Kansas Lawmakers Not Quite Done; Need to Fix Flaw in Law
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are extending their longest-ever annual session with an extra 114th day to fix a problem that arose after they inadvertently enacted two conflicting versions of a law aimed at holding down local property taxes. House and Senate negotiators are meeting today (FRI) to review the language for the correction, just before their chambers convened. Legislators initially planned only a brief adjournment ceremony. But they discovered a problem with a law limiting the authority of cities and counties to spend increases in property tax revenues without voters' approval. The limits were supposed to take effect in 2018. The limits were included in two bills raising sales and cigarette taxes to balance the budget. One said the property tax limits would start in July and the other, in 2018.
Meanwhile, a Kansas House committee is holding a hearing into a Democratic lawmaker's remarks that labeled as "racist bigots" supporters of a bill ending college tuition breaks for students living in the U.S. illegally. A special, six-member investigating panel is meeting in the case of Representative Valdenia Winn of Kansas City, Kansas. Nine Republican lawmakers complained after Winn called the tuition proposal a "racist, sexist, fear-mongering bill" in March. A hearing transcript said she apologized to those "whose lives are being hijacked by the racist bigots" supporting the measure. According to the transcript, when committee members protested that they were being called bigots, she responded "if the shoe fits, it fits." The complaint called her remarks "offensive" and reprehensible." Her supporters see the complaint as an attack on free speech.