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Kansas: Unexpected Attempt at Veto Override Unsuccessful

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Yesterday, members of the Kansas House of Representatives unexpectedly attempted to override Gov. Brownback’s line item veto of funding for the Kansas Arts Commission, but the body fell short of the needed votes to do so.

Here are more details from the Associated Press:

“The vote in the House was 50-44. But legislators who wanted to override the veto needed a two-thirds majority, or 84 of 125 votes. Thirty-one House members were absent. That’s not unusual for the day the Legislature sets aside for its adjournment ceremony, because typically no substantial business is conducted...Of the 92 Republicans, 23 voted “yes,” 44 voted “no,” and 25 did not vote. Of the 33 Democrats, 27 voted “yes” and six did not vote.”

The article also lists the vote tally by legislator name.

Another article quoted pro-arts legislators on their reaction to the situation:

Reps. Ann Mah (D-Topeka), Vern Swanson (R-Clay Center), and Barbara Ballard (D-Lawrence), said they believe the Legislature should have countered the governor’s action on arts funding.

Mah said the veto undermined rural Kansas communities that depend on state and federal funding for the arts. Urban centers might be able to find alternative funding, she said, while other cities may struggle to make up the difference.

‘This veto makes Kansas the laughingstock of the nation,’ Mah said. ‘How could we possibly think we’re going to attract employers to this state when our governor’s veto delivers a message that Kansas is so backward we don’t understand how important quality of life is to attracting jobs?’

Ballard said the demise of the arts commission would deny children exposure to music, dance, and other forms of artistic expression.

‘This is such a big deal for them,’ she said. ‘This is part of their development.’”

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