2019 legislative session

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday effectively ended a nearly decade-long lawsuit by ruling that state lawmakers finally sent enough money to local school districts.

Battles over a Republican tax cut proposal and Medicaid expansion persisted through the last day of the Kansas Legislature's 2019 session … and remain unresolved. Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning says he plans to address healthcare and tax policy next session, when maybe he'll be Senate President. 


Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers restored mental health funding for Sedgwick County’s Community Crisis Center and two other mental health centers Wednesday.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday vetoed a tax relief plan from the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature for the second time in two months, arguing that even the new, smaller measure would "decimate" the state's finances.

The second tax bill, like the first, was designed to provide relief to individuals and businesses that have been paying more in state income taxes because of changes in federal tax laws at the end of 2017. Republicans are expected to try to override her veto when the Legislature reconvenes May 29 for a last day in session before adjourning for the year.

Kansas senators met Tuesday to formally vote down Gov. Laura Kelly’s nomination for a Court of Appeals seat. In a strange twist, even Kelly wanted her nominee rejected.

The outcome was already known before lawmakers returned to Topeka for the single vote.

A deal to clear the way for Medicaid expansion next year that some Kansas lawmakers thought they had brokered in the waning hours of their just-finished legislative session appears to be unraveling.

Instead, the conservative leaders and moderate rank-and-file Republicans find themselves splitting in an intra-party fight.

All Kansas lawmakers really had to do to end the 2019 legislative session was pass a budget. They did that, with gusto. But also without passing Medicaid expansion. That's one of the items left on freshman Rep. Brandon Woodard's to-do list for next year. 


Carla Eckels / KMUW/File photo

Westar Energy says it will replace some of the large metal transmission poles installed in some Wichita neighborhoods following an outcry from residents and political leaders.

In the waning days of the 2019 session, the conservative Republicans controlling the Kansas Legislature made one thing clear to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and her allies: They were ready for a fight against Medicaid expansion.  

The issue commanded the four-month session, which ended in the wee hours Sunday. The session was the first with the new Democratic governor in office, which gave people who wanted to expand health coverage for thousands of low-income Kansans the energy to push hard in the final days. Their efforts ultimately failed.

 


Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Medicaid expansion advocates threw thousands of fliers off balconies in the Kansas Statehouse Friday to protest a lack of action as the clock ticks down on the legislative session.

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