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.