Kansas state Senate leaders spar over process

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate Minority leader has raised questions about whether the chairman of the state Senate Education Committee has been sending education bills to other committees for consideration.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, said Education Committee Chairman Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, has bypassed his own panel with some education bills, including a charter school bill and a bill to overhaul teacher licensure, The Topeka-Capital Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1lew8MO ) Saturday.

“He’s circumventing his own committee,” said Hensley, a teacher and ranking minority member on the education panel. “Teacher licensure is a perfect example of that.”

Hensley has emailed his concerns to the entire Senate committee and included a list of school finance bills that went to the Education Committee last year.

“My point is this,” he wrote. “It appears the decision was made to refer school finance bills to Ways and Means this year instead of to Education.”

Abrams said Thursday that Senate Leadership had placed many of the bills in the Ways and Means Committee.

“What happens is that they end up having a lot of stuff in the omnibus bills,” Abrams said, referring to the process of folding various bills together. “Typically at the end of the year that’s what happens.”

Abrams said the teacher licensure bill is in the Ways and Means Committee because “that’s going to end up in the omnibus bill.” Asked if the education panel should have the opportunity to hold hearings on teacher licensure, he said, “We had a hearing in Ways and Means.”

“That’s the way our system works,” he said. “I am satisfied with the process. That’s our process, that’s the way it’s been done every year since I’ve been here.”


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com


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