TOPEKA (KSNT) — Even as the Senate discussed a possible override of Governor Brownback’s veto of Senate Bill 250, the governor is went on the defensive in a news release Thursday afternoon. SB 250 concerns the demolition of the Docking State Office Building and construction of a new Capitol Complex power plant.
The bill passed both chambers nearly unanimously. Only one state representative, Democrat Henry Helgerson, opposed SB 250. The overwhelming bipartisan support for the bill could be enough for the legislature to override the governor’s veto should they decide to. This was the first bill of the session he vetoed nearly a week ago.
Now, the governor is warning that an override of his authority could have “serious consequences for the State of Kansas” and claims that it could “affect us negatively for years to come.” In a news release from his office Thursday, the governor wrote: “If an override of Senate Bill 250 is viewed as an unwillingness to fund debt in accordance with priority payment status by the rating agencies, this could lead to a downgrade of the State’s credit rating, possibly into the ‘BB’ range.” He believes that if the legislature usurps his executive authority by overriding his veto, that it will result in higher credit rates and increased expense for the state’s future debts.
Legislators angry at not being consulted about a $20 million deal to demolish the office building passed Senate Bill 250. It would prevent any state money from being used to finance the demo or build a new power plant for the Capitol Complex through June 2017. The building’s residents are dwindling after many have moved out with the intention of the building being demolished to save the state money on a structure that’s too expensive to renovate. However, lawmakers were upset that a deal was made by the administration without their oversight and approval.
“At my direction, the Department of Administration terminated this contract for the energy center on Feb. 19, 2016,” said Governor Brownback. “Because that contract had already been canceled, the provisions of Senate Bill 250 are no longer necessary.