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Sine die marks adjournment of 2021 KS legislative session

Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman (R-Olathe) declares the Kansas House adjourned officially...
Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman (R-Olathe) declares the Kansas House adjourned officially ending the Kansas legislative session on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 6:48 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - On the final day of the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers had plenty of business in mind.

Republican Senate President Ty Masterson introduced a resolution calling on Democratic Governor Laura Kelly to end additional pandemic unemployment benefits.

“The intentions I think were good in the beginning and the need was there but we’re at a point where this extra programming was a bit of a perverse incentive to our employment,” he said to the chamber.

Opponents were open to discussion on getting Kansans back to work but said other factors may stand in the way of people returning to work, like COVID-19 vaccination, so they feel safe working.

“We do need to have this discussion and figure out what is the best way to make sure people have livable wages childcare that they need,” said Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes (D-Lenexa).

“We do need to have this discussion and figure out what is the best way to make sure people have livable wages, childcare that they need,” she said.

Both the senate and house approved the nonbinding resolution.

Governor Kelly’s office had no reaction, saying she continues studying the issue.

The legislature also attempted to overturn the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 29, a bill expanding short-term health insurance plans.

“It makes short-term insurance policies better it helps alleviate pain on middle-class family members or family members in between jobs,” said Senator Richard Hildebrand, the Republican Majority Whip.

“We’re kind of giving people a silver spoon that’s not going to benefit them, in the end, it’s not comprehensive coverage and they’re not guaranteed renewal on those programs so there are a lot better programs we could have,” said Sykes.

The senate received the two-thirds majority needed to override but not the house.

In spite of the last-minute moves, legislative leaders praised the session’s bipartisanship.

“I think something that went really well was the ability to work together across party lines and even in our caucus went very well,” Masterson said.

“We had good bipartisanship on the medical cannabis bill, we got a good amount of Republican support to get that passed in the senate and hopefully the same thing can happen in the senate,” said House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer.

“Hopefully, we can get that on other issues like sports betting and Medicaid expansion.”

The legislature is adjourned until January 2022.

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