June 8, 2020 •

Kansas Legislature Passes Emergency Power Bill, Adjourns Special Session

Kansas Capitol Building

Kansas Capitol Building

The Kansas Legislature adjourned its special session on June 5 after passing legislation to amend Gov. Laura Kelly’s emergency powers. House Bill 2054 provides oversight on the governor’s ability to distribute federal aid and close businesses for longer than 15 […]

The Kansas Legislature adjourned its special session on June 5 after passing legislation to amend Gov. Laura Kelly’s emergency powers.

House Bill 2054 provides oversight on the governor’s ability to distribute federal aid and close businesses for longer than 15 days at a time. It also gives the Kansas Board of Education the power to close schools.

The bill further prevents the governor from using emergency powers to seize ammunition.

Additionally, the bill limits the sale of firearms during a declared state of emergency, including for COVID-19.

The measure has been sent to the governor’s desk for signature.

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June 3, 2020 •

Kansas Lawmakers Return for Special Legislative Session

Kansas Capitol Building

Kansas Capitol Building

Kansas lawmakers are returning for a special legislative session June 3 after Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed COVID-19 legislation passed during the final day of session. Gov. Kelly called lawmakers back to create a new bill that redefines her emergency powers. […]

Kansas lawmakers are returning for a special legislative session June 3 after Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed COVID-19 legislation passed during the final day of session.

Gov. Kelly called lawmakers back to create a new bill that redefines her emergency powers.

The previous bill sought to curb Gov. Laura Kelly’s emergency powers and give the Legislative Coordinating Council appropriation power over the $1.25 billion in federal money allocated to Kansas in the CARES Act.

Gov. Kelly would also have been barred from issuing a new COVID-19 disaster declaration unless at least six members of the State Finance Council sign off on it.

There is no time limit on the special session, so the work is expected continue for as long as necessary.

This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

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May 22, 2020 •

Kansas Lawmakers Push Past Midnight to Conclude Legislative Session

Kansas Capitol Building

Kansas Capitol Building

Nearly five hours after the midnight deadline to adjourn, the Kansas legislature worked to approve legislation that would end the 2020 session on May 22. Lawmakers gathered on May 21 for a one-day close to the legislative session, but Republicans […]

Nearly five hours after the midnight deadline to adjourn, the Kansas legislature worked to approve legislation that would end the 2020 session on May 22.

Lawmakers gathered on May 21 for a one-day close to the legislative session, but Republicans in the house voted to continue past midnight.

The final bill on their agenda is centered around the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill curbs Gov. Laura Kelly’s emergency powers and gives more oversight to the legislature. It also gives the Legislative Coordinating Council appropriation power over the $1.25 billion in federal money. Originally, this money was allocated to Kansas in the CARES Act.

On the issue of disaster declarations, the bill extends Gov. Kelly’s current declaration from May 26 until the 31st.

Gov. Kelly would also be barred from issuing a new COVID-19 disaster declaration. To avoid this, at least six members of the State Finance Council would need to sign off on it.

The final parts of the bill continue some of Gov. Kelly’s executive orders, including on the sale of alcohol and telemedicine.

Lawmakers also passed legislation that would waive penalties and interest on late property taxes, a package of education bills, and an economic recovery loan program.

All legislation is now headed to Gov. Kelly’s desk. She can either sign the bills into law, veto them, or the bills would become law after 10 days without her signature.

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March 20, 2020 •

Kansas Lawmakers Postpone Session Until Late April

Akransas State Capitol

Arkansas State Capitol

The House and Senate went into overdrive March 19 to complete deals on a new state budget and an updated 10-year highway program before vacating the Capitol until late April. Lawmakers agreed to set aside $50 million for unforeseen expenditures […]

The House and Senate went into overdrive March 19 to complete deals on a new state budget and an updated 10-year highway program before vacating the Capitol until late April.

Lawmakers agreed to set aside $50 million for unforeseen expenditures during the COVID-19 crisis.

Another $15 million was allocated for emergency preparedness operations tied to the virus.

Additionally, the House and Senate voted to send a comprehensive transportation bill of $9.7 billion to Gov. Laura Kelly.

This decadelong program for roads, bridges, railways, and airports would make a top priority of highway system preservation projects.

The Legislature is scheduled to return April 27 to adjust the state budget and take up other unfinished work on bills.

However, there is no guarantee the pandemic would allow the 165 legislators to congregate.

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January 20, 2020 •

Kansas State Rep. Resigns to Become Mayor

Rep. Brandon Whipple

After eight years, Kansas Rep. Brandon Whipple resigned from his House District 96 seat on January 13 to become mayor of Wichita, Kansas. Whipple defeated incumbent Jeff Longwell to become Wichita’s mayor on November 5, 2019. The Sedgwick County Democratic […]

After eight years, Kansas Rep. Brandon Whipple resigned from his House District 96 seat on January 13 to become mayor of Wichita, Kansas.

Whipple defeated incumbent Jeff Longwell to become Wichita’s mayor on November 5, 2019.

The Sedgwick County Democratic Party has nominated Stephanie Yeager to succeed Whipple.

Gov. Laura Kelly must appoint a successor and has not yet approved Yeager’s nomination.

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May 30, 2019 •

Kansas Lawmakers Affirm Court Nominee and Adjourn Sine Die

Kansas Capitol Building

Kansas Capitol Building

The Kansas Legislature adjourned sine die on May 29. Lawmakers adjourned earlier in the month to allow the governor time to appoint a candidate to the Kansas Court of Appeals. On Wednesday, the Senate approved Sarah Warner to fill the […]

The Kansas Legislature adjourned sine die on May 29.

Lawmakers adjourned earlier in the month to allow the governor time to appoint a candidate to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

On Wednesday, the Senate approved Sarah Warner to fill the vacant seat.

During the 59-day legislative session lawmakers introduced House Bill 2010 and Senate Bill 51.

The bills provide for restrictions on state officers and employees from engaging in lobbying for a specific period after resignation or expiration of employment.

Both bills failed to pass their respective chambers this session and will carryover to 2020.

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February 19, 2019 •

Kansas State Rep. Resigns to Battle Cancer

State Rep. Greg Lewis announced his resignation from House District 113, effective February 22. Rep. Lewis was re-elected to office last year, but is vacating his seat to battle brain cancer. Under state law, the state’s Republican party will convene […]

State Rep. Greg Lewis announced his resignation from House District 113, effective February 22.

Rep. Lewis was re-elected to office last year, but is vacating his seat to battle brain cancer.

Under state law, the state’s Republican party will convene to vote on his successor and deliver the winner’s name to the governor for appointment.

The replacement will serve the remainder of Lewis’s term until 2021.

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September 27, 2018 •

Kansas Senator Fitzgerald Resigns

State Senator Steve Fitzgerald resigned from the state Senate on Monday. A convention will be held by Republican precinct committeemen and committeewomen to select someone to fill the vacancy, and the person selected will be officially appointed by the governor. […]

State Senator Steve Fitzgerald resigned from the state Senate on Monday.

A convention will be held by Republican precinct committeemen and committeewomen to select someone to fill the vacancy, and the person selected will be officially appointed by the governor.

The Fifth District includes Leavenworth, Lansing, Piper, and portions of Wyandotte County.

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June 7, 2018 •

Unopposed Kansas Primaries Sets Candidates for November Special Election

The filing deadline to run for the Kansas Senate seat in District 13 passed setting up unopposed elections for both the Democratic and Republican primaries on August 7. Incumbent state Sen. Richard Hilderbrand will run against the primary winners in […]

The filing deadline to run for the Kansas Senate seat in District 13 passed setting up unopposed elections for both the Democratic and Republican primaries on August 7.

Incumbent state Sen. Richard Hilderbrand will run against the primary winners in the special election set for November 6.

Hilderbrand was appointed last year when former Sen. Jacob LaTurner accepted the position of state treasurer.

The winner of the special election will complete the remaining two years of LaTurner’s term.

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May 14, 2018 •

The Kansas Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

The 2018 Kansas Legislature adjourned sine die. This legislative session was the first to go the full 90 days since 2011. Lawmakers passed multiple transparency laws this session by expanding the definition of lobbying to include all branches of the […]

The 2018 Kansas Legislature adjourned sine die. This legislative session was the first to go the full 90 days since 2011.

Lawmakers passed multiple transparency laws this session by expanding the definition of lobbying to include all branches of the government and increasing the penalties for late reporting by lobbyist, political committees, and candidates.

In the final day of the session, legislators defeated a bill to make changes to income, sales, and motor fuel tax provisions.

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May 11, 2018 •

Kansas Governor Signs Transparency Bill Imposing Fees for Late Reports

Gov. Jeff Colyer signed a transparency bill to increase penalties for failing to file timely reports. Effective July 1, House Bill 2642 imposes late fees for any report over 48 hours late for candidates, political committees, and lobbyists. Penalties start […]

Gov. Jeff Colyer signed a transparency bill to increase penalties for failing to file timely reports.

Effective July 1, House Bill 2642 imposes late fees for any report over 48 hours late for candidates, political committees, and lobbyists.

Penalties start at $100 for the first day and $50 for each subsequent day the report is late with a maximum up to $1,000.

The bill also requires lobbyist to file employment and expenditure reports electronically with the Office of the Secretary of State.

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April 16, 2018 •

Kansas Governor Signs Executive Branch Transparency Bill

Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed Senate Bill 394 expanding the definition of lobbying to include executive and judicial branch procurement lobbying. Effective July 1, lobbying will include the promoting or opposing in any manner an action or nonaction by any […]

Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed Senate Bill 394 expanding the definition of lobbying to include executive and judicial branch procurement lobbying.

Effective July 1, lobbying will include the promoting or opposing in any manner an action or nonaction by any executive or judicial agency on any administrative matter.

The transparency bill requires lobbyist registration for attempting to influence members of the executive or judicial branch regarding any covered action, including contracts and agreements.

The bill also increases the value of a meal an executive branch member may receive from $25 to $40.

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April 9, 2018 •

Kansas Legislature Adjourns Until April 26

The Kansas Legislature adjourned its legislative session on Sunday, April 8, 2018. During the late hours of the session, lawmakers approved an increase in spending for education in response to a court order. The bill has been publicly supported by […]

The Kansas Legislature adjourned its legislative session on Sunday, April 8, 2018.

During the late hours of the session, lawmakers approved an increase in spending for education in response to a court order.

The bill has been publicly supported by Gov. Jeff Colyer. The Legislature will reconvene on April 26.

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April 5, 2018 •

Kansas Passes Procurement Lobbying Bill

Kansas lawmakers passed a bill expanding the definition of lobbying to increase transparency in government contracts. Senate Bill 394 requires lobbyist registration for attempting to influence members of the executive or judicial branch regarding any covered action, including contracts and […]

Kansas lawmakers passed a bill expanding the definition of lobbying to increase transparency in government contracts.

Senate Bill 394 requires lobbyist registration for attempting to influence members of the executive or judicial branch regarding any covered action, including contracts and agreements.

The final version of the bill removed a provision that would have raised the gift-giving threshold for purposes of goodwill lobbying to $100 from $40 annually.

If Gov. Jeff Coyler approves, the bill will take effect July 1.

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