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Week 9 of the Hornet Statehouse Buzz.

Week 8 of the statehouse buzz

Week Nine—March 7-11, 2022

The week began with a report out of the higher ed budget by Rep. Susan Humphries, chair of the Higher Ed Budget committee, in the House Appropriations committee hearing. It was a long meeting, about two-and-a-half hours just on the budget. The only controversy impacting the four-year institutions had to do with the proposal to split the governor’s recommendation of $45.7 million in funding to restore the institutions to pre-Covid levels of funding. Higher ed budget had split this, as reported last week (Senate Ways and Means did the same) with $20 million approved now and $25 million left for omnibus session. The amendment, which passed, stipulated that all $45.7 million be left for omnibus, pending additional information from KBOR about how the money is to be spent and how it is used. That could get interesting as the money may be appropriated in toto; may be killed altogether; or may be split in half again. Stay tuned: omnibus starts in late April.

I testified on the Earl Center (HB 2600) on Monday afternoon to Higher Ed Budget as well as four other university properties for sale (K-State, KU and Pitt State). On March 8, they amended all the bills into one (and it has our number, which means ESU gets a piece of the action on all the other sales—oops, I am fantasizing again. We don’t). But all the other government relations people were jealous that our number got chosen 😊 Now it is off to the House.

The Senate Ways and Means committee discussed the budget on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week. Senator Rick Billinger (R-Hays) added a proviso to the budget saying that he recommends an additional $10 million into the deferred maintenance proposal from the governor (for a total of $35 million) and an additional $20 million for universities to dedicate to demolition of buildings. He then said that next year he wants to tackle the deferred maintenance issue for the long-term and will be working on that for the 2023 session.

Snow interrupted the session on Thursday. And both houses adjourned for the week after Wednesday evening with some committees meeting on Thursday.

The Buzz this Week

  • Kansas Master teacher day is Tuesday, March 15th! Looking forward to meeting two classes of teachers from 2020 and 2022 and having their special day at the statehouse
  • House appropriations begins its budget work this week with two hearings scheduled on their deliberations on March 15th and March 16th.
  • The United States Senate passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill yesterday, completing work on a similar House bill. Inside is a NIST grant of $1.5 million for an ESU cybersecurity center which was put in the proposal by Senator Jerry Moran. More details on that coming from the buzz.

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