Lawmakers have decisions to make on last day of legislative session

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Many members of the legislature are preparing to return to Topeka for the final time this year. The last day of the session, or Sine Die, is on Wednesday.

Legislators have the option to pass new bills or override some of the governor’s vetoes, but it’s not clear how the day will go yet.

On the to-do list though, legislative leadership will meet Wednesday afternoon to determine whether to extend the state of emergency for coronavirus that expires May 28.

Senate Republicans will also vote on who will replace Senator Gene Suellentrop as majority leader after he was kicked out of the position last month.

During the 2021 session, lawmakers have passed 119 bills. Governor Kelly has vetoed 10 of them, and five of those have been overturned.

Two of the vetoes were issued just last week. One involved short-term insurance plans that Kelly called “junk.”

Another would have sent hundreds of millions of federal relief dollars to businesses hurt by coronavirus restrictions. Kelly said that proposal didn’t follow federal guidelines and wasn’t the right way for the state to spend money.

“There would be absolutely no transparency and no accountability on how those funds were appropriated,” she said. “That was wrong. We will use the SPARK (task) force process that was very transparent, very open, very accountable, and very efficient.”

If the legislature doesn’t decide to overturn the business relief bill, the re-organized SPARK task force, which has become more favorable to Republicans, will recommend how to spend more of the state’s federal COVID money.

Both the House and Senate gavel in at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

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