Emler elected Senate Republican leader

TOPEKA – Sen. Jay Emler is taking over as the Senate majority leader after running unopposed for the position Monday.

Emler, R-Lindsborg, will replace former Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, who was elected to be the state’s attorney general.

In addition to helping manage the Senate caucus, the majority leader also controls the flow of legislation in the chamber and decides when — or if — a bill will be debated on the floor.

Emler said he did not plan to use the position to block legislation he might not agree with or that would be contentious.

“It is not my position to bottleneck anything,” he said after the short election meeting Monday. “If the supporters for the bill can come in and show it is not an exercise in futility I certainly wouldn’t hold it back.”

Emler also said he did not expect the tenor of the Senate would change much. The chamber — which has 40 members compared to 125 in the House — is typically viewed as the more sedate and deliberative chamber.