House rebounds to endorse constitutional amendment on administrative regulations


Previous attempt fell short of two-thirds majority; measure shifts to Senate

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TOPEKA — The Kansas House mustered the votes Monday to pass a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would strip the executive branch of authority to write fine-print details of administrative rules by shifting that duty to the Legislature.

House Republicans failed a week ago to secure the two-thirds majority required to approve a constitutional amendment, but wrangled an 84-39 margin on the second try. House Concurrent Resolution 5014 moves to the Kansas Senate, which also must achieve the two-thirds majority support for it to be placed on statewide ballots.

Governors don’t have veto power over proposed amendments to the constitution. A simple majority of Kansans voting on the resolution in a November statewide election would decide whether the constitution was altered.

The amendment would depart from longstanding practice in Kansas of granting the executive branch a primary role of developing rules and regulations for operation of state agencies.

Last week, the House didn’t clear the two-thirds hurdle when the vote was 80-33, which was four votes shy of the minimum.

Under a new Section 1 of the state’s constitution, the Legislature would claim “oversight of state executive branch agencies and officials by providing the Legislature authority to establish procedures to revoke or suspend rules and regulations.”

Motivation for the change was concern among some Republicans with the Kansas Department of Labor’s change to regulations on handling of workers’ compensation cases. Rep. Eric Smith, R-Burlington, said the Legislature should have have a grip on state administrative regulations and rules.

Rep. Boog Highberger, D-Lawrence, referred to the amendment as “election year grandstanding” given the anticipated showdown between Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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