Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kansas Senate Passes Bill to Permanently Cancel Presidential Primary

Earlier in the 2015 legislative session the Kansas state Senate unanimously passed legislation to eliminate the presidential primary in the Sunflower state. On Wednesday, May 13, it did so again.

At the end of March, the Kansas state Senate passed SB 239 which originally would have cancelled the presidential primary for the 2016 cycle, but was amended first to end the quadrennial exercise that has happened every cycle since 1996 to cancel the presidential primary. The state House considered similar legislation of its own as well as the Senate bill in the same timeframe. However, around that same time, an effort was initiated to merge a number of elections-related bills including the measure to eliminate the presidential primary.

That omnibus elections bill -- the conference committee report for HB 2104 -- passed the state Senate 22-13 with Democrats and conservative Republicans in opposition. The presidential primary cancelation is commonplace in Topeka after two decades, but some of the other provisions -- moving local elections to August and shifting city and school board elections to odd-numbered years -- have proven more controversial. The vote in the Senate was much tighter than the unanimous vote on the stand-alone presidential primary cancelation bill. The vote in the state House is expected to be even narrower.

Kansas Democrats have already committed to caucuses for the 2016 cycle.

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