TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT) – Drama on the floor of the Kansas House Monday morning as lawmakers wrapped up the 2017 session. Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed a bill that would’ve expanded the Kansas Lottery. The revenue from the expansion was earmarked for mental health services. While House members had hoped to vote to override the veto, the Kansas Senate left before a vote could be cast.
“I would make the motion to override the governor’s veto, but our friends in the Senate had other engagements and standing up for the disabled and the mentally ill in Kansas wasn’t on their agenda today,” said Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita).
There was not even a debate on the issue. This was shocking to advocates who traveled to Topeka to take part in the process.
“By avoiding issues, to me it says that some things are less important than others. The issues that they’re talking about are home and community based services that make life possible in the community for people with disabilities,” said Stephanie Sanford with the Self Advocate Coalition of Kansas.
Sanford said the money that was lost is vital to the quality of life of Kansans with disabilities. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the issue is important and expressed frustration at not having debated the issue.
“A question that I asked was were we trying to do this quickly so that the house would not have an opportunity,” said Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence)
Francisco said that even if they didn’t have the votes to override the veto there still should have been a debate. She said it’s something she hopes the legislature will restore when they return in January.