Voters in November elected 125 members to the Kansas House; now those 125 legislators have elected their leadership for the 2019 session. Republicans hold an 85-40 majority and control the House. The Republicans elected the following:
Speaker of the House - Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr. (R-Olathe);
Majority Leader – Rep. Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita) defeated Rep. Don Hineman (R- Dighton); and;
Speaker Pro Tem – Rep. Blaine Finch (R-Ottawa), replaces Scott Schwab who ascends to KS Secretary of State.
The 40 Democrats elected new caucus leaders. They altered course from 2018 by electing:
Minority Leader - Rep. Tom Sawyer (D-Wichita), who defeated former minority leader Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita);
Assistant Minority Leader – Rep. Valdenia Winn (D-Kansas City), who defeated
Rep. Stan Frownfelter (D-Kansas City) who had sought another 2-year term.
The Kansas Senate only had one election this past November in which Sen. Richard Hilderbrand (R-Galena) won the right to complete the final two years of his appointed senate term. However, due to the retirement of Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth), and the ascension of Gov-Elect Laura Kelly (D-Topeka), Lt. Gov-Elect Lynn Rogers (D-Wichita), and Sen. Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka) to the office of Kansas Insurance Commissioner, the Kansas Senate will seat four new members. Those members will be led by the following:
Senate President – Susan Wagle (R-Wichita)
Majority Leader – Jim Denning (R-Overland Park)
Assistant Majority Leader – Jeff Longbine (R-Emporia)
Senate Minority Leader – Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka)
With leaders now in place and the Vicki Schmidt’s vacant seat Senate seat being decided this Friday, December 14th, both chambers will begin assigning committee chairs and members. Expect some big changes in both chambers as the Republican majority designs a strategy to deal with a Democrat as governor. The 2019 Kansas Legislative Session convenes in 35 days!