Dear Jayhawks for Higher Education:
The Legislature has adjourned until March 6, and lawmakers will be back home in their districts for the next week. Thursday marked “turnaround,” which means bills must be passed by their chamber of origin or introduced to an “exempt” committee to remain under consideration during the rest of the session. Bills that have not met these criteria are now dead. As a result, the House and Senate were busy debating many bills, but the most prominent was the tax package that had been passed by the House and Senate last week. Governor Brownback vetoed the bill, and the House immediately voted successfully to override the veto, 85 to 40, with one vote more than was needed. The Senate, however, failed to override the veto by a vote of 24 to 16, three votes short of the 27 required.
This week Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little presented KU’s budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to the Senate Higher Education Budget Committee. When the Legislature returns to Topeka March 6, KU’s budget recommendations will be presented to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee.
While senators and representatives are home in their districts over the next week, please seek opportunities to thank them for their work and remind them of KU’s legislative priorities during the 2017 session:
• restoring the $10.7 million cuts to KU’s budget that Governor Brownback made in May 2016
• stable higher education funding for fiscal years 2018 and 2019
Many legislators announce their community forums via Facebook, so I encourage you to check their Facebook pages for event details or reach out personally to your senators and representatives. In addition, if you would like to receive legislative information via your mobile device, please download our JHE app.
Thank you for your dedication as a JHE advocate.
Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09