Kansas State Senate

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Kansas State Senate

Seal of Kansas.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Partisan control:   Republican Party
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 12, 2015
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Susan Wagle (R)
Majority Leader:   Terry Bruce (R)
Minority Leader:   Anthony Hensley (D)
Members:  40
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art 2, Kansas Constitution
Salary:   $88.66/day + $6,775/year expenses
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (40 seats)
Next election:  November 8, 2016 (40 seats)
Redistricting:  Kansas Legislature has control
Meeting place:
Kansas State Capitol.jpg
The Kansas State Senate is the upper house of the Kansas Legislature. It includes 40 state senators each representing one of 40 districts. Each member represents an average of 71,328 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 67,210 residents.[2] Kansas state senators serve four-year terms and have no term limits.

Kansas state senators earn $84.80 for service and $99 for expenses each day that they work. They receive an additional $6,775 to cover expenses incurred between sessions, and they receive reimbursement for mileage. Senators that attend legislative business authorized by the Legislative Coordinating Council between sessions receive compensation, subsistence and mileage (assuming 12 days of meetings). Certain members of the Senate receive additional compensation. The President of the Senate receives an additional $13,428 each year. The Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate each receive an additional $12,114. The Vice President of the Senate and the Assistant Majority and Minority Leaders each receive an additional $6,854. The chairpersons of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means each receive an additional $10,799.[3]

As of May 2015, Kansas is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

See also: Kansas State Legislature, Kansas House of Representatives, Kansas Governor


Article 2 of the Kansas Constitution establishes when the Kansas State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 8 of Article 2 states that the Legislature is to convene on the second Monday of January of each year. Section 8 also limits the length of regular sessions in even-numbered years to ninety calendar days, but it allows these sessions to be extended by a two-thirds affirmative vote of both houses. In 2010, this kind of extension occurred, moving the session's adjournment date from March 30th to May 28th.


See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions

In 2015, the Legislature is projected to be in session from January 12 through late May.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2015 legislative session include closing a projected $279 million budget shortfall, K-12 funding and a possible privatization of public employee pensions.[4]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 13 through May 30.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included school funding, changing the state's court nomination system and Medicaid expansion.[5]


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through June 20.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included school funding, a settlement between tobacco companies and the state, mental health funding, KanCare, illegal immigration, pension system changes, shifting taxes to the local level, and liquor sales.[6]

Drug testing for lawmakers
Legislation introduced in the state house and state senate would bring punitive measures against drug users receiving government benefits if there is "reasonable suspicious" drug use exists. The measures would apply to both welfare recipients and Kansas lawmakers, although the legislation is unclear as to what would happen if a legislator tested positive for narcotics.[7]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was scheduled to be in session from January 9 through May 14. However, due to infighting among Republicans, the session had to be extended through the 20th. Major issues which remained unresolved included education funding, state employee pension reform, redistricting and the budget. Gov. Sam Brownback (R) stated, “I think it’s reasonable for people to say they should have gotten things done in 90 days. My hope is that they wrap it up here pretty soon.”[8]


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 10-June 1, 2011.

Session highlights

In the 2011 session, the legislature allowed "expensing," a way for businesses to receive larger tax deductions for start-up costs such as new equipment and software.[9]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Senate's regular session was scheduled to last from January 11th to March 30th. However, the session was extended, and it did not adjourn until May 28th.

Role in state budget

See also: Kansas state budget and finances
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The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[10][11]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in June.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in September.
  3. Agency hearings are held in November.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature on the eighth calendar day of the legislative session. For new governors, this deadline is extended to the 21st calendar day of the session.
  5. The legislature typically adopts a budget in May. A simple majority is required to adopt a budget. The fiscal year begins in July.

Kansas is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[11]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced proposed budget. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.[11]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Kansas was one of the 10 states that used cost-benefit analysis more than the rest of the states with respect to determining return on investment regarding state programs. In addition, these states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis with respect to large budget areas and when making policy decisions.[12]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[13] According to the report, Kansas received a grade of D- and a numerical score of 50, indicating that Kansas was "lagging" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[13]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Kansas was given a grade of A in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[14]



Elections for two seats in the Kansas State Senate were held in 2014. A primary election was held on August 5, 2014, and a general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was June 2, 2014.

In District 35, Rick Wilborn defeated four others in the Republican primary and was unopposed in the general election for the open seat. In District 37, incumbent Molly Baumgardner defeated Charlotte O'Hara in the Republican primary and was unopposed in the general election.[15][16]


See also: Kansas State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Kansas State Senate were held in Kansas on November 6, 2012. A total of 40 seats were up for election. State senators serve four-year terms and all senate seats are up for re-election every four years. The signature filing deadline was June 11, 2012. The date was originally set for June 1, but a delay in the redistricting process caused the state to push back the filing deadline.[17].

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2010

There were no elections held for the offices of Kansas State Senate in 2010.


See also: Kansas State Senate elections, 2008

Elections for the office of Kansas State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 5, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.

During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $5,535,999. The top 10 contributors were:[18]


See also: Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2006

There were no elections held for the offices of Kansas State Senate in 2006.


See also: Kansas State Senate elections, 2004

Elections for the office of Kansas State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 3, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.

During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $4,776,522. The top 10 contributors were:[19]


See also: Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2002

There were no elections held for the offices of Kansas State Senate in 2002.


See also: Kansas State Senate elections, 2000

Elections for the office of Kansas State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 1, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.

During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $3,605,370. The top 10 contributors were:[20]


Section 4 of Article 2 of the Kansas Constitution states, "During the time that any person is a candidate for nomination or election to the legislature and during the term of each legislator, such candidate or legislator shall be and remain a qualified elector who resides in his or her district."


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

The Governor is responsible for filling all vacancies in the senate.

The political party committee that last held the vacant seat must call for a convention within 21 days of the vacancy. The convention is designed to select the Governor's appointee and involves all the committeemen and committeewomen that represent the vacant Senate district.[21]

The committeemen and committeewomen present for voting must approve a replacement on a simple majority vote. Once the vote has been conducted, the party committee must send the paperwork certifying the selection to the Governor within 24 hours or the next business day. The Governor has seven days after receiving the paperwork to act on the appointment.[22]


See also: Redistricting in Kansas

The Kansas Legislature handles redistricting. Both chambers have a Reapportionment Committee that presenst plans to the chamber at large. Gubernatorial veto is not present, but all plans must be reviewed by the Kansas Supreme Court. Kansas uses adjusted census figures to account for non-residents in school or the military.

2010 census

Kansas received its local census data on March 3, 2012. The state grew by 6.1 percent to over 2.58 million, with growth concentrated in the northeast corner of the state and the remainder largely showing slight declines. (The adjusted total was about 14,000 less than the federal figure.) Wichita grew by 11.1 percent, Overland Park grew by 16.3 percent, Kansas City decreased by 0.7 percent, Topeka grew by 4.2 percent, and Olathe grew by 35.4 percent.[23]

The Legislature attempted redistricting in its 2012 session. Against custom, which had the chambers passing their own maps, the Senate passed revisions to a new House map, and the House passed a map for the Senate; neither chamber was amenable to the other's actions. On May 20, the Legislature adjourned amid deadlock, meaning the courts would have to decide the new boundaries.



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Kansas legislature are paid $88.50/day. Additionally, legislators receive $118/day per diem tied to the federal rate.[24]


As of 2011, when pensions are calculated for Kansas legislators, their normal annual salary is inflated by nearly $78,000. This is composed of $32,982, which comes from multiplying their daily salary by 372 (the number of days they would work if in session every day and if every month had 31 days), $45,756 from adding in their daily per diem (also based on 372 days), and $7,083 from expense payments. According to Sen. Steve Morris, this is intended as compensation because of low legislative salaries which are seen as difficult to raise.[25]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Kansas legislators assume office the second Monday of January after their election.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 8
     Republican Party 32
Total 40

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Kansas State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Kansas State Senate.PNG


The President of the Senate is chosen from among its membership. In the absence of the President, the Vice President assumes the duties of presiding officer.[26][27]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Kansas State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Susan Wagle Ends.png Republican
Vice President of the Senate Jeff King Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Julia Lynn Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Garrett Love Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Marci Francisco Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Laura Kelly Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Caucus Leader Tom Hawk Electiondot.png Democratic

Current members

Current members, Kansas State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Dennis Pyle Ends.png Republican 2005
2 Marci Francisco Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
3 Tom Holland Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
4 David Haley Electiondot.png Democratic 2001
5 Steve Fitzgerald Ends.png Republican 2013
6 Pat Pettey Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
7 Kay Wolf Ends.png Republican 2013
8 Jim Denning Ends.png Republican 2013
9 Julia Lynn Ends.png Republican 2007
10 Mary Pilcher-Cook Ends.png Republican 2009
11 Jeff Melcher Ends.png Republican 2013
12 Caryn Tyson Ends.png Republican 2013
13 Jacob LaTurner Ends.png Republican 2013
14 Forrest Knox Ends.png Republican 2013
15 Jeff King Ends.png Republican 2011
16 Ty Masterson Ends.png Republican 2009
17 Jeff Longbine Ends.png Republican 2010
18 Laura Kelly Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
19 Anthony Hensley Electiondot.png Democratic 1993
20 Vicki Schmidt Ends.png Republican 2005
21 Greg Smith Ends.png Republican 2013
22 Tom Hawk Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
23 Robert Olson Ends.png Republican 2011
24 Tom Arpke Ends.png Republican 2013
25 Michael O'Donnell Ends.png Republican 2013
26 Dan Kerschen Ends.png Republican 2013
27 Leslie "Les" Donovan Ends.png Republican 1997
28 Mike Petersen Ends.png Republican 2005
29 Oletha Faust-Goudeau Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
30 Susan Wagle Ends.png Republican 2001
31 Carolyn McGinn Ends.png Republican 2005
32 Steve Abrams Ends.png Republican 2009
33 Mitch Holmes Ends.png Republican 2013
34 Terry Bruce Ends.png Republican 2005
35 Rick Wilborn Ends.png Republican 2015
36 Elaine Bowers Ends.png Republican 2013
37 Molly Baumgardner Ends.png Republican April 2014
38 Garrett Love Ends.png Republican 2011
39 Larry Powell Ends.png Republican 2013
40 Ralph Ostmeyer Ends.png Republican 2005

Standing Senate Committees

The Kansas Senate has 18 standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Kansas
Partisan breakdown of the Kansas legislature from 1992-2013

Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Kansas State Senate. The Kansas State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the final three years of the study, Kansas was under Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Kansas, the Kansas State Senate and the Kansas House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Kansas state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

To read the full report on the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) in PDF form, click here.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Kansas state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Kansas has never had a Democratic trifecta, while it has had a Republican trifecta in two separate periods of the study (between 1995 and 2003, and again beginning in 2011). The state cracked the top-10 in the SQLI ranking once in 1992. Kansas’s most precipitous drop in the ranking occurred under divided government between 1993 and 1994, when the state fell nine spots. The state’s largest gain in the SQLI ranking occurred between 2007 and 2008, also under divided government. Kansas reached its lowest point in 1999 (29th) under divided government.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 20.90
  • SQLI average with divided government: 19.09
Chart displaying the partisanship of Kansas government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

State profile

Kansas' population in 2014 was 2,904,021.

Kansas' population in 2014 was 2,904,021 according to the United States Census Bureau. This estimate represented a 1.8 percent increase from the bureau's 2010 estimate. The state's population per square mile was 34.9 in 2010, falling below the national average of 87.4.

Kansas experienced a 1.9 percent increase in total employment from 2011 to 2012 based on census data, falling below the 2.2 percent increase at the national level during the same period.[28]


Kansas exceeded the national average for residents who attained at least bachelor's degrees based on census data from 2009 to 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 30.3 percent of Kansas residents aged 25 years and older attained bachelor's degrees compared to 28.8 percent at the national level.

The median household income in Kansas was $51,332 between 2009 and 2013 compared to a $53,046 national median income. Census information showed a 14 percent poverty rate in Kansas during the study period compared to a 14.5 percent national poverty rate.[28]

Racial Demographics, 2013[28]
Race Kansas (%) United States (%)
White 87.1 77.7
Black or African American 6.2 13.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.2 1.2
Asian 2.7 5.3
Two or More Races 2.7 2.4
Hispanic or Latino 11.2 17.1

Presidential Voting Pattern, 2000-2012[29][30]
Year Democratic vote in Kansas (%) Republican vote in Kansas (%) Democratic vote in U.S. (%) Republican vote in U.S. (%)
2012 38.1 59.7 51.1 47.2
2008 41.6 56.5 52.9 45.7
2004 36.6 62.0 48.3 50.7
2000 37.2 58.0 48.4 47.9

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[31]

See also

External links


  1. census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
  3. Kansas Secretary of State, "2014 Kansas Directory," accessed August 19, 2014
  4. Associated Press, "Fiscal issues to drive Kansas lawmakers' session," December 28, 2014
  5. ljworld.com, "Issues that will dominate the 2014 legislative session," January 12, 2014
  6. Lawrence Journal World, "Key issues expected during the 2013 legislative session," January 13, 2013
  7. WatchDog.org, "Dopey law: KS lawmakers who use drugs could get special treatment," accessed December 24, 2013
  8. Kansas City Star, "Republican infighting forces Kansas Legislature to extend session," May 12, 2012 (Archived)
  9. Stateline.org, "States balance budgets with cuts, not taxes," June 15, 2011(Archived)
  10. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  12. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  14. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  15. Kansas Secretary of State, "2014 Primary Election - Official Vote Totals," accessed January 27, 2015
  16. Kansas Secretary of State, "2014 General Election - Official Vote Totals," accessed January 27, 2015
  17. fec.gov, "2012 Primary Dates and Candidate Filing Deadlines," accessed August 19, 2014
  18. Follow the Money, "Kansas 2008 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  19. Follow the Money, "Kansas 2004 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  20. Follow the Money, "Kansas 2000 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  21. Kansas Legislature, "Kansas Statutes," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 25-3902 (a), Kansas Statutes)
  22. Kansas Legislature, "Kansas Statutes," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 25-3902 (g), (e), Kansas Statutes)
  23. U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Kansas' 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," March 3, 2011. Accessed August 20, 2012
  24. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  25. USA Today, "State lawmakers pump up pensions in ways you can't," September 23, 2011
  26. Kansas Senate, "Rules of the Kansas Senate," January 2014
  27. Kansas Senate, "Senate Leadership," accessed August 19, 2014
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 United States Census Bureau, "QuickFacts Beta," accessed March 24, 2015
  29. Kansas Secretary of State, "Election Statistics," accessed April 17, 2015
  30. The American Presidency Project, "Presidential Elections Data," accessed March 24, 2015
  31. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014