4Star Politics: Legislative session nears end, but lawmakers have a lot of work left


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The legislative session winds down in Topeka, but lawmakers have a lot of business left on the agenda.

Katie Bernard, the Kansas City Star’s Topeka Correspondent, and Brad Cooper of the Sunflower State Journal join FOX4’s John Holt and Kansas City Star Editorial Board member Dave Helling on the latest episode of “4Star Politics” to talk about it being crunch time.

While lawmakers were able to pass a $20 billion budget, it doesn’t contain any funding for education for the next year. An education bill that tied funding to voucher measures barely made it through the House. It then died in the Senate earlier this week.

“The school bill was going to be interesting. My sense is right now is that they’re giving up on the school choice provisions that would offer basically a public subsidy for at-risk kids go to private schools. I’m not sure the votes are there, Cooper said.”

Helling said he believed that schools remain the biggest unfinished item that Kansas lawmakers must still address. The issue will face lawmakers when they return for the veto session.

“I certainly think that’s a big thing, but let’s not forget there’s a big tax bill out there too that has not been resolved.” Cooper said. “I think it’s been somewhat complicated because of federal tax law, which, when they passed the tax bill I don’t think a lot of people were talking about this little twist that allows businesses to not only take their PPP loans that were given out during the pandemic, but those are now tax free loans.”

Cooper estimates that the deductions mean the state will to take an additional hit of somewhere between $350 and $370 million.

“I did anyway sense this tension between the legislature and the Governor to still be very much played out and maybe the fruits of that will become more apparent,” Helling said.

The transgender sports bill was one that caused some conflict, but lawmakers were also able to compromise in other areas.

“Hopefully education measures, there have been clear conflict between the government in the legislature areas that we didn’t see much conflict, we actually thought, you know, some compromise come up or you know, in the rejiggering of the management law and the unemployment insurance overhaul bill, those were thought to conflict and actually, you know, we thought some pretty big compromises,” Bernard said.

Watch the full episode of 4Star Politics in the above video player.

FOX4 and The Kansas City Star are partnering to bring you 4Star Politics, a special digital venture with new episodes released Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

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