TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on an impasse in Kansas over the state budget and Medicaid expansion (all times local):
The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature has wrapped up most of its business for the year without passing a plan to expand Medicaid in Kansas as Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly wanted.
The Senate and House adjourned early Sunday morning.
Lawmakers approved an $18.4 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning in July. The budget had been blocked by Democrats and moderate Republicans wanting to pass an expansion plan, but moderate Republicans relented, and the effort collapsed.
The Senate is keeping open the option of reconvening May 14 to consider a nomination to the Kansas Court of Appeals.
Both chambers plan to return May 29 for the formal ceremony that officially marks the end of the Legislature’s annual session.
Kansas legislators have approved a budget that includes extra funds for higher education and the state’s prison system and pay increases for state workers.
The Senate voted 26-14 Saturday night to approve an $18.4 billion spending blueprint for state government for the budget year beginning in July. The House approved it on a 79-45 vote, so the measure goes to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
The bill would increase overall state spending by 6.5% over the current budget year. Much of it aligns with Kelly’s proposals.
The measure includes an additional $33 million for higher education and an extra $35 million for the state Department of Corrections.
The extra dollars were in addition to an increase in funding for public schools of roughly $90 million a year approved in April.
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s effort to expand Medicaid in Kansas this year has fallen apart.
Moderate Republican legislators gave up Saturday on getting a plan through the GOP-controlled Legislature this year, ending an impasse that was holding up approval of the next state budget.
The House voted 79-45 Saturday for an $18.4 billion spending blueprint for the budget year beginning in July. Democrats and moderate Republicans held up the budget in the House for a day in hopes of forcing an expansion vote in the Senate.
The House passed an expansion plan in March but it remained stuck in a Senate committee. GOP leaders succeeded in delaying action until next year.
The proposed budget went to the Senate, where its approval would send it to Kelly.
Top Republican legislators in Kansas are trying to break an impasse over the budget and Medicaid expansion by suggesting it creates problems with education funding.
They’re telling colleagues that the impasse threatens the state’s position in a lawsuit over public education funding just as the state could be close to ending it.
Lawmakers convened Saturday with expansion supporters blocking a budget in the House to force a vote on a House-passed expansion plan in the Senate.
Lawmakers approved a school funding increase last month aimed at satisfying a Kansas Supreme Court order last year. But the budget includes most of the state’s $4 billion-plus in funding for schools for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Supreme Court plans to hear arguments Thursday on whether the school funding increase is sufficient.
The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature is locked in an impasse over a Medicaid expansion plan favored by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
It’s been unable to pass a new budget that will keep state government operating after June.
Lawmakers were set to return Saturday to the Statehouse after the House on Friday rejected two different versions of a proposed $18.4 billion spending blueprint for the budget year beginning in July.
Democrats and moderate Republicans blocked them in hopes of forcing a vote in the Senate on an expansion plan.
Expansion advocates are pushing legislators to expand Medicaid health coverage to as many as 150,000 more Kansas residents now. Top Republicans argue that legislators need more time to get the details right and want to pass an expansion bill next year.