Kansas’ Constitution: A Different Approach

I’m Derek Schmidt: This is why I want Kansas’ vote in the midterm election to count. You can subscribe and check this space for updates as the Kansas Senate race heads to a final vote.

At issue is the state constitution, which is set to be voted on this fall by voters across the country. The Kansas House of Representatives and Senate each have voted to change their state’s constitution in the past, but each time, the ballot measure failed.

Lawmakers are seeking a similar result in 2020 as Missouri did in 2016, when their ballot measure — approved by voters in both states — was also turned down in the legislative chambers — but with a key difference: As in Kansas, Missouri’s voter-approved constitution amendment is not simply a change to the state’s government, but the document’s central text.

This measure would change how state legislators are elected, expanding on the original constitution language and creating a new process for choosing senators that does away with the current “At-large” style vote system.

Kansas’ Senate race, to be decided on Tuesday night, has gotten some attention for the unusual, and potentially divisive approach it has taken to the ballot issue.

In Kansas’ Senate election, which will be decided this Tuesday, the most expensive House race to date, lawmakers have taken a markedly different approach to the question of who should control the upper chamber of the state Legislature.

The House Election Committee has approved its own ballot measure, which calls for expanding the current at-large Senate vote to a majority-vote Senate election — allowing two-thirds of legislators to reach a consensus for a candidate before the final, single-issue election is held on Nov. 6.

Kansas House speaker

After his bid for re-election ended, Ron Starcher, R-Hutchinson, has agreed to take the post of speaker of the House. It’s the only non-Senate seat on the Kansas House Election Committee, which is set to vote on its own proposal for the ballot constitutional amendment on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

I spoke with Speaker Starcher — who is running unopposed in this year’s election — on Friday Morning in a conference room at the Kansas Capitol. I posed a series of questions about the House Election Committee’s ballot measure, and whether he was comfortable taking on the role

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