Panoramic view inside the legislative chamber at the state capitol.


Policy Watch 2018

Weekly updates from the Kansas legislature by Paul Johnson

Legislative Observer Corps

Most recent report: March 16, 2018



Corporate agriculture using State power is tightening its grip on Kansas residents. Corporate poultry was the first step using State power to limit county residents from protecting their environment or neighboring property values. Now comes the expansion of corporate agriculture chemical expansion using State power to stop counties from setting higher health standards and greater protection from ‘non-target’ pesticide drift. Kansas lawmakers have the opportunity and the duty to establish a policy stating that Kansas supports a balanced approach of non-chemical, biological methods as the first choice to protect public health before resorting to synthetic chemical controls.

Read more.



Prior week’s report: March 9, 2018



State officials, certain State lawmakers and the agri-business farm organizations have lobbied the corporate chicken welcome mat through the Kansas House and towards the Governor’s desk with no amendments to Senate Bill 405 (Short Title: Clarifying animal conversion units for poultry facilities with dry manure systems).  The bill passed the Kansas House today.

The same crowd that pushed Kansas into fiscal insolvency comparable to Mississippi or Arkansas now wants to promote indentured servitude agriculture through complete State control over local units of government. This same crowd that lambasted federal overreach in environmental programs by the EPA is quite comfortable with the State having unchecked power over counties. This political process to promote corporate poultry was expedited to limit a meaningful debate on the social, environmental and public safety impacts on local communities as experienced in so many other states.

Read more. 

Volunteers on behalf of LWV Kansas regularly attend committee meetings held by the Kansas legislature. Volunteers observe the committee process, follow targeted bills through the legislative process, and occasionally write and deliver testimony.  Read reports by topic and/or committee:

 View past reports in the archive.  View past reports in the archive.

Policy Watch is a publication of the Kansas Rural Center with sponsorship from the following: League of Women Voters of Kansas, Kansas Natural Resource Council, Audubon of Kansas, and Kansas Farmers Union. Visit KRC’s website .


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Review 2017

SUPPLEMENT TO PRELIMINARY SUMMARY OF LEGISLATION 2017 KANSAS LEGISLATURE,” by the Kansas Legislative Research Department, April 12, 2017.

This publication contains summaries of selected bills enacted by the Legislature from noon on March 31 to adjournment on April 7.

KASB Legislative Statement on School Finance

Kansas’ Future Requires a Fair, Well-Funded School Finance Formula, May 2016 (pdf)

Kansas tax news

Read Paul Johnson’s June 9 Policy WatchTax Law Veto Overridden, for historic context, 2017 passage of SB 30, and what to expect in 2018.

Post-2017-session update: HB 2333 and SB 37 did not pass in the 2017 legislative session. They may return in 2018.

When the Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee heard HB 2333 Short Title: Audits of election results; voting machine requirements; timing of the canvass on March 15, Secretary of State Kobach asked the Committee to attach SB 37 (the bill which would create a bifurcated/two-tiered voting system and disallow all persons on the suspense list from voting in state and local elections) to HB 2333. In addition, Mr. Kobach asked for a watering down of the audit requirements. LWVK opposes SB 37.

Read LWVK testimony in favor of HB 2333.

Please contact the Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government, which includes: Sen. Elaine Bowers; Sen. Steve Fitzgerald; Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau; Sen. John Doll; Sen. David Haley; Sen. Randall Hardy; Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook; Sen. John Skubal; Sen. Dinah SykesTell these senators to

  • support HB 2333 as passed unanimously by the House
  • reject SB 37
  • reject any dilution of the audit requirements

Senate Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government heard SB 37. Short Title: Elections; voting procedures where proof of citizenship not provided. 

SB 37 reflects the Kansas Secretary of State’s defiance against State and Federal judges and the U.S. Supreme Court. It denies the expense, complexity and entanglements of  the law for the ordinary Kansan. The proposal  demonstrates an embarrassing eagerness to establish and defend the highest barriers to the vote in the nation with no proof of their need, and extraordinary evidence of their hindrance to the exercise of the right to vote. Read LWVK testimony here.

Post--2017-update: HB 202 and SB 49 were in committees and may return in 2018.

Of particular interest in 2017 is Election Day Registration. Short title: Elections; registration; election day registration.

Heard by House Elections (Introduced 1/9/2017 by Rep. Gail Finney as HB 2020) and Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government (Introduced 1/20/2017 by Sen.Oletha Faust-Goudeau as SB 49.

LWVK testimony to the Kansas House Elections Committee. League supports HB 2251, (Short Title: Audits of election results; voting machine requirements; timing of the canvass.) and HB 2333, sponsored by Rep. Jarrod Ousley, because they move to protect the equal access and integrity of the vote for all. We also support the extension of the deadline for canvassing after elections that would follow random sampling of the ballots.

The House Committee on Elections heard HB 2225, regarding vote-by-mail permanent status. Read LWVK testimony. Please also see LWVK recommendations: Free State Election Reform.

Post-2017-session update: HB 2167 had a hearing on Feb 13, but no vote. It may return in 2018.

The latest bill to overturn the death penalty, HB 2167, was introduced in the Kansas legislature in January 2017 and referred to Corrections and Juvenile Justice. Short title: Abolishing the death penalty and creating the crime of aggravated murder. Read LWVK testimony and simple background material on the death penalty in Kansas

Post-2017-session update: HB 2301/previously SB 70 on open meetings, which now includes open records, was passed by both chambers and signed by the governor on May 15. It will become law upon publication in the Statute Book.

SB 70 Open meetings; justifications for closed or executive meetings. Sponsored by Sen. Marci Francisco and Sen. Molly Baumgardner
The amendment to the Open Meetings Act has been sent by the Committee on Federal and State Affairs to the full senate with recommendation that it be passed. Additional details. Read testimony by LWVK board member Alan Cowles, M.D., Ph.D.

Observer Corps Reports from the 2017 legislative session

House Taxation Committee

Open Letter to Kansas Senate regarding dollar impact of HB 2178.

HB 2178 Tax Increase Analysis

Substitute for House Bill 2178

K-12 Education Budget

KanCare Expansion HB 2064

Advocacy advice gleaned at Legislative Event for Advocacy in Faith (LEAF), with input from Sen. Carolyn McGinn and Rep. Jim Ward.

Additional LWVK testimony before committees in 2017

SB 8
SB 53
SB 78
HB 2251 and 2333
HB 2225
HB 2158
HB 2410
HB 2374