adjournment on Friday, April 7th, lawmakers passed SB 169, a broad tax reform and reduction

package. In the days between the end of the First Adjournment and the start of the Veto Session, Governor Kelly signed dozens of bills into law (or let them become law without her signature). She also issued several bill vetoes and took the veto pin to twenty-six different line

items in the Mega budget which was passed before First Adjournment.

The big question remained in the days leading up to Veto Session, what was Governor Kelly going to do with the big tax bill? SB 169 included the food sales tax elimination she and lawmakers championed. SB 169 limited the exemption elimination to just the State sales tax leaving alone the not popular local government food sales tax elimination. SB 169 removed

the social security income tax cliff for those making above $75,000 as well as property tax relief which was also dual priorities of the Legislature and the Governor. The biggest element of the bill, however, proved to be the sticking point and that was collapsing the State’s three income

tax brackets into one 5.15% flat tax rate. Governor Kelly vetoed SB 169 at the start of Veto Session week, challenging the fiscal sensibility of the bill. Consistently throughout the session, the Governor expressed her concern about the fiscal impact of the flat tax in the long term.

There was an effort to override Governor Kelly’s tax bill veto, however, it fell short in the Senate. While one lawmaker moved from a no to override to a yes to override, a separate lawmaker changed their vote the other way from yes to override to no. The bill did not have a path forward in the Senate and the Senator who changed from yes to no to override shortly

thereafter was removed from his committee chair position.

The Legislature did pass a modest tax bill before adjourning. SB 8 included eleven different provisions covering a wide range of topics including a sales tax exemption for telecommunications companies to further broadband deployment, net operating loss changes for tax years 2018 – 2020, an adoption tax credit, and sales and property tax exemption for

private businesses “competing” with new government-owned health clubs, child care centers, or recreation centers. Governor Kelly has not indicated what action she may take on the bill.

As previously referenced, the State has a very healthy ending balance – historic ending balances in fact – in both the State General Fund (SGF) and the Rainy-Day Fund. The SGF will end up with more than $3 billion in its coffers by the end of the next fiscal year (June 30, 2024) and the Rainy-Day Fund currently stands around $1.5 billion after lawmakers infused another $500 million into the fund this session. It was widely expected that some significant tax package that would couple relief and reform would be enacted this session, but the key to everything, you must find just the right mix.

The K-12 funding bill was passed in the waning hours of the session. This is the only issue that lawmakers are required to fund each year per the Kansas Constitution.

While school funding had not been batted around the last several sessions following years of contentious debates about whether K-12 was funded adequately, this session the debate came roaring back. Lawmakers sought to couple policy reforms with K-12 funding. Typically, a policy is

handled in a separate bill. However, this session’s increases

in Special Education funding were largely tied to an expansion of a school voucher program and a program to increase tax credits for companies to support scholarships for private or unaccredited schools.

The Legislature passed the K-12 funding bill, then moved the final Adjournment resolution and declared Sine Die.

There have been calls for the Governor to veto the K-12 funding bill. If the Governor vetoed the bill, the only way to fund schools for the coming year would be for the Governor to call a special session. The Governor will have

ten days once her office receives the bill to either sign the bill into law, allow the measure to become law without her signature, or veto the bill (and likely call a special session).

Lawmakers did tee up 17 different veto override efforts during the three-day Veto Session. Nine vetoes were sustained (meaning there were not enough votes in one or both chambers to override the Governor’s veto) and eight vetoes were overridden by the Legislature.


• Eliminating the three-day grace period for mail-in


• Food sales tax/ flat tax bill

• Increasing the child hunting license age

• 1 gender care-related measure

• 1 abortion-related measure

• 2 childcare-related measures


• Expanding work requirements for adults 49-59 to

receive SNAP benefits and to continue requiring SNAP

recipients to aid Child Support Services to procure from

absentee parents

• Creating the crime of human smuggling

• 3 gender-related measures

• 3 abortion-related measures

Closing Thoughts

The Kansas Senate is up for re-election in 2024 alongside the Kansas House. The Senate has not been up for reelection since 2020. It is not clear yet what the ramifications of this session will be for the next session and the next election cycle. But already the fundraising letters have gone out! We do know however that Kansas will have a Presidential Primary election, rather than party caucuses, in 2024. So that will probably mean an influx of political ads.

The Legislative Coordinating Council (LCC) will meet in the coming weeks to determine what topics requested for interim committee meetings will be approved and if so, for how many days. Requests have been made for a water committee and four days of review about transmission policy and need in Kansas. However, the transmission interim was requested by the legislator who is no longer Chair of the Senate Utilities Committee so the future of the request is unknown.