Governor, Legislature Reach Power Compromise

The Kansas Legislature backed off its effort to remove Governor Laura Kelly from final decisions on how federal coronavirus relief funds are spent.

Budget legislation sent to Kelly includes a provision that gives top lawmakers more say, but still allows Kelly to veto their proposals.

Kelly appointed a task force last year to recommend how relief funds should be spent, with the State Finance Council making final decisions.

Kelly called council meetings, set the agenda, and could veto what it approves.

Republicans became frustrated.

Legislators approved a plan to leave final spending decisions to a group of only legislative leaders.

After Kelly vetoed that plan, legislators negotiated with Kelly, and they crafted a compromise.

The Finance Council would make final decisions about how federal relief funds are distributed, but a task force with four of seven members appointed by top lawmakers would have to approve spending first.