- Associated Press - Friday, April 27, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Latest on the Kansas Legislature’s debate on the state budget and cutting taxes (all times local):

8:25 p.m.

The Kansas House has given first-round approval to a bill adding new spending to $16 billion-plus state budgets approved last year for the state’s current fiscal year and the next one beginning in July.

House members advanced the measure on a voice vote and expect to take another, final vote Saturday. Passage then would send the bill to the Senate.

The bill includes nearly $8 million to provide pay raises for employees in the state’s court system, including a 2.5 percent increase for judges. It also restores $12 million in past cuts in the state’s higher education system.



The Senate expects to debate its own budget legislation next week and the final version will be drafted by negotiators for the two chambers.

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7:13 p.m.

A spokesman for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says a provision in a Kansas House budget bill directed at him is legally flawed.

The House voted 103-16 on Friday to add a provision saying no statewide elected official cited for contempt by a court can use any funds in the state budget to pay fines, court costs or attorney fees.

A federal judge found Kobach in contempt earlier this month and ruled Kobach violated a court order requiring his office to inform certain people they were eligible to vote while a voting rights lawsuit is heard. Kobach is appealing.

Kobach is being sued in his official capacity. Kobach is running for governor and spokesman Moriah Day said the next secretary of state will become the defendant in January 2019.

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6:44 p.m.

The Kansas House has rejected a proposal to expand the state’s Medicaid health coverage for up to 155,000 additional needy people.

The vote Friday was 66-56 against adding an expansion of Medicaid to a bill that would make changes to the state’s current budget and the budget for the next fiscal year beginning in July.

The proposal would have expanded Medicaid as encouraged by the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 championed by former President Barack Obama. Lawmakers approved an expansion last year and former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed it.

GOP critics said an expansion would prove costly to the state.

Democratic Rep. Brett Parker of Overland Park proposed the expansion. He and other supporters said it would help needy Kansans and draw down millions of new federal dollars.

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6:30 p.m.

The Kansas House is debating a proposal to expand the state’s Medicaid health coverage for up to 155,000 additional needy people.

The House considered the proposal Friday as an amendment to a bill that would make changes to the state’s current budget and the budget for the next fiscal year beginning in July.

The proposal would expand Medicaid as encouraged by the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 championed by former President Barack Obama. Lawmakers passed an expansion bill last year and former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed it.

Democratic Rep. Brett Parker of Overland Park proposed the expansion. He and other supporters say it would help needy Kansans and draw down millions of new federal dollars.

GOP critics said an expansion would prove costly to the state.

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5:27 p.m.

The Kansas House has taken a jab at Secretary of State Kris Kobach during a debate on budget legislation by adding a provision directed at him.

The House’s vote Friday was 103-16 to add a provision that says no statewide elected official cited for contempt by a court can use any funds in the state’s next budget to pay fines, court costs or attorney fees.

A federal judge found Kobach in contempt earlier this month. The judge ruled he violated a court order requiring his office to inform certain people that they were eligible to cast a ballot while a lawsuit challenging a state voter identification law worked its way through the courts.

Kobach is appealing the ruling. His spokesman did not immediately return phone and text messages seeking comment.

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3:25 p.m.

Kansas House members have rejected a proposal that would have automatically trimmed about $300 million from the state’s next budget if the state Supreme Court rejects a new law boosting spending on public schools.

The vote Friday was 71-53 for an amendment to strip the proposal from budget legislation being considered by the House. Its Appropriations Committee included the provision in case lawmakers are ordered to boost education funding further than they have.

The Supreme Court ruled in October that the state’s education funding in inadequate under the state constitution and legislators enacted a new law to phase in a $534 million increase in spending over five years.

Supporters said the provision was a responsible way to deal with budget uncertainties. Critics predicted it could create chaos for government agencies.

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2:37 p.m.

Kansas legislators are considering proposals to boost spending while top Republicans mull over measures that would reduce taxes.

The House debated a bill Friday that would revise the $16 billion-plus budgets approved last year for the state’s current fiscal year and the next fiscal year that begins in July.

The bill includes nearly $8 million to provide pay raises for employees in the state’s court system, including a 2.5 percent increase for judges. It also restores $12 million in past cuts in the state’s higher education system.

But the House’s debate came a day after top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature met with executives from large corporations to discuss reducing their state taxes. Changes in federal tax laws late last year are expected to boost those state taxes.

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