The 2021 Kansas Legislative Session adjourned just after 2:00 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, May 8. The Veto Session began on Monday, May 3 and only lasted five days instead of two weeks as some expected. Lawmakers went to work quickly overriding five of the Governor's 17 vetoes by Monday afternoon.
The Legislature will return on May 26 for Sine Die adjournment, which is typically a quick, ceremonial closing of the legislative session. However, this year's Sine Die could get complicated if Governor Laura Kelly decides to override any more of the bills sent to her from last week.
Considered one of legislative leadership's biggest victories this year is the override on SB 50,
the primary tax bill which allows for federal decoupling. The legislation also increases the standard deduction for all Kansas income taxpayers, allows itemization on state returns regardless of federal filing status, and requires online retailers to collect and remit sales and transient guest taxes. It was touch and go for a few minutes in the House. After a few changes of vote, the final roll call was right on the line at 84-39.
The Senate's vote was 30-10
The Legislature also successfully overrode the Governor on the following bills:
- HB 2058 lowers the age to obtain a concealed carry license to 18 years;
- HB 2183 limits the number of advanced ballots delivered on behalf of another voter;
- HB 2332 sets requirements for the solicitation of advanced ballot applications;
- HB 2166 authorizes several distinctive state license plates.
There was one bill that the Legislature was unable to get to a two-thirds majority needed for an override. SB 55
created the fairness in women's sports act and required that female student athletic teams only include members who are biologically female. The Senate vote failed 26-14, so it was never considered by the House.
There were 11 other Governor veto's that the legislature did not attempt to override including the following education-related bills:
The 2021 Legislature will have its official last day of session on May 26th. Sine Die is usually a formality, but Senate Leadership announced that Senate members should plan on attending to attempt any overrides of anticipated vetoes by the Governor. The Senate is also expected to elect a new Majority Leader, to replace Senator Gene Sullentrop R-Wichita, who was voted out of his leadership position due to legal issues before regular session adjourned. Contenders for the leadership position include Asst. Majority Leader Larry Alley, R-Winfield, Majority Whip Richard Hilderbrand, R-Galena, and former Senate Vice-President Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia.