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UPDATE: Lawmakers Fail to Pass Budget, Leaving KS Courts in Limbo


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The failure of Kansas lawmakers to approve a state budget could mean furloughs in the court system.  House and Senate negotiators were unable to agree on a budget compromise Friday, which was the last day of the regular session before lawmakers take a three-week recess.  The legislation funding state government in the next fiscal year also included extra money for some operations in the current budget year, which ends June 30.  Chief Justice Lawton Nuss told lawmakers in February the judicial branch was facing a $1.4 million shortfall in the current budget year. Nuss requested a supplemental appropriation to prevent five-day furloughs of about 1,500 court employees.  It's unclear whether the furloughs can be avoided if legislators approve the funding request after they return to work April 25.


Budget Agreement Unraveled Just Before Vote

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An agreement among Kansas legislators over a proposed $14.1 billion state budget unraveled on Friday.  House negotiators backed away from the compromise spending plan shortly before their chamber was supposed to vote on it.  House Speaker Mike O'Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, then announced that his chamber would not vote before lawmakers adjourned in the evening for their annual spring break.  The issue was how to cover $25 million in unexpected costs faced by the state's 286 school districts. The House had proposed diverting money from highway projects, an idea not in Governor Sam Brownback's budget recommendations or approved by the Senate.  The budget agreement called for lawmakers to address that issue when they return from their break April 25. But House negotiators wanted senators to reconsider, and senators didn't.



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