House passes budget, adjourns 2016 session

Monday, May 2nd, 2016 @ 1:59PM

May 2, 2016

House passes budget, adjourns 2016 session
gavel on white background

TOPEKA–The House adjourned the 2016 session Monday after passing a final budget, completing the shortest session in 42 years.

“This session has witnessed important progress in making government more transparent and accessible to everyday Kansans,” said House Speaker Ray Merrick. “Government is intended to serve the people, not the other way around, and making it more open and transparent is one effective way to ensure that.”

The budget, contained in the conference committee report for Sub for SB 249, holds K-12 education funding at the highest level in history and protects last year’s block grant from possible future allotments by Governor Brownback. Additionally, the budget addresses problems that arose with the state mental health hospitals, authorizing raises for healthcare providers at Osawatomie and Larned State Hospitals using savings from implementing Alvarez and Marsal efficiency study recommendations.

“This budget is a hybrid of the three options presented by Governor Brownback, with additional changes from the budget conference committee,” said House Appropriations Chair Ron Ryckman Jr (R-Olathe). “It holds fast to the promise of stable, secure funding for schools as promised last year and gives additional flexibility to the governor to make targeted reductions and adjustments to state government spending.”

The budget bill contains a proviso with the contents of HB 2573, which implements live-streaming of legislative committee proceedings next year, using grants from the Information Network of Kansas (INK). That transparency provision is in addition to a number of other transparency measures that have passed the House in recent days, including amending the Kansas Open Records Act to include any recorded information made pursuant to a public employee’s official duties, as well as opening the names of attorneys who select members of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission.

The legislature adjourned on day 73 of the 90 day session. The last session that was shorter was in 1974, which adjourned at 64 days.

The official end of the 2016 session, known as sine die, is scheduled for June 1.


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