Hornet Statehouse Buzz April 1, 2022
Week 12 of the statehouse buzz
Week Twelve—March 28-April 1, 2022
The last week of the session before first adjournment. It was conference week where the Senate and House committees worked out their respective differences on legislation, and especially important for us, the budget before voting on the conference committee reports and adjourning on Saturday morning at 1:30 am! It was a long week for everyone involved. The legislature returns for the veto session on April 25, but with two days of omnibus budget talks preceding that week-long session on April 21 and April 22.
I spent most of my time this week watching the conferees from the House Appropriations committee (Troy Waymaster, Kyle Hoffman, and Kathy Wolfe-Moore) and the Senate Ways and Means committee (Rick Billinger, J.R. Claeys, and Tom Hawk) make offers and come back with offers for over nine rounds before settling on the budget proposal agreed upon at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, March 30. It was voted on and accepted in both houses on Friday, April 1. It’s an interesting process to watch. It is a time-consuming process as they work out what they can agree on, and especially time consuming for the lobbyists and government relations folks who have to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. Get the picture?
For higher ed, $25.7 million was restored in the state university operating grant out of the $45 million requested by the governor. The remainder ($20 million) is to be decided at omnibus. Deferred maintenance added an additional $10 million to the $25 million in the governor’s budget plus an additional line item of $20 million for building demolition. The land sale bill (HB 2600) got added to the budget so that will be taken care of as the budget has passed and this is not a significant issue. The university GR’s thought it best that this bill be put in the conference committee on the budget.
A surprise came late on Wednesday. The House proposed to gut the requested $190 million commerce grant requested for universities to fund economic development-related issues. Instead, they took federal money appropriated to the Governor’s office from ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act, passing Congress in March 2021) and gave $100 million to KU, KSU and WSU for a variety of projects, about $30 million to community colleges for projects. Washburn and the independent colleges also received the ability to apply for a challenge grant of $10 million respectively. The remaining funds--$75 million—would be available for projects but at a 3:1 match of private funds with the federal funds. We hope we can prevail to change this at omnibus.
The budget is complete and except for a few matters related to higher ed which will be taken up three weeks from now, and apart from a veto session which will be preoccupied with controversial items from the session, most of the major work is complete.
I will have a final Buzz after the veto session with the results of the 2022 legislative session. No Buzz until the first week of May!
As usual, if I may be of assistance, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s the buzz this week!