The following Kansas legislative newsletter is provided to the clients and association members of Bright & Carpenter Consulting, Inc.
Legislative Session Preview

Lawmakers return to Topeka for the start of the 2021 Kansas Legislative Session on Monday, January 11. If there was ever a feeling of uncertainty in the air, this is the year. Up until this week, it was unclear if, how and even where lawmakers would conduct their business in the middle of a pandemic.

All 13 committee rooms in the Statehouse that are used by the Legislature have been installed with both audio and visual streaming. A virtual communication platform will be used and made available for committee members, conferees, and the public to participate in hearings remotely if they choose. Seating in both the House and Senate chambers has been rearranged for lawmakers to social distance when they need to be in the same room to vote on legislation. Masks and COVID-19 testing will also be made available on request.

While the building will be closed to anyone not conducting official business with the Legislature, lobbyists are still unsure on proper protocol in interacting with legislators.

Legislative leaders are taking hefty precautions in an effort to prevent a coronavirus outbreak at the Statehouse. Some Democrat lawmakers have voiced concern over returning to Topeka this early, asking to postpone the legislative session to spring or summer when infection numbers have decreased across the state.

Every year, the session schedule is fluid and changes are often made. This year, however, folks are getting prepared for anything. Leaders have a priority list of legislation that they will address as early as next week, should an outbreak occur and an early adjournment is required. The state budget, changes to the Kansas Emergency Management Act, and economic recovery items top that list.

In any situation, we look forward to continuing to represent our clients fully and effectively. As always, we will keep you informed as the session unfolds. Happy new year!
Governor Kelly's
State of the State Address
Tuesday, January 13, 7:00 p.m.

Broadcast live from the Governor's Facebook page
or on public television stations: KTWU, KPTS, Smoky Hills Public Broadcasting
2020 Elections: Kansas' New Legislature

First seen in the August primary, both the House and Senate took a large step to the right. Six moderate Republican Senators and five Representatives lost their seats to their more conservative challengers.

After the general election, Senate Republicans held the line with 29 seats, while the House grew its supermajority to 86. Both chambers now have the veto-proof majority to override a Governor's veto.

This shift in power also rippled through leadership positions and committee chair assignments. Conservative Ty Masterson (R-Andover) was elected as the new Senate President, over moderate Jeff Longbine (R-Emporia) who was also eyeing the position earlier in the year but did not ultimately put his name in the hat.

November's win for Kansas Republicans - and conservatives in the Primary - will surely impact what issues stand a chance this legislative session.
Committee Change-up

Last month, newly elected Senate President Ty Masterson (R-Andover) made some notable changes when he announced his committee chair line-up.

Senator Carolyn McGinn (R-Sedgwick) was replaced by Senator Rick Billinger (R-Goodland) as chair of the Ways & Means (budget) Committee. Former representative and newly elected to the Senate, Kellie Warren (R-Leawood) was named Judiciary chair, replacing Senator Rick Wilborn (R-McPherson) who was elected Senate vice president.

Some reorganized Senate committees this year:
  • Ethics, Elections and Local Government separated into a Local Government Committee chaired by Senator McGinn; and a Transparency & Ethics Committee chaired by Senator Elaine Bowers (R-Concordia).
  • Financial Institutions & Insurance separated into a Financial Institutions Committee and an Insurance Committee, both to be chaired by Senator Jeff Longbine (R-Emporia).

House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. (R-Olathe) also mixed some things up this year by choosing Representative Adam Smith (R-Weskan) to replace Representative Steve Johnson (R-Assaria) as chair of the Tax Committee.

The House will have two new committees this year:
  • Water Committee, to replace last year's Rural Revitalization Committee, and to be chaired by Representative Ron Highland (R-Wamego).
  • Redistricting Committee, chaired by Representative Chris Croft (R-Overland Park).

For full committee lists and schedules, see links at the bottom of this email.
Lobbying Toolkit
Bright and Carpenter Consulting has developed a Lobbying Toolkit with documents and websites to keep near for whenever you are called to advocate for your industry.

Live Streaming Upgrades

This year, all committee rooms and both the House and Senate chambers won't only broadcast in audio, but will now have both audio and visual streaming available to the public. This allows you to listen to lawmakers introduce legislation, debate bills, and follow issues that are important to you.

To access live streams of legislative proceedings, visit and click on "Audio/Video" in the upper right hand corner.
Ask a Librarian

The Kansas State Library will still have its legislative information hotline this year, providing toll-free information on legislation, bill status, legislative procedures, and contact information from the reference/research librarians. All questions regarding Kansas government are welcome.

Access the Ask the Librarian live chat at or call the toll-free Legislative Hotline at 800-432-3924.
2021 Legislative Calendar
Session Begins @ 2:00 p.m.
January 11

State of the State Address @ 7:00 p.m.
January 12

Kansas Day
January 29

Last Day for Bill Introductions
February 12

Last Day Committees Meet
February 26

Turnaround Day
(last day to consider non-exempt bills in house of origin)
March 5

Last Day to Consider Non-exempt Bills
March 31

Drop Dead Day & First Adjournment
April 9

Veto Session Begins
May 3