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Kansans pass constitutional amendment on election, removal of sheriffs

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Amendment giving Legislature more power on state regulations may fail

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by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
November 8, 2022

TOPEKA — The state’s voters embraced an amendment to the Kansas Constitution on Tuesday requiring election of county sheriffs and narrowing options for ousting a wayward chief law enforcement officer, while an amendment granting the Legislature more authority to reject state administrative regulations could be headed to defeat.

Unofficial results on the bottom-of-the-ballot constitutional questions showed 549,972, or 62%, supported the sheriff amendment and 343,111, or 38%, were opposed. Passage would sustain the practice of electing sheriffs in 104 counties — only Riley County would be allowed to continue appointing a sheriff because it operates a city-county policing agency.

The amendment would end the opportunity for a county attorney to bring ouster proceedings against a sheriff. The two remaining paths to removing a sheriff would be through a citizen petition or action by the state’s attorney general.

“The sheriffs amendment would take away power from our local county attorneys and concentrate that power in one office,” said Amii Castle, professor of law at the University of Kansas.

Meanwhile, 451,477, or 51%, were opposed to the amendment delivering to the Legislature power to veto or suspend rules and regulations written by the executive branch. The vote was close with 440,790, or 49%, eager to approve the amendment.

The Kansas Legislature placed both amendments on the November ballot, a move requiring two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate.

Gov. Laura Kelly opposed the constitutional amendments, while Republican gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt supported both.

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: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
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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