Topeka, Kansas — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly told the Republican-controlled Congress in a state address Tuesday night that even if a Democratic governor is asking, “irresponsible tax proposals” and “pro-parent tax proposals.” against teachers,” warned against educational measures. Republican support for her agenda.
Kelly called for the immediate elimination of the state sales tax on food, the creation of a back-to-school sales tax holiday, and the provision of tax breaks for some retirees. We want Kansas to fully fund special education after more than a decade without adequate funding.
The governor has stressed that she wants to work across the aisle in the first few weeks of her second term, including a possible compromise to legalize medical marijuana in Kansas. said that action must be taken to address declining water supplies in the United States, saying politicians have been “lost the way” for decades.
But Kelly’s annual state address also shows she’s ready to veto when she begins her second term.
Governor Kelly warned that the classroom is not a “political place” and said he opposes efforts “designed to turn parents against teachers, communities against schools, and keep young people out of the teaching profession.” rice field.
In both Kansas and states across the country, Republicans have used critical racial theory (a college-level academic concept that examines the role of institutions in perpetuating racism) and the K-12 classroom “segregation.” I have pursued a law prohibiting the concept of For example, Missouri’s bill prohibits teaching any form of “race or gender scapegoat.”
“I stand up against politicians who seek political gain at the expense of students and families. Our students should not be used as political pawns. Never,” Kelly said. rice field.
Republican lawmakers have also called for a ban on transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports, a proposal Kelly has twice rejected. has promised to propose a “Parental Rights Bill” aimed at enabling
The Florida version of the “Parents’ Rights Bill” became known as the “Gay No Speech Bill,” which prohibited classroom instruction related to gender identity or sexual orientation. Earlier versions of Kansas law were less extensive.
Senate Speaker Ty Masterson, a Republican from Andover, said in response to a speech, “We are focusing our children on future success, not on the sexually awakened agenda that permeates today’s system.” I want a quality classical education that is well prepared and focused on academic excellence.”Pre-recorded two weeks in advance.
“The sad reality is her party,” Masterson said, referring to Kelly.
Kelley’s primary education priority this year centers on significantly increasing the amount of aid the state provides schools to educate children with special needs. Enjoying a budget surplus of $2 billion, Kelly proposes adding $72 million annually to special education to bring the state into compliance within five years.
The amount of funding can affect the types of services and instruction that Kansas’s 90,000-plus students receive. Nearly one in five students in the state receives special education services, according to the Kansas State Board of Education Association. This includes students with both developmental and physical disabilities, as well as students enrolled in gifted programs.
“The special education funding gap doesn’t just affect students with special needs,” Kelly said. “It affects all students because schools provide these services. Because it will divert funds from other areas to do so.”
Kelly introduces Danny Robson, a fifth grader at Shawnee Mission School District, who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and is visually impaired.
Kelly said Danny’s mother, Laura, frequently volunteers at the school and had to keep Danny home from school because there weren’t enough staff to keep him safe. We have experienced the consequences of lack of funds, including.
Some Republicans want to resist or attach major conditions to approval of additional special education budgets.
Rep. Christie Williams, a Republican from Augusta, said: “The law is flawed.
The governor was originally scheduled to speak at a joint session of Congress two days after his second inauguration, but was postponed after testing positive for COVID-19.
Kelly’s office then said it was a false positive, although he did not actually have the virus. Tuesday was Kelly’s 73rd birthday, and after lawmakers sang “Happy Birthday,” she joked, “It was just to hear you sing Happy Her Birthday.” .
The speech delivered in the House Chamber full of lawmakers, state officials and special guests was adversarial in some respects. State governments typically allow the governor the opportunity to provide a preview of the agenda before announcing a budget proposal that details exactly how these goals will be funded.
But Kelly’s budget was already announced two weeks ago, and Republicans are skeptical of some of her goals. Few issues test Kelly’s ability to negotiate with the Republican Party more than medical marijuana.
Legalization has stalled since the House passed a bill to legalize the drug in 2021.
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House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican, said he would refer the issue to the Senate this year. Some supporters are hoping a breakthrough will happen despite Masterson’s hesitation.
“I think there’s some movement over there. There are some encouraging signs,” said House Majority Leader Vic Miller of the Topeka Democratic Party.
Kansas is surrounded on three sides by states that have legalized drugs, including Missouri, whose voters just approved a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational use.
Kelly referred to an incident in Hayes when police used marijuana products in a terminally ill patient’s room to ease pain.
“We all know it’s ridiculous,” Kelly said. “This is not the police’s fault. They just enforced the law. That means the law itself is ridiculous.”
After his speech, Masterson said his position had not changed. He called Hayes’ case an “interesting example.”
“Potential palliative care has a role, bills are being drawn up, hearings are due, and there’s no shame in doing it from some bad examples,” he said.
On taxes, Kerry and the Republican leadership have come pretty close this year on tax policy with the common goal of cutting the Social Security income tax. But Republicans introduced legislation that took it one step further, eliminating the income tax on Social Security and reducing taxes on other retirement benefits.
Republicans have indicated they are willing to negotiate with Kerry about removing the state sales tax on food immediately. Lawmakers approved, and Kerry signed a phase-out this spring that would ultimately require about $400 million in annual revenue.
Some lawmakers want to consider a flat tax that will almost certainly win a veto from Kelly. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce introduced a bill introducing a flat income tax of 2.25% to both chambers. The bill includes a mechanism to gradually reduce state income taxes to zero if the state is collecting more tax revenue than estimated.
Hawkins said Republicans would pass a policy to cut Social Security income, but it would be tied to other tax policies.
“She will have a choice to refuse or not,” he said.
Kelly didn’t directly respond to the specific proposal Tuesday night, but promised to oppose the idea of eroding the state’s “financial base.” Kansas experienced years of budget shortfalls until 2017 when lawmakers sharply rescinded former Republican Governor Sam Brownback’s 2012 income tax cuts.
“We’ve been there before. We know where it leads. There’s no turning back,” Kelly said.
“No debt. Crumbling roads. An overwhelmed foster care system. And perhaps most devastating, underfunded schools,” she said. “We can’t go back to the days when financial irresponsibility here in Topeka robbed Kansas students of opportunity.”
Kelly must once again work with the Republican Congress, which has a supermajority, to get her agenda. Republicans in the House and Senate this year show a higher level of cooperation between the two houses than ever before.
Democratic governors have long pushed for Medicaid expansion. This will provide health insurance to the estimated 100,000+ residents in the office each year. After the speech, Hawkins said, “Medicaid isn’t going anywhere,” despite another plea from Kelly.
“I sound like a broken record, but that’s because our healthcare system is broken,” Kelly said.
Kelly also called for action on another long-standing problem, the state’s water supply.
Some estimate that if the Ogallala aquifer dries up, parts of western Kansas could run out of water within a decade. While there is bipartisan recognition of the issue, little has been done in Congress to address it.
“Waiting for a miracle to happen is not an option. We have to do something,” Kelly said. “Everything we have achieved in the last four years is jeopardized by inaction.”