Kansas Legislature convenes for 2020 session

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - With the knock of the gavel Monday afternoon, the 2020 Kansas legislative session is underway.

Top republican leaders say they'll push to overturn a state Supreme Court decision on abortion rights.

"Our courts decided that legislature cannot control the things inside our abortion facilities, so we want the folks of Kansas to have a voice in that and decide if we're going to be a pro-life state or not,” Rep. Ron Ryckman, Speaker of the House, said.

"I can assure you that my first goal is to make sure we can pass a constitutional amendment that puts our abortion restrictions back in the hands of the legislature,” Senate President Susan Wagle said.

House Minority Whip Jim Gartner and Kansas City senator David Haley note Medicaid expansion as a top area for debate.

"We've got of course, finally, a bipartisan Medicaid expansion bill that we'll be addressing,” Haley said. “That's probably the immediate highlight."

"We're hoping the Senate really takes that up as soon as they can and gets it over to the House so we can debate it and vote on it,” Gartner said.

"People are still looking at the Senator Denning and Senator Laura Kelly gave us last week, and they want to look at it, they want to analyze it, and then they'll make their decisions,” Wagle said.

A point of agreement on day one: lawmakers have a full year to come.

"This is an election year, and of course as we look at the national election, it does trickle down, regrettably, into the statehouses,” Haley said.

"Hopefully we can come together across the aisle and really work on some issues and agree on issues that are good for Kansans,” Gartner said.

“It's early,” Wagle said. “This is our first few hours that we've come together this year and we'll be working together and we'll solve some problems and hope not to extend past the 90 days."
Gov. Laura Kelly delivers her State of the State Address on Wednesday.