The Kansas House failed to pass a bill on Friday that would place a constitutional amendment on the August ballot.

The measure received first round approval Thursday in the House but failed on its final vote Friday 80-43. The amendment needed 84 yes votes to make it to the August primary election ballot. Rep. Richard Proehl, a Parsons Republican, supported the bill.

The proposed amendment would have given the Legislature authority to regulate abortion consistent with federal court decisions. Anti-abortion groups and lawmakers feared that without a constitutional change, the Kansas Supreme Court would strike down restrictions that would or have withstood federal court challenges, according to The Associated Press.

If it got to the August ballot and approved by voters, the amendment would have overturned a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision declaring access to abortion a fundamental right under the state’s Bill of Rights.

Proehl didn’t know if the measure was done this session.

Some Republicans were attempting to pressure four GOP representatives who broke with the party and voted no on the bill. They also attempted to derail, or slow down, the Medicaid expansion bill, the Associated Press reported.

The Parsons representative said the bill could return to the Legislature this year.

“The one thing that I have learned up here is nothing is ever gone forever. It’s always lurking around the corner,” Proehl said.

Several years ago, he said an amendment showed up 11 times on the House floor in one session and was defeated 11 times.

The Senate passed SCR 1613 last week and Goddard voted for it.


Antique vehicles

There has been interest from antique vehicle owners in legislation that would allow all vehicles more than 35 years old to qualify as an antique vehicle. 

Proehl said he’s heard from 400 people through email supporting House Bill 2528, including local car club the SoKan Cruisers.

Three supporters talked about the bill in a hearing Thursday and lawmakers in the House Transportation Committee didn’t hear from anyone opposed to the bill.

Antique vehicle owners who install different rims from the original could get ticketed as no longer having an antique because of the modification, Proehl said.

Proehl said the bill as written could apply to street rods as well and he’s having legislative researchers look into this issue. Transportation could revisit the bill next week and decide if an amendment excluding street rods is wanted.

“We need to sort that all out,” Proehl said.


Proehl leads the House

On Thursday, Proehl chaired the House when it debated several bills, including the initial vote on SCR 1613.

House leaders sometimes choose Proehl or Rep. Jim Kelly to chair the meeting, especially if controversial measures are coming up.

“I feel privileged that they allow me to do things like that,” Proehl said.

He said he and Kelly generally take things slow at the helm.

“We don’t excited. We don’t get real wound up. We take it slow and easy, and if there’s a question in our mind we’ll hesitate for 10 seconds, even though it seems like an eternity sitting there in dead silence. It’s better than making a quick decision and then having to figure out how to fix it,” Proehl said.


Other bills heard:

— Senate Ways and Means subcommittees are working on state agency budgets. Goddard serves on five of these subcommittees and one of them is reviewing the Kansas Bureau of Investigation budget and a KBI proposal to replace its fingerprint system. The system could cost up to $8 million and the agency is awaiting proposals from companies for the Kansas Automated Fingerprint Identification System. The system would work better with the FBI’s fingerprint system and would search the database quicker. The state has more than 1 million fingerprints on file, Goddard said.

— A hearing was planned on Friday for the Senate Tax Committee on SB 294 that would require notice and a public hearing for governing bodies that want to exceed their certified tax rate for property taxes. Some agencies dislike the bill, including county governments who already live under a tax lid bill passed by lawmakers. Goddard said it’s his understanding that this bill would exclude school districts from having to comply with it, but he wanted to hear more about the bill.

— Another bill in the Senate Tax Committee, SB 273, would allow taxpayers who take their property tax complaints to the State Board of Tax Appeals to appear by audio or video conferencing instead of having to appear in person.

— Goddard said SB 342 would allow driver’s license renewals to be sent electronically. This bill will be heard Tuesday in the Senate Transportation Committee.

— Goddard said the Medicaid expansion bill may come to a vote in the Senate health committee on Tuesday or Wednesday to advance the bill to the Senate floor.

— The House Transportation Committee heard about HB 2501 on Tuesday. The bill would give salvage yards a method to apply for ownership documents for vehicles that are not claimed by insurance companies and owners.

— Heard on Tuesday HB 2524 that will clean up language in laws relating to motor carriers. The Kansas Corporation Commission and the Motor Carriers Association worked together on eliminating laws no longer applicable.

— The Statehouse was shut down on Wednesday for the victory parade in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Proehl and Goddard stayed at the Statehouse and got work done.

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