2021 legislative session

Kansas Expects Protests; Governor Limits Statehouse Access

Jan 14, 2021
J. Schafer / KPR/File photo

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly is restricting access to the Kansas Statehouse due to the possibility of an armed protest, telling state lawmakers Thursday that an event is planned for Sunday with “other potential gatherings” next week.

The Democratic governor's chief of staff, Will Lawrence, sent a memo Thursday to the Republican-controlled Legislature's top Republican and Democratic leaders announcing that access to the building will be restricted from Friday through Jan. 22. The memo said there will be an increased law enforcement presence at the Statehouse.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service/File photo

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly outlined a proposed annual budget Wednesday that includes a tax increase and two other major initiatives likely to be rejected by the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly continued to push for vigilance in the fight against the coronavirus and tried to combat skepticism of the vaccine on Tuesday as she laid out her goals for 2021.

Republican legislative leaders will likely keep their sometimes combative relationship with Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.

Conservative Republicans maintained their grip on top jobs in the Kansas House and Senate in leadership elections on Tuesday.

That paves the way for lawmakers to restrict the governor’s powers to respond to the pandemic and continued challenges for some top Democratic priorities, like Medicaid expansion.

In the House, Republican Speaker Ron Ryckman won an unprecedented third term.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — This week’s election set the stage for partisan fights in the Kansas Statehouse over things like redistricting, abortion, Medicaid expansion and pandemic-related aid.

Democrats had hoped to crack the Republican supermajority in both chambers — thus taking away the GOP’s power to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s vetoes — but that didn’t happen.