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Kansas State Senate

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Kansas State Senate

Seal of Kansas.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 14, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Stephen Morris, (R)
Majority Leader:   Jay Emler, (R)
Minority Leader:   Anthony Hensley, (D)
Members:  40
   Democratic Party (8)
Republican Party (32)
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 2013, Kansas is one of 24 Republican state government trifectas.


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 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through April 29 (estimated).

Major issues

Major issues to be addressed in 2013 include 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.[4]


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.”[5]


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. [6]


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.



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.[7].

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.


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[8].

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[9].

Partisan composition

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


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.[10][11]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Kansas State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Stephen Morris Ends.png Republican
Vice President of the Senate John Vratil Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Vicki Schmidt Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Whip Jean Schodorf Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Laura Kelly Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Tom Holland Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Caucus Leader Marci Francisco Electiondot.png Democratic

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


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.[12]

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.[13]


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.[14]

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.

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 Jay Emler Ends.png Republican 2001
36 Elaine Bowers Ends.png Republican 2013
37 Pat Apple Ends.png Republican 2005
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 eighteen (16) 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 have 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

External links