Kansas governor vetoes special pension measure for lawmakers

April 20, 2022 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday vetoed a measure tucked into a spending bill that would have allowed Kansas legislators to reconsider a decision not to join the state pension system for teachers and government workers.

The state constitution gives governors the power to veto individual items in spending bills even while signing them, and Kelly used it to strike what she called “an exclusive opportunity” for members of the Republican-controlled Legislature that’s not available to other public employees.

State law currently requires lawmakers to decide when they are elected whether they will participate in the state pension system, a move that sets aside part of their salaries to help pay for their retirement benefits. The law says that the decision is “irrevocable.”

The provision would allow lawmakers to reverse that decision before their 2023 session begins in January.

Kelly questioned whether the IRS would allow such a change if the federal government reviewed it.

Lawmakers can override a veto with two-thirds majorities in both chambers. The budget legislation passed with larger, bipartisan majorities.