Kansas Legislators Move to Gain More Control over State Debt

The Kansas House has approved a bill to give lawmakers more control over the state’s use of debt to finance big building projects.

The House’s 114-8 vote Monday sends the measure to the Senate. Lawmakers are considering it after the University of Kansas and Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration pursued projects without prior legislative approval.

The bill would require the full Legislature to authorize bonds, borrowing against the state’s credit or other debt for projects costing $25 million or more. The governor and legislative leaders would have to approve smaller projects.

A nonprofit corporation affiliated with the University of Kansas went to a Wisconsin agency for $327 million in bonds for campus improvements. Brownback’s administration pursued but canceled a $20 million plan for a new power plant near the Statehouse.