Republicans eye overrides of bill vetoes from Gov. Laura Kelly

Gun Rights

Gov. Laura Kelly has broken her own record for most vetoes in a session as the Republican supermajorities in the Legislature gear up for override attempts during this week’s veto session.

Kelly vetoed 15 bills touching on a range of social and fiscal politics — and one has already been overridden — as well as about 15 line-item vetoes in the budget. The governor has also signed 80 bills and allowed one more to become law without her signature.

Whether the Legislature overrides or sustains the vetoes will depend on absent Republican legislators showing up, if the handful of Republicans opposing some of the bills flip-flop and if Reps. Marvin Robinson, D-Kansas City, and Ford Carr, D-Wichita, side with the GOP.

To override a veto, both chambers need two-thirds majorities, which are 84 of 125 votes in the House and 27 of 40 votes in the Senate.

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Veto override attempts are expected to happen later this week during the Legislature’s veto session. Here’s what to know ahead of the votes:

More: Will Kansas pass an education budget? Burning questions remain as the Legislature wraps up

Anti-abortion politics remain despite Value Them Both’s defeat

Kelly vetoed three anti-abortion bills passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in the wake of the landmark Aug. 2 vote against the Value Them Both constitutional amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

She vetoed House Bill 2313, which would enact so-called “born alive” legislation that supporters say will protect a baby born alive after a botched abortion, but opponents say such a situation doesn’t happen in Kansas. The bill had veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate with some Democratic support.

Then there’s House Bill 2264, which combines the medically disputed concept of abortion pill reversal with redefining abortion in state law. Republicans have a path to an override if all absent GOP legislators show up and vote yes.

Finally, House Bill 2325 would strip abortion clinics from a state professional liability insurance fund while adding maternity homes to it. With bipartisan support, the Senate had the votes to override. The House would need an absent Republican to show up and vote yes.

The governor also line-item vetoed $2 million for a new “alternatives to abortion program” designed to funnel taxpayer money to anti-abortion counseling centers through a private organization that could be shielded from open records law.

Kelly did allow for a $339,000 increase to the Stan Clark Pregnancy Maintenance Initiative to fund services for an additional six months after birth.

More: Gov. Laura Kelly vetoes first abortion bill since Kansas voters rejected Value Them Both

More: Laura Kelly vetoes another anti-abortion bill with Kansas Republicans poised for overrides

After one successful override, four more anti-transgender vetoes

Kelly vetoed four anti-transgender bills last week, saying they would be bad for the economy.

Republicans have already succeeded in overriding the veto of a fifth anti-transgender bill banning transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s sports, thanks to the help of Robinson.

More: Kansas becomes latest state with transgender athletes ban, as lawmakers override Gov. Laura Kelly

Senate Bill 180, which would establish a so-called women’s bill of rights, will likely hinge on the votes of Robinson and Carr, plus absent legislator Rep. Samantha Poetter Parshall, R-Paola. Senate Bill 228, which applies language from SB 180 to the state’s jails, had veto-proof majorities.

House Bill 2138 also had veto-proof majorities. The bill would impose on school districts that they provide separate accommodations for students based on biological sex.

For Senate Bill 26 to become law, which would ban gender-affirming care for children, it would require a minimum of a dozen House Republicans to flip from their past no votes.

More: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly rejects transgender bathroom bill, gender-affirming care ban

Election bill lacks veto-proof majority

Kelly vetoed Senate Bill 209, which would end the so-called “three-day grace period” that allows advance mail ballots to be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day and delivered by the Friday following an election.

The bill would instead require ballots be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

An override would appear to be a tall task for GOP leadership. The bill was short of a supermajority by four votes in the Senate with three Republicans absent. It was off by eight votes in the House with one Republican absent.

More: Gov. Laura Kelly vetoes election law change critics worry could hurt mail voting in Kansas

Flat income tax plan leads to tax cut veto

Kelly on Monday vetoed Senate Bill 169, a package of various tax cuts headlined by a flat tax proposal. The package totals $1.4 billion in tax relief over three fiscal years.

The bill had a veto-proof majority in the House. But the Senate would need all three Republicans who missed the roll call to show up and vote yes, including Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, who voted against a previous iteration of the flat tax bill and has said she remains undecided.

More: Kansas governor vetoes tax cut plan, citing need to help those ‘who need it most.’ What now?

Additional veto overrides face mixed chances

Relating to public education, Kelly vetoed House Bill 2236, enacting a so-called parents bill of rights. That bill did not have a veto-proof majority in either chamber.

More: Proposal to allow Kansas parents to pull students from objectionable lessons vetoed

She also vetoed House Bill 2304, which would standardize gun safety programs in schools with either a hunters safety program or the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle program. That bill had a veto-proof majority in the Senate, but not the House.

More: Gov. Laura Kelly rejects bill to increase uptake of NRA gun safety program in schools

On child care, Kelly vetoed House Bill 2344, which would have overhauled the regulatory system in what supporters hoped would loosen red tape on day care providers. That bill did not have a veto-proof majority in either chamber.

More: ‘We can’t wait’ — Kansas lawmakers narrowly advance overhaul of child care regulations

Kelly also vetoed House Bill 2350, which would create new crimes for human smuggling and trafficking. That bill had comfortable bipartisan veto-proof majorities in both chambers after legislators removed provisions opposed by House Democrats but supported by Republican Attorney General Kris Kobach.

More: Rebuking Kris Kobach, Kansas legislators strip ‘alien hunt’ amendment from human trafficking bill

Kelly vetoed House Bill 2094, a welfare reform package primarily designed to increase work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents receiving food stamps who are 50 to 59 years old. The bill was four votes shy of a supermajority in the House with two Republicans absent and one vote shy in the Senate with two Republicans absent.

More: Laura Kelly vetoes bill on food stamp restrictions and work requirements for older Kansans

Kelly also line-item vetoed several items from the budget, including two diversity, equity and inclusion provisos affecting state universities and the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board.

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