From the Reference Desk...

This blog provides links to current resources to help you find what is new and noteworthy in the state of Kansas. State Library staff will highlight a topic of specific interest and supply links to important news and services in the state of Kansas.

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Feb 26

The Kansas Legislature

Posted on February 26, 2018 at 2:22 PM by Brian Herder

We are partway through the 2018 Kansas Legislature's session. Let's take a look at the basics of the Kansas Legislature.

The US Constitution requires US states to have a "republican form of government," meaning representative government. In the American system dividing governmental powers, the power to make laws belongs to legislatures. The US federal government's legislature is Congress - the Kansas law-making body is simply called the Kansas Legislature.

The Kansas Legislature is a two-chamber legislature, entailing the House and the Senate. Legislation is required to pass both chambers and then avoid a governor veto to become law. A governor's veto however can be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both houses.

Currently the House has 125 districts and the Senate has 40 districts. Senate and House districts overlap geographically, meaning every Kansan is represented by exactly one Representative and one Senator. The US Supreme Court requires state legislative districts to be closely equal in population - i.e., one House district cannot be appreciably more populous than another House district, and the same with the Senate. Districts are re-drawn by population every ten years based on the latest US Census results. Districts were last re-drawn in 2012 and will be re-drawn again in 2022. 

The Kansas Constitution requires the Legislature to convene the second Monday of every January, and the Legislature's basic powers are covered in Article 2:

Additionally, Kansas statutes prescribing legislative powers and responsibilities fall under Chapter 46 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated:

Kansas Legislature's website is very useful for following legislation, committee meetings, individual legislators, and current statutory law:

The easiest way to find out who your state Representative and state Senator are is by entering your home street address at the following third-party website:

You can then be directed to them by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-432-3924, or you can contact them directly via telephone or email based on their contact information on the House and Senate rosters.