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Kansas Lawmakers To Kick Off 2016 Session

Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers will kick off the 2016 legislative session later today. They could consider some big issues like taxes and school finance, but they could also put off work on those topics until after the election.

Lawmakers will need to fill a hole in the Kansas budget. State Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, would like to see them take a look at tax cuts passed in recent years to do that, but she doesn’t think that will happen. She says the old adage is you don’t want to do something controversial this close to an election.

“Clearly, people don’t want to have a voting record that can be used against them,” Kelly says.

She also doesn’t think lawmakers will approve a new school funding formula. The Republican chairman of the House Education Committee, Ron Highland, has said he’d like to at least see them consider some new formulas.

There is one thing a lot of people seem to agree on in the Statehouse: Kelly suspects lawmakers will try to keep the session short.

“It is an election year, and people are anxious to get out and start campaigning,” Kelly says.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.