On Monday May 1, the legislature reconvened for the so-called "wrap-up" or veto session. The April break allowed the Governor to receive the bills that advanced through the regular session and sign or veto them. Returning in May is designed to allow the legislature one last attempt to consider and override any bills vetoed by the Governor and to pass an omnibus budget reconciling previous appropriations with the cost of new legislation passed. Though that is the design, it has been a long time since the wrap-up session has worked that way.
The focus of this year's regular session was passage of a rescission bill to balance the current fiscal year and consideration of health-related issues, namely Medicaid expansion. Although the House of Representatives was unable to secure enough votes to override the Governor's veto, the issue received the most thorough vetting, consideration and support that it has to date. Despite the strong legislative and statewide support that remains for Medicaid expansion, the legislature simply does not appear to have the time or capacity to craft a new policy and strategy on the subject with so many other policy questions still unanswered.
The Kansas Supreme Court has given the legislature until June 30 to craft a reasonable remedy to what has been ruled an inequitable K-12 school finance plan. Additionally, legislators have yet to pass a budget for upcoming fiscal years, nor have they been able to gain the Governor's approval of a tax package to fund essential services. These issues would be difficult even if the state were replete with cash and had many months ahead of them to navigate the complexities of such issues. But with empty coffers and a waning number of days left on the legislative calendar, their task is significantly more difficult.