TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas voters have narrowly rejected a proposal to curb the power of the governor and other officials over how the state regulates businesses, protects people’s health and preserves the environment.
The Associated Press called the election on Tuesday, a week after Election Day.
Voters defeated a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would have made 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 were rules as varied as how elk hunting permits are distributed and which shots are required for children attending schools.
The latest measure would have allowed 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 viewed the measure as reining in unelected bureaucrats. But abortion rights advocates saw the measure as an attempted power grab by far-right legislators.
Anyone who voted can call for a recount in the race, but it may come at a steep price. The state does not have any automatic process for a recount vote.
A private citizen paid nearly $120,000 to recount the “Value Them Both” abortion amendment vote in August. The recount did not change the outcome. The measure was voted down, 59% to 41%.