Another busy week at the Kansas Legislature as legislators worked before the end of turn around day on Thursday.
On Monday, February 20th House Education Committee Chairman, Clay Aurand, cancelled the Education Committee meeting. He did this because he did not want HB 2179 to come up for a vote in committee. HB 2179 would reinstate due process for teachers in Kansas. HB 2179 was likely to move out of the House Education Committee favorably. However, this was not the end of the fight to reinstate due process for teachers.
On Tuesday, February 21st while on the House floor under general orders, Representative Stogsdill offered an amendment to HB 2186. The amendment would restore due process rights for teachers. Representative Aurand again tried to obstruct and challenged that the amendment was not germane. The rules committee ruled that the amendment was germane. The amendment did pass 66-59 and the underlying bill also passed. HB 2186 now heads to the Senate.
As many of you probably know Governor Sam Brownback vetoed the bipartisan tax plan Wednesday morning. The House stood up to the Governor and overrode the Governors veto 85-40. The bill (HB 2178) then went to the Senate where it needed 27 votes to override the veto. Unfortunately the Senate could not come up with enough votes to override the veto. They were three votes short, 24-16. The leadership in the Senate, President Wagle and Majority Leader Denning all stood aside Brownback and his allies in the Senate and blocked the override. The legislature now has to start all over again in attempting to formulate a tax plan.
On Wednesday there was another bill of interest that came up in the Kansas House. HB 2095 would increase semi-truck weight limits that are allowed to drive on Kansas highways. HB 2095 would allow semi-trucks to weigh up to 90,000 pounds. This bill would adversely affect Kansas roads and Kansas jobs. Our highways are already in rough shape because of Brownback’s raiding of the KDOT fund. Allowing even heavier trucks on Kansas roads would only make this problem even worse. HB 2095 also would put some of our citizens at risk. The current Federal commercial vehicle maximum standards on Interstate Highway System are 80,000 pounds. Why do we want to risk our citizens and go far above this? Unfortunately HB 2095 did pass 77-48. HB 2095 now heads to the Senate.
Another interesting note, on Wednesday an amendment attached to HB 2044 that would expand Medicaid passed the Kansas House. The amendment was carried by Representative Concannon and passed on a vote 83-40. HB 2044 now heads to the Senate as well.
The Legislature is now on a break and does not return until March 6th.