Republicans Violate Protocol with Procedural Maneuver, Stifle debate on $6.5 billion state budget
Topeka, KS: On the House floor this afternoon, Republican leadership deliberately stifled debate on the $6.5 billion state budget.
“The people of Kansas deserve nothing less than robust debate on how their tax dollars are spent,” said Rep. Tom Burroughs, House Democratic Leader said.
According to protocol, the ranking Democratic member defers to the vice chair to offer initial comments on the budget. In this instance, Rep. Sharon Schwartz, had her light on and was walking down the aisle to speak, when Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast turned the floor over to Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr. to close on the motion, ending the opportunity for debate.
Not only was Rep. Jerry Henry, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, poised to speak to the bill, but other members of the Democratic Caucus had prepared remarks as well.
“I am appalled by the procedural maneuver deployed by Republican leadership on the House floor. Sound public policy requires healthy, transparent, and civil debate, and today that did not happen,” Rep. Burroughs said.
No discussion has been had on the House floor regarding the state budget. The Senate did a gut and go on HB 2135, sending the bill back to the House where a motion to non-concur sent the bill to conference committee. The conference committee yesterday took the contents of S sub HB 2135 and moved them into H sub SB 212.
“Not only were members of the House not given the opportunity to offer amendments on the $6.5 billion state budget, but now we have been deprived of our right to speak to the bill as well,” Rep. Burroughs said.
# # #