Kelly pivots more to veto power

Despite Republican supermajorities in the Kansas House and House Senate, the Legislature managed to override only nine of her 28 vetoes during four legislative sessions stretching from 2019 to 2022.

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State News

May 31, 2022 - 3:35 PM

Gov. Laura Kelly and Senate President Ty Masterson applauding at a mental health conference. During Kelly’s four sessions as governor, she vetoed 28 bills and fought off veto overrides by the GOP-led House and Senate 19 times. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed legislation three times as often in the past two years compared to the first half of the Democrat’s term as governor.

Despite Republican supermajorities in the Kansas House and House Senate, the Legislature managed to override only nine of her 28 vetoes during four legislative sessions stretching from 2019 to 2022. The Legislature could convene in special session in second half of 2022 and provide Kelly new opportunity to flex veto muscles before close of her term in January. A reelection victory in November would offer four more years of veto intrigue.

Kelly was able to sustain vetoes on bills that would have allowed use of robot delivery vehicles on sidewalks, mandated passage of a civics test to graduate high school and expanded use of meager health plans not covering pre-existing conditions. She sustained vetoes on highly controversial bills that were among the highest priorities of Republicans, including this year’s educational bill of rights that advocates argued promoted transparency and skeptics said fostered conflict between parents and teachers.

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