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Kansas Legislative Insights Newsletter | May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

House Bill 2054 Veto

As expected, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed House Bill 2054 on Tuesday, pointing out that the bill was hastily crafted and could have damaged Kansas’ ability to respond to all future disasters. The governor was concerned the bill weakened the authority of local county health officers and added unnecessary layers of bureaucracy to emergency response efforts. Republican legislative leaders expressed disappointment along with business organizations.

Gov. Kelly issued a new 15-day emergency declaration giving reopening control back to Kansas counties. She also issued a proclamation calling the Kansas Legislature back for a special session starting on June 3 to extend the emergency declaration. Click below to read the details about the emergency declarations issued on Tuesday. 

Special Session

There have been fewer than two dozen special sessions since Kansas became a state in 1861. The special sessions have ranged from several days to more than a month. The first special session was in 1874 to address a grasshopper plague. One hundred years ago in 1920, there was a special session to deal with a coal strike. Most special sessions addressed constitutional amendments (19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for example), legislative redistricting, taxes, and emergencies. Other sessions addressed banking, education, highways, railroads, severance tax, and welfare.

This special session will obviously disrupt fundraising efforts by legislators, who are prohibited from soliciting contributions from lobbyists and PACs while the Legislature is in session. In addition, legislators will be away from businesses, families, and re-election campaigns.

Next Week

On Monday, we will know the slate of candidates for the August primaries. The filing deadline is noon on June 1. Last week, there were four retirement speeches on the Senate floor and several on the House floor. It is always interesting to see if there are a few last-minute retirements.

Next week, the Kansas Department of Revenue will release the May Kansas revenue numbers. The report will provide a look at the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic on state resources.

Last Saturday, the August primary heated up with the Republican primary candidates for Sen. Roberts’ seat center stage in a debate. The Kansas Republican Party invited and hosted the debate in Manhattan. The five candidates were former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach; plumber Bob Hamilton; former Chiefs defensive end Dave Lindstrom; Congressman Roger Marshall; and Senate President Susan Wagle. The campaign has begun in earnest as the candidates sparred with each other. This was an opportunity for voters to see the candidates together.

Kansas Legislative Insights is a publication developed by the Governmental Relations & Public Policy Law practice group of Foulston Siefkin LLP. It is designed to inform business executives, human resources and governmental relations professionals, and general counsel about current developments occurring in current Kansas legislation. Published regularly during the Kansas legislative session, it focuses on issues involving health care, insurance, public finance, taxation, financial institutions, business & economic development, energy, real estate & construction, environmental, agribusiness, employment, and workers compensation. Bill summaries are by necessity brief, however, for additional information on any issue before the Kansas Legislature, contact Foulston Siefkin’s Governmental Relations & Public Policy Law practice group leader, James P. Rankin at 785.233.3600 or

Kansas Legislative Insights Editors

James Jim Rankin James (Jim) P. Rankin
Governmental Relations & Public Policy Law Team Leader
785.806.3600 | View Bio
Gary Robbins Gary L. Robbins
Governmental Affairs Consultant

James P. (Jim) Rankin and Gary L. Robbins are co-editors of Foulston Siefkin’s Kansas Legislative Insights Newsletter.

As a partner at Foulston Siefkin, Jim’s practice focuses on employee benefits law relating to public, private, governmental, and tax-exempt organizations. A large part of his work involves insurance regulatory and compliance issues in many industries, including healthcare. Jim has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® and the Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers® list. He is the firm's representative with State Law Resources, Inc., a national network of independent law firms selected for their expertise in administrative, regulatory, and government relations at the state and federal level.

Gary, a governmental affairs consultant to Foulston Siefkin’s Governmental Relations & Public Policy practice group, provides legislative monitoring and lobbying services for Foulston’s governmental relations clients. He holds a bachelor of science degree in history and political science from Southwestern College and a master’s degree in labor economics from Wichita State University. Throughout his extensive career, Gary has served as CLE Director to the Kansas Bar Association and as Executive Director of the Kansas Optometric Association.

This update has been prepared by Foulston Siefkin LLP for informational purposes only. It is not a legal opinion; it does not provide legal advice for any purpose; and it neither creates nor constitutes evidence of an attorney-client relationship.