State lawmakers are scheduled to return to Topeka on Monday to begin the 2020 legislative session.

State lawmakers are scheduled to return to Topeka on Monday to begin the 2020 legislative session.

And like most years, passing a budget for the state government will be one of the major issues facing legislators.

State Rep. David French, R-Lansing, said passing a balanced budget is really the only requirement of the Legislature in the state’s Constitution.

“That’s the only thing we have to do,” he said.

State Rep. Jeff Pittman, D-Leavenworth, said he believes legislators are in a solid position in terms of the budget because of actions taken in recent years.

But he said there are things lawmakers will need to keep an eye on.

Lawmakers who represent Leavenworth County in Topeka are expecting other important issues to come before them this year including a proposed expansion of Medicaid.

On Thursday, Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, announced they had reached a compromise proposal for Medicaid expansion.

State Rep. Jim Karleskint, R-rural Tonganoxie, believes this is an issue that will come up early in the legislative session. He voted in favor of Medicaid expansion last year.

“There’s still opposition to it,” he said.

But Karleskint thinks Medicaid expansion will pass this year.

French said he does not support an expansion of Medicaid in Kansas. But he acknowledged it likely will pass during the upcoming session.

State Sen. Kevin Braun, R-Kansas City, Kansas, is opposed to Medicaid expansion, arguing it is the beginning of socialized medicine.

Braun represents the cities of Leavenworth and Lansing in the Kansas Senate.

French also believes lawmakers may try to take up proposals for amendments to the state Constitution including one intended as a response to a Kansas Supreme Court decision from last year.

Anti-abortion activists have been pushing for an amendment after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state Constitution protects the right to an abortion.

French said the amendment would establish that abortion is not a right in the Constitution. He supports such an amendment.

Braun said he also would vote for the amendment. He said such an amendment would not be a ban on abortions. He said it would return the state to where it was before the Supreme Court’s decision.

Pittman said it is his understanding the proposed amendment would address whether the Legislature has the power to regulate abortion.

He noted the amendment, if passed in the Legislature, would be put before voters.

Passing an amendment to the state Constitution would require approval from two-thirds of the members in the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate and a majority of voters in a statewide election.

Pittman believes a new 10-year strategy for transportation in the state also is an important issue for the Legislature. He said safeguarding funding for a 10-year plan also is important.

Karleskint said a new 10-year plan for transportation needs to be addressed this year. But lawmakers may wait for another year.

“I think it needs to be addressed,” he said.

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