The 2019 Kansas legislative session will convene today (1/14) with a new chief executive in Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and a slightly more conservative House controlled by Republicans. Gov. Kelly’s campaign promises centered on more funding for education and roads, funding Medicaid expansion and fully funding the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. Republican legislative leaders, meanwhile, are focused on a bill to give revenue generated by the 2017 federal income tax cuts back to Kansans. While revenues consistently have been higher than estimated after the Legislature increased income taxes in 2017, Kansas is projected to be back in the red by fiscal year 2022 if spending or taxes are not adjusted.
In accordance with member policy, KLA will support a constitutional amendment this session that would limit the court’s ability to dictate how much funding is spent on K-12 education. The amendment will, however, preserve the court’s ability to determine if the total money allocated by the Legislature is equitably distributed among students.
KLA also will request a second funding installment for the CattleTrace disease traceability pilot project. Last year, the Legislature set aside $250,000 to match private and federal funds for the two-year pilot project to develop a cattle disease traceability system. Another $250,000 is needed to complete the project.