TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Questions are swirling about two constitutional amendments in Kansas, which are set to appear on the November ballot.
One of the two amendments dividing voters, HCR 5014, would, essentially, grant the state Legislature “legislative veto” power. If passed, the amendment would allow the Legislature to suspend or revoke rules and regulations adopted by the executive branch.
Kansas Chamber President Alan Cobb, whose organization has voiced its support for the amendment, said it will only happen when the executive branch oversteps its authority.
Cobb said while it may not happen often, “it does happen.”
“The legislature passes a law and then asks the executive branch to fill in details. Sometimes those details go well beyond what the law intended,” he said. “What would happen is the legislative branch would pass a law that overrules a [regulation] that went beyond the law, so it actually restores that balance.”
However, some groups opposing the amendment have argued that it’s unnecessary.
In written testimony from March, The League of Women Voters of Kansas (LWVK) stated that the amendment was an “overreach of the Kansas Legislature.”
The League of Women of Kansas opposes HCR 5014, as an overreach of the Kansas Legislature andCille King, The League of Women of Kansas
blurs the line of responsibility between the Legislative and Executive branches of our government..
Numerous safeguards are already in place for the legislature to oversee the rules and regulations.
In 1984, a similar “legislative veto” measure was struck down by the Kansas Supreme Court after it was ruled “unconstitutional.”
“They argue that it violated the separation of powers,” political analyst Bob Beatty explained. “The courts were saying the constitution says that when the legislature passes a bill, then it’s the governor’s job to enact the policies from that bill.”
HCR 5022 is another constitutional amendment raising questions.
The amendment would preserve the right of citizens of each county that elected a county sheriff as of Jan. 11, 2022, to continue electing the county sheriff.
It comes after Johnson County officials expressed “doing away” with an elected sheriff and shifting to an appointed position.
The amendment would also provide that a county sheriff only may be involuntarily removed from office pursuant to either a recall election or a writ of quo warranto initiated by the attorney general. Currently, the county attorney initiates the process to oust a sheriff.
Both amendments will be on the ballot in this year’s general election on Nov. 8.