Check this spot on Sundays for a few quick hits about what’s driving the debate in the Legislature.
“If you die between June 1 and Sept. 1, then you can be replaced and you must be replaced. But if the death occurs after Sept. 1, you will remain on the ballot … after Sept. 1 it’s very difficult to change the ballots.”
— Secretary of State Kris Kobach on his proposed change to election law, making death the only way for a candidate to leave the ballot after a primary. The bill, HB 2104, is a direct response to Democrat Chad Taylor’s decision to pull out of the U.S. Senate race last year.
“We’ve been calling it the Taylor bill, but we can change it to Chad’s bill if you prefer.”
— Kelly Arnold, state chair of the Kansas Republican Party, discussing HB 2104.
That will be the cutoff time for voting on bills in the Kansas House this session after lawmakers passed the rule proposed by Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee. Supporters contended that voting after midnight, which is common at the end of the session, makes the actions less transparent.
Debates about transparency dominated the Statehouse last week as the House debated new rules. Several measures, such as a restriction against bundling bills with multiple subjects, passed. But others, such as Rubin’s idea that all votes should be recorded and Rep. Don Hineman’s idea that budgets should be printed and available for 48 hours before lawmakers can vote on them, failed to pass.
On the Senate side, there was a hearing on a bill that would require police officers to wear body cameras, which activists say would increase accountability in cases of officer-involved shootings.
The Transparency Act, a bill that would set up a pilot program to live stream audio of committee hearings at the Legislature, was introduced in both the House and Senate this week. The Senate passed an earlier version last year, but it did not get to the House floor for a vote. Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, the bill’s main proponent, was able to get 23 House members to co-sponsor HB 2418 with her, so maybe it will have a better chance this year. Sen. Kay Wolf, R-Prairie Village, introduced SB 86 on the Senate side.
— Bryan Lowry
For more legislative news, go to www.kansas.com/politics and follow @BryanLowry3 on Twitter.