Lawmakers will return to end session

Legislators approved a flurry of bills that legalize sports gambling, invest $1.1 billion in the state's pension system, and blocking government mask mandates for all contagious disease outbreaks. They'll return in late May to complete the annual session.

By

State News

April 29, 2022 - 3:51 PM

Goodland Republican Sen. Richard Billinger, gesturing, said the budget bill forwarded to Gov. Laura Kelly made effective use of the state revenue surplus to pay down debt, make one-time investments and build a healthy reserve fund. Photo by (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The House and Senate completed a flurry of votes early Friday sending to Gov. Laura Kelly bills legalizing sports gambling, investing more than $1.1 billion in the state’s pension system and blocking government mask mandates for all contagious disease outbreaks.

The 2022 Legislature, which plans to return to Topeka in late May to complete the annual session, also plowed through legislation adding details to the state budget for the fiscal year starting in July. An unprecedented influx of tax revenue — lawmakers had a $3 billion surplus to work with — allowed lawmakers to craft a state budget designed to hold in reserve nearly $2 billion in the treasury or rainy-day funds.

Fate of Senate Bill 84 creating the opportunity for state-owned and tribal casinos to be in the business of sports wagering was unclear until the Senate’s 21-13 vote, which involved six Republican senators passing. The same bill easily cleared the House on a vote of 73-49. The gambling expansion measure passed with backing from Republicans and Democrats.

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