Government & Politics

Bill bans public funds in suing state

TOPEKA — Goddard Republican Sen. Dick Kelsey has introduced a resolution that would bar groups from using public money to pay for litigation against the state or Legislature.

"It expresses the sense of the Senate and the House that we do not believe it is right to use taxpayer money to sue the taxpayers to get more taxpayer money," Kelsey said.

A similar measure is being introduced in the House.

The resolution doesn't mention a lawsuit filed Monday by school districts over state school funding. The motion to reopen the lawsuit before the Kansas Supreme Court claims that recent budget cuts violate the state constitution's requirement that schools be adequately funded.

More than 50 school districts, including Wichita, have agreed to pay for the litigation against the state, which is estimated to cost $500,000 a year.

John Robb, lead attorney for Schools For Fair Funding, said the districts want the state to fund public education at the level agreed upon after the Supreme Court's 2005 school finance decision.

"It is our clear view and our clear opinion that the Constitution is being violated," he said.