Paul Johnson, our eyes on the state legislature, writes a weekly report during the session on issues of interest to Kansas Leagues.

Panoramic view inside the legislative chamber at the state capitol.

View reports from previous years in the archive.

Policy Watch 2017

Weekly updates from the Kansas legislature


April 7, LEGISLATIVE STALL: Critical Decisions Await Veto Session Starting May 1

March 31, Budget Balancing Act

March 24, School Finance Solution: Will it be Enough?

March 17, School Finance Progress

March 10, School Finance Challenge

February 24, Revenue Roulette

February 17, Revenue Roundup

February 10, Tax/Budget Battle Update

February 3, Tax Debate Progress

January 2017 Tax Debate

January 2017 2017 Kansas Budget

January 2017 Kansas Budget Battles

“Preview” December 2016 Political Uncertainties

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, Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations, and Kansas Farmers Union. Friends of Policy Watch include: Women for Kansas and Flint Hills Renewable Energy and Efficiency Cooperative. Visit KRC’s website .

League is Watching!


LWVK Action Alert regarding HB 2333
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.

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

Read LWVK testimony in favor of HB 2333.

Recommendations to #ksleg regarding election laws

Senate Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government heard SB 37. Short Title: Elections; voting procedures where proof of citizenship not provided. No vote yet, so tell committee members to vote no.

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.

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

Being 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 will hear HB 2225, regarding vote-by-mail permanent status. Read LWVK testimony. Please also see LWVK recommendations: Free State Election Reform.

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

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

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 2017 Testimony before committees (incomplete)

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


Concerned about an issue or bill?

Call the KS toll-free legislative hotline at (800) 432-3924 and leave a message for your state legislator. Calls are answered by librarians at the State Library of Kansas, and all conversations are confidential. The hotline is available weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  You will be asked for your name, your address (so they can find your legislator), and your brief message.

You can also text questions to 785-256-0733 or instant message at Ask-a-Librarian. These experienced research librarians will also answer your questions about legislation, legislative procedures, and state government.