A new bill proposed in the Kansas state House would strip Democratic Governor Laura Kelly of her authority to promote officials to empty seats in select top state positions, local newspaper The Wichita Eagle reports. Party leadership would have the power instead of the governor under the proposed legislation.
In the state’s Constitution, the governor has the ability to assign a replacement following a vacancy in either the position of the secretary of state or of the attorney general. But HCR 5013 would move that power to party appointees. Republican Derby Representative Blake Carpenter argues that the system would operate in the same way that legislative vacancies are currently being filled.
“More or less we’re just modeling the appointment process after how we appoint legislators,” he said.
According to The Wichita Eagle, “The appointment power would fall to the delegates of whichever party last held the executive office. For example, if Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican, were to leave, it would be up to to the Republican party to choose a replacement.”
Another bill also requested for introduction by Carpenter, HB 2410, removes the governor’s ability to fill empty spots in the offices of the insurance commissioner and state treasurer.
Democrat and Overland Park Representative Stephanie Clayton called the legislation “morally wrong.”
“How can the people trust us when we are making laws based on political gain as opposed to how to best structure and run our democratic system that we have here in the state of Kansas?” Clayton said.