Kansas Senate

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Kansas State Senate
Kansas State Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
New session started
January 12, 2015
Susan Wagle (R)
Since January 14, 2013
Vice President of the Senate
Jeff King (R)
Since January 14, 2013
Majority Leader
Terry Bruce (R)
Since January 14, 2013
Minority Leader
Anthony Hensley (D)
Since January 8, 1996
Seats 40
Kansas state legislature diagram senate.svg
Political groups
Governing party

Opposition party

Length of term
4 years
Authority Article 2, Kansas Constitution
Salary $88.66/day + per diem
Last election
November 6, 2012
(40 seats)
Next election
November 8, 2016
(40 seats)
Redistricting Kansas Reapportionment Commission
Meeting place
State Senate Chamber
Kansas State Capitol
Topeka, Kansas
Kansas State Senate

The Kansas Senate is the upper house of the Kansas Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. State of Kansas. It is composed of 40 Senators representing an equal amount of districts, each with a population of at least 60,000 inhabitants. Members of the Senate are elected to a four-year term. There is no limit to the number of terms that a Senator may serve. The Kansas Senate meets at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka.

Like other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the Senate is reserved with special functions such as confirming or rejecting gubernatorial appointments to executive departments, the state cabinet, commissions and boards.


The Kansas Senate was created by the Kansas Constitution when Kansas became the 34th state of United States on January 29, 1861. Six days after its admission into the Union, the Confederate States of America formed between seven Southern states that had seceded from the United States in the previous months, leading to the American Civil War.

War bonds became a central political issue in Kansas shortly when the Kansas Senate held impeachment trials in 1862, brought about in part by United States Republican Party infighting.[1] The Kansas Senate voted narrowly to convict Kansas Secretary of State J. W. Robinson, and State Auditor George S. Hillyer over what they believed to be the unlawful sale of state bonds.[1] With little evidence of a conspiracy and the smaller role of Governor Charles L. Robinson, his impeachment trial ended with only three state senators voting to convict him.[1]

The state legislature met in a building known as the Old Constitutional Hall until their offices were moved to the east wing of the Kansas State Capitol in 1869, which was still undergoing construction.[2] The Kansas Senate first met there in 1870, though the east wing was not completed until 1873.[2] Work would continue on the building until March 24, 1903.[2]

Prohibitionist, Progressive and Populist movements rose in Kansas in the late 19th century. On February 19, 1881, Kansas became the first state to amend its constitution to prohibit alcoholic beverages.[3] After 1890, prohibition was joined with progressivism to create a reform movement.[3] The Populist Party won the governor's office and control of the Kansas Senate in 1892.[4] Although they did not gain control of the Kansas House of Representatives, the Populists went ahead and claimed it, alleging election fraud.[4] This led to a legislative war between the two parties and eventually ended with a Kansas Supreme Court decision against the Populist faction of the Kansas House.[4]

The Kansas Senate chamber in 1905.

The Kansas Senate helped enact a law in 1905 to restrict children under 14 from working in factories, meatpacking houses, or mines.[5]

With the help of progressive state senators, women gained the right to vote through a constitutional amendment approved by Kansans on November 5, 1912.

The Kansas Democratic Party only gained control of the Kansas Senate briefly in the early 1900s and haven't held it since 1917.[6]

Since 1966, the Kansas Legislature holds annual general sessions. A constitutional amendment adopted at the 1974 general election extended the duration of the session held in the even-numbered years from 60 to 90 calendar days, subject to extension by a vote of two-thirds of the elected membership of each house.[7]

In the 2000s the Kansas Democratic Party was able to win statewide offices and make gains in the Kansas Senate by benefiting from tension in the Kansas Republican Party between its conservative and moderate wings.[8][9][10] These gains, however, were erased in the 2010 Kansas elections.

Legislative procedure

Senators introduce a proposed law in the Senate in the form of a bill, which must be approved by a standing committee, the Committee of the Whole and the entire membership of the chamber.[7] Bills are subject to amendment by other senators in committee or on the floor of the chamber.[7]

A bill must be approved by both houses of the Kansas Legislature in order to be submitted to the governor, who can sign it into law or veto the bill.[7] Legislators can override a veto with the support of two-thirds majority of both houses.[7]


The President of the Senate presides over the body, is a member of the Organization, Calendar and Rules Committee that appoints members to the remaining Kansas Senate committees and joint committees and has the power to create other committees and subcommittees. Unlike many other states, the Lieutenant Governor of Kansas does not preside over the state senate. Since a 1972 amendment to the Kansas Constitution, the lieutenant governor's duties have been severed from the legislative branch, and is active in other areas of the Kansas state government such as commissions on military affairs and health insurance. In the senate president's absence, the senate vice-president presides. The President of the Kansas Senate assigns proposed bills to committees and the majority leader determines the calendar and order of bills to be debated on the floor of the Kansas Senate. The Organization, Rules and Calendar Committee is made up of the President, Vice-President, Majority leader, Assistant Majority Leader, Minority Leader and four senators elected by the majority caucus.

The current President of the Senate is Republican Susan Wagle of District 30 (Wichita). The Senate Majority Leader is Terry Bruce of District 34 (Hutchinson). The Senate Minority Leader is Democrat Anthony Hensley of District 19 (Topeka, Lawrence, Osage City).

Party composition

Resignations and new members are discussed in the Changes in membership section, below.

Kansas is one of the most GOP-leaning states in the country, and the Republicans have held a majority in the Kansas Senate for decades. The Republicans as a whole currently hold a supermajority in the chamber. Before 2013, however, the senate was governed by a coalition of Democrats and more moderate Republicans, in opposition to the conservative wing of the Republican state senators. However, during the 2012 primaries many moderate Republicans were ousted, effectively giving the conservative wing a majority.

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Vacant
End of previous legislature 30 10 40 0
Begin (January 2009) 31 9 40 0
End of Previous Legislature 32 8
Begin (2013) 32 8 40 0
Latest voting share 80% 20%


Position Name Party District
President of the Senate Susan Wagle Republican 39
Vice President of the Senate Jeff King Republican 15
Majority Leader Terry Bruce Republican 35
Minority Leader Anthony Hensley Democratic 19

Members of the Kansas Senate, 2013–2017

District Representative Party Residence
1 Dennis Pyle Republican Hiawatha
2 Marci Francisco Democratic Lawrence
3 Tom Holland Democratic Baldwin City
4 David Haley Democratic Kansas City
5 Steve Fitzgerald Republican Leavenworth
6 Pat Pettey Democratic Kansas City
7 Kay Wolf Republican Prairie Village
8 Jim Denning Republican Overland Park
9 Julia Lynn Republican Olathe
10 Mary Pilcher-Cook Republican Shawnee
11 Jeff Melcher Republican Leawood
12 Caryn Tyson Republican Leawood
13 Jacob LaTurner Republican Pittsburg
14 Forrest Knox Republican Altoona
15 Jeff King Republican Independence
16 Ty Masterson Republican Augusta
17 Jeff Longbine Republican Emporia
18 Laura Kelly Democratic Topeka
19 Anthony Hensley Democratic Topeka
20 Vicki Schmidt Republican Topeka
21 Greg A. Smith Republican Overland Park
22 Tom Hawk Democratic Manhattan
23 Robert Olson Republican Olathe
24 Tom Arpke Republican Salina
25 Michael O'Donnell Republican Wichita
26 Dan Kerschen Republican Belle Plaine
27 Leslie Donovan Republican Wichita
28 Mike Petersen Republican Wichita
29 Oletha Faust-Goudeau Democratic Wichita
30 Susan Wagle Republican Wichita
31 Carolyn McGinn Republican Sedgwick
32 Steve Abrams Republican Arkansas City
33 Mitch Holmes Republican Stafford
34 Terry Bruce Republican Hutchinson
35 Richard Wilborn Republican McPherson
36 Elaine Bowers Republican Concordia
37 Molly Baumgardner Republican Louisburg
38 Garrett Love Republican Montezuma
39 Larry Powell Republican Garden City
40 Ralph Ostmeyer Republican Grinnell

Changes in Membership

Date seat became vacant or otherwise affected District Previous Reason for change Subsequent Date of successor's taking seat
November 2010 36 Janis Lee
Resigned due to appointment as chief hearing officer for the Kansas Court of Tax Appeal.[11] Allen Schmidt
February 2011
December 17, 2010 6 Chris Steineger
Changed party affiliation.[12] Chris Steineger
December 17, 2010
January 5, 2011 38 Tim Huelskamp
Resigned due to election to the US House of Representatives.[13] Garrett Love
January 5, 2011[15]
January 10, 2011 15 Derek Schmidt
Resigned due to election to as Kansas Attorney General[16] Jeff King
January 10, 2011
January 10, 2011 23 Karin Brownlee
Resigned due to appointment as Kansas Secretary of Labor[18] Robert Olson
January 10, 2011
January 10, 2011 37 Jeff Colyer
Resigned due to election as Kansas Lieutenant Governor[20] Raymond Merrick
January 10, 2011
September 2, 2012 25 Jean Schodorf
Defeated in the Republican Party primary by Michael O'Donnell.[22] Jean Schodorf
September 2, 2012
September 30, 2012 8 Tim Owens
Resigned.[23] Dennis Kriegshauser
October 15, 2012
April 2014 37 Pat Apple
Resigned to take a seat on the Kansas Corporation Commission.[24] Molly Baumgardner
April 2014

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ewing, Cortez A. M. "Early Kansas Impeachments," Kansas Historical Quarterly, August 1932 (Vol. 1, No. 4), p. 307-325, digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society. (accessed July 26, 2013)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kansas State Capitol, Kansapedia, Kansas Historical Society, December 2004. (accessed July 26, 2013)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bader, Robert Smith. Prohibition in Kansas: A History (1986)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Cool Things - Legislative War Artifacts, Kansapedia, Kansas Historical Society, November 1997. (accessed July 26, 2013)
  5. Children in Kansas - 1890s-1920s, Kansapedia (accessed July 26, 2013)
  6. Office of Secretary of State.[1] "Kansas History", August 1, 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 "Kansas Legislative Research Manual Kansas Legislative Procedures," March 12, 2009. (accessed July 26, 2013)
  8. Slevin, Peter (2006-10-19). ""Moderates in Kansas Decide They're Not in GOP Anymore," Washington Post" (English). The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-03-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Wickham, DeWayne (2006-06-05). ""Kansas Political Shifts Sign Of Things To Come?," USA Today" (English). Retrieved 2007-03-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. ""Kansas Republicans Evolve -- Into Democrats," Salon" (English). Retrieved July 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Rebecca Zepick (December 17, 2010). "Senator Janis Lee Appointed To Court of Tax Appeals After Almost 22 Years In Senate". www.stateofthestateks.com. State of the State News. Retrieved August 11, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Bormann, Dawn (December 17, 2010). "Kansas Sen. Chris Steineger joins the GOP". www.kansascity.com. Kansas City Star. Retrieved December 29, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Kansas Secretary of State Official Twitter Feed
  14. "Love to be new District 38 state senator". www.swdtimes.com. Liberal Southwest Daily Times. December 20, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Garrett Love Twitter Feed
  16. Kansas Secretary of State Official Twitter Feed
  17. Taylor, Andy (December 11, 2010). "Jeff King appointed to Kansas State Senate". Montgomery County Chronicle. Retrieved January 1, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Kansas Secretary of State Official Twitter Feed
  19. Thompson, Danedri (December 21, 2010). "Precinct members select Olson to replace Brownlee". Gardner News. Retrieved January 10, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Rothschild, Scott (November 8, 2010), "Colyer announces departure from Senate; endorses Merrick", Lawrence Journal-World<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Merrick Moving To Kansas Senate". WIBW-TV. November 23, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. State Sen. Schodorf says she'll leave GOP
  23. Kriegshauser replaces Owens... briefly
  24. Apple appointed to the Kansas Corporation Commission

External links

Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.