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Kansas Lawmakers Go Into Legislative Overtime

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo
House speaker Ron Rykcman talks to reporters earlier this month.

Kansas lawmakers have left for the weekend, but not before going into overtime. When they come back on Tuesday, they’ll be on Day 102 of what was supposed to be a 100-day legislative session.

“We’d hoped to be finished by now, but we’re going to do what’s best for our state," says Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman. "If that takes more time to get it right, [then] we’ll continue doing the best we can."

Pay for lawmakers, staff and other expenses mean each overtime day costs taxpayers around $45,000, according to the Legislative Administrative Services office. That doesn't take into account the 20 lawmakers who are waiving all or some of their pay for the overtime days.

Lawmakers extended the session from the normal 90 days to address several major issues. Democratic Rep. Tom Burroughs opposed lengthening the session.

“Because it told me then that the leaders weren’t going to be serious about getting us out of here on time. I’m extremely disappointed that we’re not further along in this process,” Burroughs says.

Republican leaders hopes that can wrap up the session next week, but they still need to finish work on taxes, the budget and school funding.

The longest session in state history was 114 days in 2015.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.