Legislative Update for March 1, 2017

The Kansas Legislature is nearly half way through its regular 2017 session. Some of the big focus areas include a tax plan to solve state budget challenge, a budget for next fiscal year, and a new funding school funding formula. Olathe Public Schools leadership is monitoring activities in Topeka closely and are working to answer questions and provide information to legislators, where needed.

Tax Plan Efforts

HB 2178*, a comprehensive tax package that would have netted $590 million in its first year, passed the House and Senate in February and was sent to the governor, where it was vetoed. Efforts to override the veto were unsuccessful. Work continues on a new plan to address revenue shortfalls.

School Finance

Most of the work of the legislature thus far has been on structurally fixing the state's fiscal crisis. Leaders have said they want to see what legislators are willing to do on the budget and revenue policies, before they act on a new school finance formula. The House Education Budget Committee has held hearings on a number of school finance bills and those bills remain alive for action in coming weeks. The Senate has not put any school finance bills in play, but the Senate Education Committee has been holding presentations on various elements of school finance. Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning has said they will begin work on a school finance formula when they return to work on March 6.