2021 legislative session

This story has been updated.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Republicans in the Kansas Senate weathered the initial arrest of their majority leader for drunken driving, but they booted him from leadership Friday after details of his arrest painted a picture of dangerous belligerence.

Senate Republicans met after finishing their work and voted in a closed-door meeting to remove Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop of Wichita from the job. Suellentrop did not attend the meeting or issue a statement. He will keep his seat in the Senate.

Carla Eckels / KMUW/File photo

Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill this week requiring utilities to take certain steps before the construction of electrical transmission lines in urban areas.

The legislation, which is specific to Wichita, followed outcry from residents here after Evergy installed large transmission poles in several neighborhoods in 2018.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Gov. Laura Kelly suffered a quick defeat in her latest effort to impose orders aimed at curbing the COVID-19 pandemic.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas stands among a shrinking handful of states that makes cannabis an outlaw drug, even as a medical tool.

Lawmakers trying to overcome resistance to any legalization are looking at adopting medical marijuana rules so tight that, for instance, only patients who’ve been with specially certified doctors for a full year could get it.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kiley Klug, flanked by her 13-year-old son, Owen, in a wheelchair, stood before Kansas lawmakers Wednesday and pleaded to let her treat her son’s hundreds of daily seizures with legal medicinal marijuana.

At one point, she paused to tend to one of the boy’s seizures before resuming her testimony.

“He, as you can see, suffers from a rare, relentless seizure monster called Dravet Syndrome,” she said. “He, at his worst, has struggled through up to 200 to 300 seizures a day.”

WSU Professor Champions Legislation Ensuring Kansas Hospitals Have Qualified Interpreters

Feb 22, 2021
Khanh Nguyen / The Sunflower

When Veronica Mireles’ son complained he was in severe abdominal pain, she rushed him to a Wichita emergency room. No interpreter was provided for the Spanish-speaking family, and the teenager was told he may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease. His doctor sent him home.

The pandemic caused counties across the state to issue varying levels of business shutdown orders meant to slow the spread of a life-threatening virus.

Now businesses that lost their ability to make money during the pandemic want a tax refund for the time they were forced to hang “closed” signs.

Lawmakers heard competing arguments about property tax rebates this week.

Businesses say the closures put them on the brink of shutting down for good. Local governments warn they don’t have the resources to be offering mass tax refunds.

Kansas Lawmakers Weigh Whether To Ease Penalties For Minor Drug Crimes

Feb 11, 2021

Two bills pending in the Kansas Legislature would slim down penalties for minor drug crimes.

Supporters of the lighter sentences contend the changes would give Kansas more reasonable drug laws and carve away at the state’s prison population.

Opponents told a Kansas House committee this week that the legislation would go too far, discounting that all drug crimes — even relatively small offenses — feed an often-violent illegal drug trade.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File photo

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday denounced a Republican plan for cutting Kansas income taxes as “unthinkable” during the COVID-19 pandemic and proposed an alternative that would pay for its relief by taxing online music, movies and streaming services.

Kansas Legislation Would Criminalize Treatment For Transgender Youth

Feb 4, 2021
Jasleen Kaur / flickr Creative Commons

TOPEKA — Legislation that would make it a felony for Kansas doctors to provide medical treatments that help transgender youth transition is unlikely to get a hearing, the head of the committee it is assigned to said Thursday.

Four Republican members of the Kansas House introduced the measure Wednesday. It drew immediate and strong condemnation from the Legislature's first transgender member, its two other openly LGBTQ lawmakers and the executive director of the state's leading LGBTQ-rights organization.

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