Latest Kansas State Legislature News

Kansas House Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch, center, R-Ottawa, confers with House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, left, D-Wichita, and Rep. Les Mason, R-McPherson, during talks with senators over extending a state of emergency over the new coronavirus, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Some Republicans are upset with Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's order to close schools and are looking to curb her power to deal with the pandemic. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

GOP right pushes back on Kansas governor for closing schools

Mar. 19, 2020 10:25 AM EDT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — As most of the U.S. raced to get ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, conservative Republican lawmakers in Kansas moved Wednesday to limit their Democratic governor’s emergency powers, including the ability to establish quarantine zones if the need arises. Conservatives are angry...

The desk of Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel, R-Wellsville, honors University of Kansas sports teams with a sign depicting the Jayhawk mascot, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, on his House chamber desk of the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Kansas lawmakers are considering legislation to allow college athletes to hire agents and sign endorsement deals. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kansas measure would allow college athletes to cash in

Mar. 10, 2020 1:50 PM EDT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are taking steps to allow college athletes to hire agents and sign endorsement deals because they fear that if they don't, out-of-state rivals will attract the best recruits and leave Kansas' athletic programs in the dust. A bill that would bar state universities...

In this May 1, 2019 file photo a sign criticizing Kansas Senate majority leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park and favoring Medicaid expansion was left on the Kansas Statehouse grounds after a protest in Topeka, Kan. Denning helped block a Medicaid expansion plan in 2019 but is now pushing a bipartisan plan he and Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly authored. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kansas GOP leader's Medicaid expansion move roils Statehouse

Mar. 7, 2020 11:45 AM EST

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Jim Denning once symbolized what for Medicaid expansion supporters was wrong with the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature. Now, the Kansas Senate majority leader is an expansion champion who's under fire from some GOP lawmakers he's supposed to be leading for working with the...

FEC reviews father's funds funneled to Kansas Rep. Watkins

Mar. 6, 2020 6:17 PM EST

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Federal Election Commission is examining now-refunded campaign contributions that Kansas Rep. Steve Watkins’ father funneled through the freshman Republican congressman’s sisters and others during the 2018 campaign. Topeka physician Steven Watkins Sr. confirmed Friday...

Anti-abortion lobbyists from left, Brittany Jones, of the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas; Jeannette Pryor, of the Kansas Catholic Conference, and Jeanne Gawdun, of Kansans for Life, confer outside the state Senate chamber ahead of a debate on a proposed constitutional amendment on abortion, Wednesday, Jan. 29. 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kansas. The amendment would overturn a Kansas Supreme Court decision protecting abortion rights. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Used to giving orders, Kansas abortion foes can't cut a deal

Feb. 28, 2020 11:35 AM EST

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion opponents who've become used to giving orders to Kansas lawmakers on the exact wording of new restrictions are stymied now that they face compromising to get a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution on the ballot. After falling short in a House vote three...

Tim Graham, left, a member of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's staff, confers with Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine, right, R-Emporia, outside the Senate chamber ahead of a debate on legalizing betting on sports events, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Pictured between them in the mirror is Michael Murray, Longbine's chief of staff. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kansas struggles with details of legalizing sports betting

Feb. 26, 2020 8:08 PM EST

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers who want to legalize betting on sports events and allow online sales of lottery tickets are struggling to agree on the details and facing criticism that they're being too generous toward companies already managing casinos for the state. The state Senate voted 23-15 on...

Lobbyists Scott Schneider, left, of the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association, and Kristi Brown of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, watch as a Kansas House committee debates a bill their groups support on single-use plastic bags and straws, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. The bill approved by the committee prohibits cities and counties from banning them for the next five years. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kansas business groups mobilize to stop local plastics bans

Feb. 21, 2020 5:03 PM EST

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas business groups have mobilized to snuff out a budding movement among a few cities to ban single-use plastic bags and straws, frustrating environmentalists who can't get the Republican-controlled Legislature to tackle climate issues. The GOP-led House commerce committee on Friday...

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2020, file photo, Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle talks to reporters at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Wagle, who is running for the U.S. Senate, sought an ambassadorship in 2018 ,according to published reports by The Wichita Eagle. (AP Photo/John Hanna, File)

Kansas Senate leader wanted ambassadorship, Trump ally's aid

Feb. 21, 2020 2:52 PM EST

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top Republican lawmaker in Kansas now running for the U.S. Senate sought an ambassadorship in 2018, calling it “an excellent time” to leave state politics and enlisting help from a billionaire casino mogul who is a close friend of President Donald Trump. The Wichita...

In this Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 photo, Rabbi Moti Rieber, executive director of the Kansas Interfaith Alliance, testifies against a bill to bar cities and counties from banning single-use plastic bags and straws, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Rieber says he's frustrated that lawmakers are considering such a measure and not having a meaningful conversation about climate change. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

As climate changes, activists struggle for Kansas' attention

Feb. 20, 2020 9:45 PM EST

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Environmentalists are struggling to get lawmakers to even discuss climate change as a serious issue in Kansas, where some leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature question the widespread scientific consensus that human activity is dangerously warming the planet. States such as...

In this Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, photo, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press at his office in Topeka, Kan. Schwab has told county election officials that he wants them to change how they access the state's voter registration database in an effort to make it more secure. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kansas elections chief's security plan causes local unease

Feb. 17, 2020 11:47 AM EST

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' elections chief is pushing to make the state's central voter registration database more secure by changing how counties tap into it, but some officials are nervous about what they see as a big project in a busy election year. Secretary of State Scott Schwab has told county...