April 8, 2011



Legislative update, April 8

By Susan Peterson

Kansas Capitol

The Kansas Legislature adjourned late last week and will return April 27 for the veto session. Both the House and Senate passed budget bills but did not hold a conference committee to reconcile the significant differences between the two versions passed by the chambers. At this time, the conference committee has not been scheduled.

The budget bills do not include a salary reduction for any state employee, except the state agency head.

The bill passed by the Senate is close to the budget recommended by the governor and includes the classified market pay for Fiscal Year -- FY -- 2012.

The bill passed by the House does not include the market pay for FY '12. The House bill includes a 1.193 percent across the board state general cut for most state agencies.

It also requires employees to pay a 5 percent surcharge on health insurance benefits beginning in January 2012. The surcharge would then be deposited into the state general fund and will not be used to reduce the employer contribution to the employee's health insurance benefit.

Other House-passed provisions include reducing the number of state cell phones capturing travel points and cutting subscriptions and membership dues.

The week of April 18 the House Appropriations and the Senate Ways and Means Committee will re-convene in Topeka to begin work on the omnibus spending bill, which is required to balance the state budget for the next fiscal year FY '12.

Since the Legislature wrote the budget bills the March revenues are below the projections for year. The Consensus Revenue Estimating Team will meet the week of April 18 to determine if revisions are needed in the revenue estimates used by the governor and Legislature to craft a final budget.

As a reminder, you have a right to contact your legislators and express your view. If you choose to contact your legislator please do it on your own time, use your personal email account, or write a letter on personal stationary.

Please watch for further updates later in April when the Legislature returns for the veto session.

If you have questions or comments please contact Sue Peterson skp@k-state.edu or Bruce Shubert, bshubert@k-state.edu.