Appointments to key offices in Kansas are subject to Senate confirmation under provisions of the new bill
The Kansas Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs approved a bill that would give the Senate the power to confirm the appointments of lieutenant governor, state treasurer and state insurance commissioner.
Senate Bill 249 Originally, the responsibility for finding a appointee was delegated to the political party of the outgoing officeholder, a responsibility currently given to the governor.
Lawmakers removed language stipulating that political parties choose appointees, instead keeping that power in the governor’s office but requiring that nominees be subject to Senate confirmation. Some committee members raised concerns that political parties may not be prepared to find appointees like the governor’s office.
“I believe that the 40 senators who are duly elected or appointed under the law should take responsibility for selecting and at least checking the balance of appointing power,” said Sen. Chase Blassie, R-Wichita. Member of the Commission.
Appointees would still need to be a member of the party holding the office before leaving office. Lawmakers said the approval process would serve as a safeguard against people who opportunistically switch parties to get into office.
The Kansas Republican Party has raised concerns about political appointees in the past. The party called for the lieutenant general to be appointed in 2020. Gov. Lynn Rogers, a Democrat, to the position of state treasurer after the resignation of Jake LaTurner, a Republican who was elected to the U.S. Congress, “Partisan attack on democracy“.
Minority Sen. Ulitha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, said the appointment process was not broken and questioned why it was processed. The committee’s other Democrat, Cindy Hoelscher, D-Overland Park, said legislative oversight could delay appointments.
“These are such important positions that I don’t think we want to leave them vacant for a long period of time,” Hoelscher said. “Legislative oversight does not concern me.”
If the vacant runs as an independent, the governor can choose a replacement without regard to party affiliation.
This article originally appeared in Topeka Capital Magazine: Appointments to key offices in Kansas are subject to Senate approval under a new bill