Classified employees will probably have to wait another year to change a law that keeps them from running for office.
Efforts to allow the state's 29,000 classified employees the right to run for elective office without quitting their jobs have hit a major roadblock -- the Senate's elections committee.
Opponents on the committee are keeping the legislation bottled up, two Lawrence legislators who support the bill said today.
"It sounds like it's dead for the year," Sen. Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence, said today.
Sen. Janice Hardenburger, who chairs the Senate's Elections, Congressional and Legislative Apportionment and Governmental Standards Committee, said this morning there aren't enough votes on the committee to send House Bill 2088 to the Senate floor, Praeger said.
Praeger said she was still looking for ways to bring the proposal directly to the Senate floor. To do so, the bill would have to be amended into other election-related bills. However, Praeger said there aren't very many of those bills available.
Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, who got the House to approve the bill 88-36 about a month ago, said he hasn't had much luck selling the proposal to the Senate Elections Committee.
"I've pushed and cajoled and reasoned with that committee all that I could and I can't get it out," Sloan said. "I ultimately think the Senate will agree with the House that the state's public employees should be treated the same as any other Kansan, but probably not this year."
Mike Auchard, president of Kansas University's Classified Senate, said "I really don't know why it's having such a difficult time in the Senate. I really don't know if they understand the equity issues."
Auchard said opposition in the Senate may stem partly from animosity generated last year by heavy lobbying efforts by the Kansas Association of Public Employees concerning the 1994 state employees pay plan.