TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republicans hope to revive a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would make it easier for the GOP-controlled Legislature to overturn state agencies’ regulations.
The House voted 80-33 this week to approve the measure, leaving supporters four votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The House can take a second vote, but it must occur Monday or the measure dies.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt outlined the proposal last year after fellow Republicans spent months criticizing Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Schmidt is the presumed GOP nominee for governor this year.
Under the proposal, lawmakers could repeal regulations with simple-majority votes in both chambers. Lawmakers now must pass a bill and obtain the governor’s approval or two-thirds legislative majorities to override a veto. If lawmakers approve the measure, it goes to a statewide vote in November.
“I’m sure there are many in this chamber today that would view this constitutional amendment very, very different if Derek Schmidt were the governor,” Democratic state Rep. John Carmichael, a Wichita attorney, said during House debate.
Republicans said they’re trying to prevent bureaucrats from imposing regulations undercutting or contradicting policies set by lawmakers.
“It has nothing to do with this governor,” said House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican. “It’s not a power grab.”
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