TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas lawmakers will return to the statehouse Wednesday to take up a long list of vetoes handed down from Gov. Laura Kelly.
Kansas lawmakers are heading into three back-to-back days of veto session starting Wednesday, expecting to wrap up on Friday.
Rounding out the top veto overrides to watch this week is Gov. Kelly’s latest veto; Senate Bill 169.
The tax package accelerates the elimination of the state food sales tax to January 2024 and sets a 5.15% income tax rate for all taxpayers.
“FLAT TAX” PACKAGE
“There is no backup plan. That was the compromise. I’m actually shocked that she vetoed it,” Republican Senate President Ty Master, R-Andover, told reporters Tuesday.
Even though low-income earners could see a few dollars in savings under the “flat tax,” the governor and Democrats have said that it would mainly help the rich.
In a press conference announcing her veto of the tax proposal on Monday, the governor also pitched a one-time tax rebate proposal that would cost the state $820 million. The governor criticized the Legislature’s proposal, which would cost more than $1.3 billion over the next three years.
“I’m also proposing a one-time tax rebate this year of $450 for individuals and $900 for married couples filing jointly,” Gov. Kelly said.
The Legislature’s tax cut package passed with a veto-proof majority in the House, but the Senate would need three more votes to override the Governor’s veto.
“The time is told. We’re at the end of session. There’s no time to regenerate some new package, and we’re not doing the gimmicks. Give everybody a check,” Masterson said Tuesday.
“BORN ALIVE” BILL
Another bill expecting a successful override is House Bill 2313, the “born alive” bill—requiring emergency care for infants born alive after a failed abortion.
“House Bill 2313, if it is adopted, would make it clear that caring for the infant is the only legal choice,” said Rep. Ron Bryce, R-Coffeyville, who carried the bill in the House during debates.
According to state health officials, this hasn’t been an issue in Kansas.
The Kansas Capitol Bureau reached out to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). A spokesman for the agency said that “in the history of the agency, KDHE has not received any report of a failed abortion that resulted in a live birth in Kansas.”
Republicans and a few Democrats added to the veto-proof vote in the House and Senate. However, some Democrats spoke in opposition to the bill in the House.
“It is not the business of this legislature to interfere between patients and their doctors,” said Rep. Joella Hoye, D-Lenexa.
DEFINING BIOLOGICAL SEX
Another bill to watch is Senate Bill 180, which would create the “Women’s Bill of Rights,” which has also been called the “bathroom bill” by opponents.
The bill defines biological sex in areas like restrooms, locker rooms, and domestic violence centers.
“What’s the rights of a woman? You’re saying I don’t have any rights? I cannot go into a women’s restroom and know that a male won’t walk into that bathroom,” said Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, who carried the bill in the House.
However, both sides have differing opinions on what the legislation would accomplish.
“What it’s about is politicians getting in the way of parents, children and their medical providers,” said D.C. Hiegert, a legal fellow with the ACLU of Kansas.
The bill passed with a veto-proof majority in the Senate, and it’s expected to gain the one vote needed in the House to override the veto.
GENDER REASSIGNMENT BAN, EDUCATION BILLS IN LIMBO
Some other bills, however, would need a good chunk of votes to survive getting the axe from Governor Kelly.
BANNING GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE FOR MINORS
That includes Senate Bill 26, a bill that would prevent physicians from providing gender-reassignment services to minors. The proposal creates a civil cause of action against a physician who performs childhood gender reassignment service and requires the revocation of a physician’s license who performs childhood gender reassignment service.
Senate Bill 26 passed 70-52 in the House and 23-12 in the Senate.
GUN SAFETY TRAINING IN SCHOOLS
Another bill, House Bill 2304, would require the State Board of Education to establish curriculum guidelines for a standardized firearm safety education program, which is required to include accident prevention. Local school boards would be allowed to adopt the firearm safety training program under the proposal.
House Bill 2304 passed 78-43 in the House and 31-8, a veto-proof majority, in the Senate.
PARENTS’ BILL OF RIGHTS
House Bill 2236 is another education proposal vetoed by the governor. The bill would establish parents’ right to direct the education, upbringing and moral or religious training of their children, including the right to object to harmful and inappropriate educational materials.
House Bill 2236 passed 76-46 in the House and 23-17 in the Senate.
Both chambers will kick off the veto session Wednesday morning, starting as early as 9 a.m. in the House.
Lawmakers will need 84 votes in the House to override Governor Kelly’s vetoes and 27 votes in the Senate to override.
Republican leaders said they’re confident they’ll have the votes to override a number of Kelly’s vetoes.
“It’s a record number of vetoes, and I think we’ll see a record number of overrides. No anticipation that we’ll override every one of them, but I anticipate 80% override,” Masterson said.