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4.28.23 – Yahoo -Jonathan Shorman

The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature has overridden more vetoes from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly than lawmakers have let stand, after Kelly vetoed the most bills in 29 years.

Kelly, who is in the first year of her second term, has vetoed 15 bills during the current session. The number could grow if lawmakers pass additional bills she objects to – Republicans are trying to approve a voucher-like program for education that the governor would likely veto, for instance.

The Legislature has overridden eight vetoes and failed to override seven.

The overridden vetoes include a ban on transgender athletes competing in girls sports, creating a new human smuggling crime and imposing additional work rules on older recipients of food assistance, among other measures.

The vetoes where overrides failed include a flat tax proposal, looser child care regulations and an end to the three-day grace period for the receipt of mail ballots.

Kelly also issued an additional 15 budget line-item vetoes. Lawmakers overrode three of them.

As a reminder, it takes 84 votes in the House and 27 votes in the Senate – a two-thirds majority in both chambers – to override a veto. If the first chamber to vote on an override fails, the other chamber doesn’t vote.

Here’s a summary of the outcome of every vetoed bill, as well as key budget line-item vetoes.

Bills that will become law

Senate Bill 180

The “women’s bill of rights” legislation creates a sweeping set of new restrictions on transgender Kansans. It requires transgender people to use the bathrooms and other public spaces of their sex at birth, including domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and locker rooms. It may also stop transgender Kansans from changing their gender on official IDs. It will go into effect on July 1.

Override vote: 84-40 in the House, 28-12 in the Senate

Senate Bill 228

This bill makes several changes to state laws concerning county jails, but attracted attention for requiring jails to separate inmates based on sex at birth. It will go into effect on July 1.

Override vote: 87-37 in the House, 31-9 in the Senate

House Bill 2094

This bill adds work requirements for people age 50 to 59 who receive food assistance unless they are exempt. Generally, able-bodied adults without dependents will have to work. Work requirements are already in place for younger recipients.

Override vote: 84-40 in the House, 28-12 in the Senate

House Bill 2138

This bill requires schools to provide separate accommodations based on biological sex during overnight field trips. Transgender students would have to use the accommodations of their sex at birth. It will go into effect on July 1.

Override vote: 85-39 in the House, 30-9 in the Senate

House Bill 2238

This bill bans transgender athletes from competing in girls and women’s sports. The Legislature has passed the bill in previous years but was able to override Kelly’s veto this time. The Kansas State High School Activities Association approved a policy this week to implement the ban. The law goes into effect on July 1.

Override vote: 84-40 in the House, 28-12 in the Senate

House Bill 2264

This bill requires doctors to provide heavily disputed information to patients undergoing a medication abortion that the first of two pills taken during the abortion can potentially be reversed.

Override vote: 84-40 in the House, 29-11 in the Senate

House Bill 2313

Called the “Born-alive Infants Protection Act,” this bill requires doctors to offer life-saving care to any child born alive as the result of a failed abortion. Medical experts and Kansas abortion providers said the bill was redundant with existing policy and ignored medical science surrounding abortion. The bill is the first anti-abortion law enacted in Kansas since the fall of Roe v. Wade last summer.

Override vote: 87-37 in the House, 31-9 in the Senate

House Bill 2350

This bill creates a new crime of human smuggling. It’s aimed at targeting those who transports undocumented immigrants across the state, but critics say it is overly broad and could lead to unintended consequences.

Override vote: 85-39 in the House, 30-9 in the Senate

Bills that won’t become law

Senate Bill 26

This bill would have banned gender-affirming care for children by allowing lawsuits against medical providers that offered the care. It would have also required doctors who performed such care to lose their license.

Override vote: 26-14 in the Senate

Senate Bill 169

This bill would have imposed a flat tax. It would have created a single, 5.15% tax rate on income. It would have also accelerated the elimination of the state sales tax rate on food.

Override vote: 26-14 in the Senate

Senate Bill 209

This bill would have required all ballots to be returned to election authorities by 7 p.m. on Election Day. It would have eliminated the current three-day grace period for the arrival of mail ballots that are postmarked on Election Day.

Override vote: 25-15 in the Senate

House Bill 2236

This bill would have created a parent’s bill of rights in education. Parents would have had the ability to object to curriculum or educational material and withdraw their students from classes or activities without adverse impacts to their academic record.

Override vote: 78-45 in the House

House Bill 2304

This bill would have required elementary schools with firearms safety courses to use the NRA-developed Eddie Eagle safety program.

Override vote: 83-41 in the House

House Bill 2325

This bill would have prohibited abortion providers from purchasing professional liability insurance from the Health Care Stabilization Fund.

Override vote: 84-40 in the House, 25-15 in the Senate

House Bill 2344

This bill would have loosened child care regulations as part of an effort to expand child care availability, but critics said it went too far in relaxing rules.

Override vote: 81-42 in the House

Key budget line-items

DEI restrictions

This budget proviso would have limited state universities’ ability to ask job applicants about diversity, equity and inclusion. The attempt to override this veto failed.

Override vote: 79-45 in the House

Anti-abortion funding

Kelly vetoed $2 million for alternatives to abortion programs, with the funding overseen by the state treasurer. The override succeeded.

Override vote: 86-38 in the House and 29-11 in the Senate

The Star’s Katie Bernard contributed reporting