The Kansas legislative session occurs January to May.
The Kansas Legislature consists of a 125-member House of Representatives and a 40- member Senate. This is the maximum membership authorized by the Kansas Constitution. Subject to these limitations, the number of members of each house is set by law. Members of the House are elected for a two-year term and senators are elected for a four-year term. These terms begin on the second Monday in January of the odd-numbered year following the election. The Constitution requires that House and Senate districts be redrawn every ten years (in the year ending in 2) to equalize district population.
Districts are based upon the most recent federal census, adjusted to exclude nonresident students and military and to include resident students and military at the place of their permanent residence. By statute, the census adjustment is conducted by the Secretary of State. The Constitution requires that the Kansas Supreme Court determine the validity of legislative redistricting laws before they become effective.
There are seven basic steps through which a bill normally passes before it becomes law.
Introduction and Reference of Bills. The introduction of a bill constitutes its formal presentation to the House of Representatives or Senate. At this time the title of the bill is read (except for the statutory citations) and the bill is printed for general distribution. Either on the day of introduction or on the next legislative day, the bill is referred to a committee.
Consideration by Standing Committee. The committee meets, holds hearings, discusses the bill, formulates recommendations, and then prepares a committee report for submission to the House or Senate.
Consideration by Committee of the Whole. If reported favorably, the bill goes next to the Committee of the Whole under the calendar heading of General Orders. Eventually, the bill may be debated and be recommended for passage with or without amendments. Any member of the House or Senate may offer amendments and speak for or against the bill.
Final Passage. If recommended for passage by the Committee of the Whole, the bill is placed on the calendar under the heading of Final Action. A roll call vote is taken to determine if the bill will be passed by the house. To pass the body, the bill must receive a majority vote of all of the elected (or appointed) and qualified members.
Action by Second House. Having passed the first house, the bill is messaged, or sent, to the second house where the same procedure as before is followed. If the second house passes the bill without amendment, it is enrolled, i.e., printed in its final form, for consideration by the Governor. If the second house amends the bill and the first house concurs (agrees to accept the amendments), the bill also is considered finally passed. If the first house disagrees with the amendment, a conference committee usually is appointed to work out an agreement. When both houses have approved the report of the conference committee by a majority of all members on a roll call vote, the bill is considered finally passed.
Action by the Governor. Within ten days after passage, the bill must be signed by the presiding officers of each house, the Chief Clerk of the House, and the Secretary of the Senate, and be presented to the Governor. The Governor has ten days after receipt of the bill to act on it. If the Governor does not act on it during the ten-day period, the bill automatically becomes law. Most bills passed by the Legislature are approved by the Governor. However, the Governor may veto a bill by refusing to sign it and returning it to the house in which the bill originated, together with a statement of the reasons for the veto. In appropriation bills only, the Governor may veto some items and approve the others by signing the bill. The Legislature may pass a bill over the Governor’s veto by a two-thirds vote of the elected (or appointed) and qualified members of each of the houses.
Publication of Laws. An act of the Legislature is not in force until the enacting bill has been published so that the public has proper notice that it is law. Publication notice occurs in the Session Laws (on or before July 1) unless the Legislature desires the law to take effect sooner. In this event, it is printed in the Kansas Register.