Kansas state legislature

Republicans in the Kansas Senate have blocked a proposal from Democrats to require all legislative party caucus meetings to be open to the public.

The Senate voted 30-8 Wednesday against a proposal from Minority Leader Anthony Hensley.

Only one Republican, Carolyn McGinn of Sedgwick, supported his measure.

The Kansas Open Meetings Act generally requires government meetings to be open to the public. It has an exception for the Legislature, so that each chamber can close their daily caucus meetings.

State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook is pushing a measure that would make it illegal to pay women to be surrogate mothers.

The proposal would also void existing surrogacy contracts.

The Public Health and Welfare Committee met yesterday to begin two days of hearings on the her proposal.

The bill is patterned after a law in the District of Columbia. Pilcher-Cook is concerned that Kansas has no laws dealing with surrogacy contracts; she worries that women are being exploited.

Audio and video of Kansas legislative committee sessions would be streamed live over the Internet under a bill introduced in the House.

Republican Representative Stephanie Clayton says her bill will help citizens stay current on matters that affect their lives and ensure legislators are paying attention.

The bill will also require video broadcasts of House and Senate sessions. Audio of the sessions already is streamed on the Internet.

House Advances Partial KDOT/KTA Merger

Mar 8, 2013

The Kansas House has given first-round approval to a limited merger between the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority, which manages the 236-mile toll road.

A bill creating new regulations for strip clubs failed today Friday in a Kansas House committee.

Lawsuit Filed Over Provisional Ballots

Nov 9, 2012

A Kansas House Democrat has filed a lawsuit hoping to force Shawnee County officials to turn over a list of voters who cast provisional ballots.

Rep. Ann Mah of Topeka is trying to avert a narrow election loss.

Democratic Party officials gave The Associated Press a copy of Mah's petition before it was filed in Shawnee County District Court Friday.

Mah trails Republican challenger Ken Corbet of Topeka by 27 votes out of almost 11,000 cast. She says she wants to ensure that all provisional votes are counted and that maybe 150 votes are in play.

Ex-Kan. Lawmaker: Doubts About Residency ‘Crazy’

Sep 11, 2012

The president of a tea party group in Wichita yesterday questioned whether a former Democratic legislator who’s running again for the Kansas House lives at the address he lists as his home, a concern the ex-lawmaker dismissed as “crazy.”

Craig Gabel, president of Kansans for Liberty, said interviews with neighbors and other information gathered by the group suggest that no one lives at the address listed by former Representative Tom Sawyer when he filed for office in June.

Maybe you’re one of the many Kansans who don’t pay an awful lot of attention to the Legislature. We have busy lives, and the idea of wading through news stories about political intrigue in Topeka can make the eyes glaze over and the prospect of rearranging one’s sock drawer sound suddenly appealing.

But while many of us were preoccupied with the necessary duties of running our households, driving the kids around, and gulping down coffee on the way to work each morning, a tireless effort to upend your life has been winning the day in our state’s capitol.

There’s a bill before our Kansas legislature to make the Cain Terrier the official State Dog of the State of Kansas. I applaud our esteemed deliberative governing body for its willingness to take up this issue. But I have this advice: Go slowly, dear legislators. Weigh the pros and cons. Consult with recognized experts in this field. Public hearings would be advisable as well. Have your staffs arm you with reams of research. Take the time required to get this issue right. Many wonderful dog breeds may have Kansas connections that you should consider. There may be field trips necessary.

I don’t know about you but I’m seeing signs of spring everywhere these days! The tiniest hint of green on my lawn; birdsong in the mornings; two whole weeks without snow and that surest indicator of Spring in Kansas – state legislators giving more tax breaks to businesses while our schools agonize over deep budget cuts.

You see, our legislators argue that they may be creating new jobs for our state by giving businesses these tax breaks. You know, to sort of offset the jobs lost due to school budget cuts.