With last Wednesdays sine die end to the 2019 legislative session, we can make an early assessment of Kansas politics, the Legislature, and especially Governor Laura Kelly. If a governors term consists of four legislative sessions, this is roughly the end of first quarter.
We cant know what ultimate outcomes will be, either for policies or politics, but we can see some trends and try to understand how the remainder of the game shapes up.
Most importantly, the election of a Democratic governor has profoundly changed the nature of the game itself. For the first six years of Governor Brownbacks tenure, and especially 2013 through 2016, Brownback and his band of far-right Republican legislators held sway in Topeka. Save for an occasional must-pass piece of tax legislation, dictated by falling state revenues, there was little legislative give and take in Topeka. The overlapping agendas of the governor and Republican legislative leaders made their way into the statute books, limited only by occasional resistance within the courts.