AG urges governor to veto items in Kansas budget

6/15/2013

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was still reviewing the state budget Friday and will likely decide this weekend whether to veto any items, a spokeswoman said.

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was still reviewing the state budget Friday and will likely decide this weekend whether to veto any items, a spokeswoman said.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt has urged the governor to veto two budget items that Schmidt, a Republican, says would be a hardship on his office.

Legislators finished work on the budget on June 2, laying out how to spend $14.5 billion in each of the next two fiscal years. The Republican governor has until Sunday by law to sign the bill, veto all or parts of the measure or let it become law without his signature.

Spokeswoman Sherriene Jones Sontag said late Friday the governor was still reviewing items in the budget and was expected to come to a decision on Saturday. The governor leaves Sunday for Paris, where he will represent Kansas at an international air show.

Schmidt wants Brownback to veto a provision that would divert $600,000 from licensing fees for concealed carry permits to fund general government programs. Schmidt also opposes a salary cap on state agencies, including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

"The cap would hamstring both the attorney general's office and the KBI in performing core public safety functions by awkwardly micromanaging our ability to participate in federally funded and fee-funded programs, such as drug-enforcement efforts and certain prosecutions," said Schmidt, who has the backing of several law enforcement associations.

The governor has the power to veto individual line items in budget legislation. Because of the way legislators drew up the budget, though, he is limited in what he can do with the salary cap and additional cuts to higher education. Officials with the Department of Corrections have also raised concerns about the salary cap and what it could mean for providing adequate supervision of individuals out on parole, including sex offenders.

Brownback and legislative leaders have suggested filing a supplemental budget request next January when the 2014 Legislature convenes. The request would seek to negate the effects of the salary cap and restore full funding for higher education.

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