Too early to call measure to boost Kansas lawmakers’ power

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — It’s too early to call a winning side in the effort to give the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature a bigger say over how the state regulates businesses, protects people’s health and preserves the environment.

The proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution on Tuesday’s ballot would make it easier for lawmakers to overturn regulations written by state agencies and boards under the control of the governor and others in the executive branch. At issue are rules as varied as how elk hunting permits are distributed and which shots are required for children attending schools.

The measure would allow lawmakers to suspend or revoke regulations with a simple majority vote in both chambers.

The Legislature has a joint committee that reviews regulations, but if lawmakers object to one their most effective tactic is to object loudly and push the agency to back off. They also can pass a bill overturning the rule, but the governor can veto it.

Business groups and advocates of smaller government view the measure as reining in unelected bureaucrats. But abortion rights advocates see the measure as an attempted power grab by far-right legislators.

Tuesday’s vote came three months after voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to give lawmakers authority to more tightly regulate or ban abortion.