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Kansas refuses to increase Legislature’s power over agencies


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas voters have narrowly rejected a proposal to curb the power of the governor and other officials over how the state regulates businesses, protects people’s health and preserves the environment.

The Associated Press called the election on Tuesday, a week after Election Day.

Voters defeated a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would have made it easier for lawmakers to overturn regulations written by state agencies and boards under the control of the governor and others in the executive branch. At issue were rules as varied as how elk hunting permits are distributed and which shots are required for children attending schools.

The election came three months after voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to give lawmakers authority to more tightly regulate or ban abortion.

The latest measure would have allowed lawmakers to suspend or revoke regulations with a simple majority vote in both chambers.

The Legislature has a joint committee that reviews regulations, but if lawmakers object to one, their most effective tactic is to object loudly and push the agency to back off. They also can pass a bill overturning the rule, but the governor can veto it.

Business groups and advocates of smaller government viewed the measure as reining in unelected bureaucrats. But abortion rights advocates saw the measure as an attempted power grab by far-right legislators.