EDMONDS EXPLAINS ‘GUT AND GO’
At the Great Bend Legislative Coffee on March 12, Rep. John Edmonds described a legislative procedure in answer to a constituent’s question. That person asked what the term “gut and go” meant in relation to bills to be voted on.
“It is a slang term for a procedure that eliminates all of the contents of a bill and replaces it with new content.”
There are two places where it could be used.
“If I have a bill in committee for which I want to change the subject of, that is a way to do it,” he explained. “I may do that rather than introduce a new bill.”
The calendar could be one conceivable reason.
“If I have an exempt bill that doesn’t have to follow the rules of the calendar it may be best to do that, rather than introduce a new bill that is subject to the rules of the calendar,” he said. “I take the bill I don’t want that has the exempt status, and I remove everything that is in it except the enacting clause and then put in new stuff. It can be about any kind of new stuff you want. There are very generous allowances for germaneness.”
The other place where it is used and very effectively, is is in conference committee. A conference committee exists because a bill has passed in some version or another in at least one house, but the versions between the two houses are not the same.
A conference committee is selected that consists of at least six members a ranking member from each the House and the Senate. With the current makeup of both houses, that is two Republican representatives, two Republican Senators and a Democratic representative and a Democratic senator. Those six people then have custody of this bill that has passed both houses. They work out the differences.
One of the features of conference committee reports is when they come back to their respective houses, they can only vote it up or down. The leadership decides to substitute a new bill, something that hasn’t been through the process, and put that bill straight into conference. To do that, they take a bill that is in conference, gut the existing contents out of it and place the new bill that you do want in its place.
“That is how you get these bills that come in, that are not amendable, have not had a hearing, and with very little allowance made for debate except for that which can occur inside a conference committee,” he said. “The fact it cannot be amended is the key feature. It can only be voted up or down.”
Sen. Mitch Holmes 2016 Sponsored Bills
SB45 - Authorizing the carrying of concealed handguns without a license under the personal and family protection act.
SB95 - Creating the Kansas unborn child protection from dismemberment abortion act.
SB110 - Sales tax exemption for sales of certain machinery and equipment used for automated ice vending machines.
SB363 - Relating to licensure of acupuncturists.
SB436 - Prioritizing moneys spent for entities that provide family planning services.
SB439 - Grounds for impeachment of justices of the supreme court and certain judges of the district court.
SB443 - Official state of Kansas “cage elevator.”
Rep. Troy Waymaster 2016 Sponsored Bills
HB2547 - Naming the bison herd at mined land wildlife area.
HB2589 - Public assistance ineligibility for children who withdraw from school.
HB2655 - State capitol; cornerstone memorial.
Rep. John Edmonds 2016 Sponsored Bills
HB2547 - Naming the bison herd at mined land wildlife area
The Hoisington Chamber of Commerce will host a Legislative Coffee Saturday, March 19 at the Hoisington Activity Center meeting room at 10 a.m.
Invited to attend the coffee are legislators Senator Mitch Holmes, Representative John Edmonds and Representative Troy Waymaster. Each was elected in 2012, and their current terms end in January, 2017.
The public is encouraged to attend the Legislative Coffee to hear legislative updates and to address questions to legislators related to issues in Topeka this session. Coffee, juice and a light breakfast will be served to all that attend thanks to a sponsorship by Wilson State Bank.
Each of these elected officials have worked to introduce legislation this session. Here is an overview of what they have supported through their sponsorship.
Rep. John Edmonds visited with constituents last Saturday at the Great Bend legislative coffee. Constituents there asked several questions concerning several bills that will impact public education and funding for the state’s seven library systems.
He sits on several committees, including Health and Human Services, Taxation, Pensions and Benefits, and two joint committees, the Robert G. Bethell Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight, and the Joint Committee on Pensions, Investments and Benefits.
He sponsored one bill, HB 2547, Naming the bison herd at mined land wildlife area. The bill passed with a greater than two-thirds majority, and that herd is now called the Bob Grant bison herd.
A resolution, urging the education of all Kansans about Human Trafficking, was introduced and last week a hearing was conducted by Committee on Federal and State Affairs. At this time, the committee has recommended its passage.
Edmonds was elected in 2014 to a second consecutive term. His current term ends in January, 2017. He has declared his candidacy for the 2016 election.
Sen. Mitch Holmes chairs the Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections. He also sits on several other committees, including Public Health and Welfare, Local Government, Agricuture, Federal And State Affairs, as well as the Joint Committee on Pensions, Investments and Benefits, the Joint Committee on Kansas Security, and the Senate Select Committee on KPERS.
According to the official Kansas Legislature website, Sen. Holmes has sponsored seven bills this session (See sidebar). Among them is SB 439, grounds for impeachment of justices of te supreme court and constitutional officers of the executive department. Currently, the Kansas State Constitution, Article 2, section 28, states, “The governor and all other officers under this constitution, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
SB439 adds several conditions for impeachment. The bill was heard in the Senate Committee on Judiciary recently where Holmes testified in favor of the bill. Senator Greg Smith(R), Overland Park, and a representative of the National Legal Foundation provided written testimony supporting the bill. The NLF, according to its website, is a Christian public interest law firm dedicated to the preservation of America’s freedom and constitutional rights.
According to a March 3 report in the Topeka Capital Journal (http://cjonline.com/news/2016-03-03/kansas-senate-panel-takes-bill-listing-impeachable-offenses-justices) , “Holmes pointed to school funding rulings, the court’s decision in the Carr brothers murder cases and its handling of Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor’s decision to drop out of the 2014 U.S. Senate race. Decisions in all of those cases have irked conservatives.”
Opponents of the bill who testified were an attorney and representatives of the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel and Kansas District Judges Association. Representatives of the Kansas Association for Justice and Kansas Bar Association provided written testimony opposing the bill as well.
According to the Journal article, “Opponents argued the proposal is a misguided attack on fair and impartial courts and that it singles out the judicial branch for treatment different from the executive and legislative branches.”
Certain amendments, mostly to the scope of the conditions for impeachment, were made. The revised list now includes: Offenses bearing on the justice’s or officer’s fitness for the justice’s or officer’s duties, which the justice or officer is bound by oath or affirmation to perform;
• Other indictable criminal offenses;
• Breach of the public trust;
• Breach of judicial ethics (for justices);
• Failure to perform adequately the duties of office;
• Attempting to subvert fundamental laws and introduce arbitrary power;
• Attempting to usurp the power of the other branches of government;
• Discourteous conduct toward certain persons;
• Wanton or reckless conduct; or such other actions which in accordance with section 28 of article 2 of the constitution of the state of Kansas, Personal misbehavior or misconduct;
• Failure to properly supervise, administer, or discipline personnel; or
• Such other actions which, in accordance with the constitutional provisions cited above, may constitute grounds for impeachment or discipline, suspension, or removal for cause.
On Friday, March 11, the a report from Senate Committee on Judiciary recommended passing the bill. If passed, it will be in force and go into effect as soon as it is published in the statute book.
Holmes was elected to the Senate in 2012. His current term ends in Jan. 2017. He has declared his candidacy for the 2016 election.
Rep. Troy Waymaster is Chair of the General Government Budget. He also sits on the House Committee on Appropriations and Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. He also sponsored a resolution urging the President of the United States to abandon the threatened transfer of terrorist detainees to Fort Leavenworth. This bill passed with the required two-thirds majority.
As late as Feb. 26 of this year, the President continues to seek a location to transfer these detainees to. In addition to Ft. Leavenworth is the Supermax facility in Florence, Colo., and the Naval Consolidated Brig at Charleston, S.C. Congress continues to oppose transferring any of these detainees to U.S. soil.
Waymaster also sponsored a resolution calling for the Congress to call a Convention of the States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose limits on the federal government. The reasoning for the resolution has to do with the current state of the National debt, unfunded mandates on states by the federal government, and other abuses of power by the federal government.
While the bill did not pass due to the lack of a 2/3 majority, it was close, with 74 members voting for its passage, and 44 voting against. Three more votes was all it would have taken.
HB 2589, Public assistance ineligibility for children who withdraw from school, concerning eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, sponsored by Waymaster and introduced in February was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services, but no hearing has been conducted.
Waymaster was elected in 2012. His current term ends in January 2017. He has not yet declared his candidacy for election in 2016.