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Legislative Observer Corps
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 by clicking on the corresponding link.
Policy Watch 2020
Weekly updates from the Kansas legislature by Paul Johnson.
Final report of the session: June 5, 2020
The special legislative session called by the Governor for June 3 ended in two days. House Bill 2016 – the COVID-19 Bill – was the only bill debated and passed the House 107 to 12 and the Senate 26 to 12.
This bill is a compromise between the Governor and Republican legislative leaders over emergency powers and spending new federal coronavirus dollars.
Previous report: April 24, 2020
So, what happens now? How and when will the economy reopen and at what pace? What will define “normal” in the near future and long term? Will this pandemic be the catalyst to fundamentally question and reset political priorities? Will this challenge tumble down into normal partisan bickering? The “Pearl Harbor” of this generation should be the mirror to reflect and hopefully restructure fundamental governmental and economic institutions in a just and equitable fashion. This is the time to examine and question health, food/farming, and energy systems to provide more stability and sustainability. The Governor will be the point person for Kansas, but the Kansas Legislature must provide sane, balanced leadership as well.
|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, Kansas Farmers Union, Climate and Energy Project, and Friends of the Kaw.
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“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 tax news
Read Paul Johnson’s June 9 Policy Watch, Tax 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.
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 Sykes. Tell 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.
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.
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
Open Letter to Kansas Senate regarding dollar impact of HB 2178.
HB 2178 Tax Increase Analysis
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