AP

Kansas refuses to increase Legislature’s power over agencies

Nov 15, 2022, 1:45 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas voters have narrowly rejected a proposal to curb the power of the governor and other officials to regulate businesses and set environmental and public health rules, rebuking the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature again after affirming abortion rights this summer.

The Associated Press called the election Tuesday against a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would have made it easier for lawmakers to overturn regulations written by state agencies and boards under the control of the governor and others in the executive branch. The call came a week after Election Day and after Monday’s deadline for mail-in ballots to reach county elections offices.

Opponents of the measure said its defeat showed that many voters remained wary of the Legislature after a statewide vote Aug. 2 decisively rejecting a proposed amendment on abortion pushed by Republican lawmakers. That measure would have said the Kansas Constitution doesn’t grant the right to abortion, which would have allowed the Legislature to greatly restrict or ban it.

“That caused people to question what else the Legislature was up to by way of attempting to increase the Legislature’s power,” said Democratic state Rep. John Carmichael, of Wichita.

At issue in the latest vote were rules as varied as how elk hunting permits are distributed and which shots are required for children attending schools.

The Legislature has a joint committee that reviews regulations, but if lawmakers object to one, their most effective tactic is to object loudly and push the agency to back off. They also can pass a bill overturning the rule, but the governor can veto it.

The proposed constitutional amendment would have allowed lawmakers to suspend or revoke regulations with a simple majority vote in both chambers, with no option for the governor to veto such moves. Business groups and advocates of smaller government viewed the measure as reining in unelected bureaucrats.

“Kansans will instead continue to bear the burden of the high costs of regulation and an inefficient regulatory system,” said Elizabeth Patton, state director for Americans for Prosperity, a free-market, small-government group backed by Charles Koch, the billionaire Koch Industries CEO and chairman.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly opposed the measure, saying it would “create chaos” across the state, and her spokesperson Cassie Nichols said Tuesday that it would have “kept Kansans from receiving help efficiently.”

But Patton said Kelly’s opposition showed that she has no interest in holding government agencies accountable.

In most states, legislators review agencies’ regulations, but their power to block or repeal them varies widely. Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, New Jersey and Nevada have state constitutional provisions that allow their legislatures to invalidate regulations.

Kansas law used to give the state’s Legislature the power to revoke or rewrite agencies’ rules, but in 1984, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the practice violated the state constitution’s separation of powers.

“The whole ballot issue was misunderstood,” said state Rep. Barbara Wasinger, a Republican from western Kansas who has led the rules committee. “We should have done a better job of explaining it.”

___

Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

2 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

2 days ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

2 days ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

3 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

5 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Kansas refuses to increase Legislature’s power over agencies