TOPEKA — Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, has introduced a measure to halt legislative pay after Thursday, the 90th day of the session.
In odd-number years, legislators can meet past the standard 90 days without voting to extend the session.
In a news release, McGinn, chair of the Senate’s ways and means committee, said “Kansans elected us to come to Topeka to get our work done within the 90-day session. For those concerned with balancing the budget and — as much as is possible — setting good public policy, we need to get serious about finishing our work and going home.”
Legislative research director Alan D. Conroy said it costs $60,000 every day legislators meet. That figure includes salaries for support staff. Last year, legislators met for 89 days. The longest session since 1969, for which records were readily available Friday, was in 2002, when legislators met 102 days.
“We do not have extra money to pay for legislators’ inaction,” McGinn said Friday. “That money could be better spent in the classroom or serving our most vulnerable citizens, if legislators get their work done on time.”
House Speaker Mike O’Neal on Friday afternoon called McGinn’s measure “window dressing.” He said he would support asking legislators to decline pay at their choice but raised concerns about the legality of stopping pay. Mary Torrence, revisor of statutes, said she knew of no reason why ceasing pay at 90 days would be unconstitutional.