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Kansas Lawmakers Pass Bill To Temporarily Avoid State Employee Furloughs

Stephen Koranda
Kansas lawmakers are still debating how to close a $400 million budget hole for the coming fiscal year starting July 1.

With only hours remaining before furloughs started, Kansas lawmakers approved a bill that prevents state workers from being taken off the job. Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill and said  all state employees should report to work as usual.

While financial pressures still exist in state government, the bill deems all state employees “essential” and exempt from being furloughed. That designation only lasts through the end of the legislative session.

Furloughs would have started Sunday unless lawmakers came to agreement on a state budget. There were still large divisions between legislators, so they opted to instead pass the measure temporarily preventing furloughs.

Republican Vicki Schmidt is a state senator from Topeka. She believes the temporary measure was the right move for lawmakers to make.

"It’s the right for state employees, and it’s the right thing, quite frankly, for the state of Kansas to get this off of our plate," Schmidt said. "We can continue working on the budget and taxes."

There are still deadlines in place. Lawmakers need to approve a budget by the end of month so state employees can get their paycheck on time in early July.

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