Archive for Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Democratic leaders want to limit Kobach’s work outside of Kansas government

December 4, 2012, 11:56 a.m. Updated December 4, 2012, 4:12 p.m.


— Democratic legislative leaders said Tuesday that they will introduce two measures in January that would limit Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s power and the time he devotes to pet issues such as immigration.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, said he plans to submit a bill that would restrict statewide elected officials and their employees to 10 paid hours per week spent on non-official duties. He said Kobach should be concentrating on the secretary of state’s office, not working with other states on immigration issues.

Kobach, a Republican, has said that he only works on immigration measures in his “spare time.” But Hensley questioned whether an elected official who is doing his or her job properly would have any spare time.

“He’s trying to do two jobs at once, but we need a fulltime secretary of state,” said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, of Lawrence.

Messages left for Kobach were not immediately returned.

The measure Democrats want to see enacted would apply to the governor, secretary of state, attorney general, insurance commissioner and the governor’s Cabinet, including agency secretaries. It does not apply to the lieutenant governor because governors in the past have frequently held a Cabinet position, such as head of commerce or administration.

Kobach, a former constitutional law professor, has gained national notoriety for his work with Arizona, Alabama and others to draft immigration laws.

A second bill would require county commissions in the state’s four largest counties to hire election commissioners, to address problems arising from the general election. It is aimed at preventing Kobach from appointing those commissioners.

Democrats said the problems that led to counting votes during the November general election point to the need for having a person who is accountable to the voters for getting it right.

Elected county clerks run elections in 101 of the state’s 105 counties, but the secretary of state appoints election commissioners in the four most populous ones, those being Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte. Kobach has appointed the commissioners in Sedgwick and Shawnee since he took office in 2010.

Both measures proposed by Democrats have been introduced in recent years but have failed to advance. Republicans hold a majority in both chambers.


somebodynew 5 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, good luck with all of that.

Seriously, I wish it would work, but since the Dems are not in power in Ks, and KK is one of the 'annointed ones', I wouldn't be surprised to see this effort completly flipped around and give him more power. Sad, but I don't trust anything about the Kansas gov't under this administration.

And who can tell - after all, they don't have "Official" email accounts anymore so they can hide everything !!! (And they do.)

Brock Masters 5 years, 4 months ago

So the receptionist who works for Kobach can't work a second job to make ends meet but the receptionist that works for the secretary of transportation can?

Hensley, lets make it apply to all cabinet secretaries and legislators during the legislative session too just to be fair.

Betty Bartholomew 5 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, this is either poorly thought out or a poorly worded representation of the proposal. Guessing maybe the latter since it looks like he proposed something like this in 2011 (SB166 -, and it pretty narrowly defined what officials and employees would be affected by it. Sounds like he'll be re-introducing it.

madameX 5 years, 4 months ago

Where are you getting that? The article specifically says elected officials. I don't think any of the receptionists are elected.

George_Braziller 5 years, 4 months ago

He or she can have a second job, just can't be doing it on the clock while at the same time being paid to be a receptionist

Centerville 5 years, 4 months ago

So, Senator Hensley is finally ready to give up that "teaching job" of his? Good, the Topeka school district could use the money.

James Nelson 5 years, 4 months ago

10 hrs a week is too much time. Thats 25% of the entire work week. I want him to devote 100% of his work week to working on Kansas problems. He has made a mockery of Kansas election laws and flaunted a lack of devotion to earning his pay.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

If the expectation is that he works 40 hours per week on his state job and he then works an additional 10 hours somewhere else, then he's spending 0% of his expected work week doing outside work. If the expectation is that he works 40 hours per week on his state job and he then works an additional 20 hours somewhere else, then he's spending 0% of his expected work week doing outside work. The question isn't how much outside work he should or should not be doing? The question is is he doing the job he was elected to do? Or someone might suggest that if the job he was elected to do doesn't really need his full attention, then perhaps it's expectations should be lowered to that of a part time job. Maybe the legislature should develop a comprehensive job description, including the number of hours an office holder is expected to work, one that the voters could then decide if he or future office holders are doing the job they were elected to do. Of course, then people like governors, Presidents, members of Congress, etc. might wind up putting in for overtime.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

I actually agree with you. I would expect an official elected to high political office to be working for the state full time and far more than 40 hours per week. But that just illustrates the vagueness of this whole issue. I can think 60 hours, you can think 50, someone else thinks 40 is enough. There really is no correct answer. But there is a remedy, that being at the ballot box. Or should things become too extreme, with a recall. Unless of course the legislature steps in and formally establishes guidelines that can be measured. And the place to ensure that is at the ballot box. This really isn't about him. People like Kobach and Brownback come and go. It's really about us, and what we do at the ballot box.

BigDog 5 years, 4 months ago

Of all issues to take up ..... this will an issue that the citizens will rally around. Anthony Hensley has pushed Democrats toward being a complete joke in the state. Democrats used to stand for issues that mattered to the people, now it is about name calling and this kind of legislation. Another election with Senator Hensley's leadership and there may be zero Democrats left in the Senate.

Dan Eyler 5 years, 4 months ago

I use to work 20-30 hour extra a week a few years back. It took nothing away from my primary job and the money was great. Any politician trying to pass laws that limit a man's ability to make extra money needs to mind his own business. Some may not like Kobach but I have know doubt at all he is putting in his 40+ hours a week and what he does in his own time is his own business. If Kobach must follow such stupidity than it should apply to all state employees.

Brian Hall 5 years, 4 months ago

Were you an elected official? The difference between what you did and what Kobach is doing is that Kobach seems to spend a lot of time out of state going to Arizona, Nebraska, Louisiana or wherever else his immigration laws are taking him. If your second job is taking you out of town or out of state, sooner or later it will start affecting your primary job.

I also feel that part of this is also due to the fact that no matter what, Kobach's name comes attached with the label "Kansas Secretary of State" so even if he's not on official state business using his own time, he's still promoting Kansas as Secretary of State. Whereas I feel that at your second job at DEF Industries, you weren't introducing yourself as an employee or furthering the interests of your primary employer ABC industries.

Brock Masters 5 years, 4 months ago

I say leave it up to the voters but if it is a good idea for Kobach then it is a good idea for legislators during the session, all statewide elected officials and all cabinet or agency heads.

I wonder how many of them work a second job? Probably more than most realize.

parrothead8 5 years, 4 months ago

This is absolutely the wrong tactic. They should be trying to pass a bill that allows Kobach to ONLY work outside the state. Far, far, FAR outside the state.

KU_cynic 5 years, 4 months ago

As a KU professor I recently had to fill out conflict of interest declaration.

I guess Kobach has one on file, too. Have our friends in the fourth estate ever filed an open records request to see the content of that?

Brock Masters 5 years, 4 months ago

This is a foolish act of grandstanding by Hensley. It serves no purpose but to further alienate him from the rest of the Senate body. He has to know it has no chance of passage and will only serve to irritate the Republicans and thus, kill any chance to work with them on something more meaningful.

msezdsit 5 years, 4 months ago

He is such an embarrassment to the state I can see why they would like to keep him under wraps. Its probably the responsible thing to do. But then there's is enough evil in this guy to share. If we used him to scare the rest of the country and told them we have brownback to spring on them next the rest of the country might help us to get rid of the both of them.

I think the silver lining in Kobach is that he is leading the charge in the wrong direction for the republican party and if he can continue he will help in taking the rest of his kind down with him, that would be a good thing. You know the old saying, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. Well theres a lot of bad apples in Kobachs corner.

KS 5 years, 4 months ago

I think you are going to see more of Kobach this year working on immigration. This time, however, it will be for The State of Kansas.

Brock Masters 5 years, 4 months ago

Maybe but you will see pushback from the Ag groups. They want the cheap labor that illegal immigration provides; cheap in terms of wages and in working conditions.

Paul Wilson 5 years, 4 months ago

Keep up the good work Kris. Cutting into the number of leeches that the Dems make dependent on them is noble work. Without the parasites....the Democratic Party would cease to exist.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

Then we must also crack down on Sam Brownback when he travels about. He is out and about raising campaign money.... like he would do while being a beltway politician.

We don't elect people to chase down special interest campaign money nor to participate in corruption.

No doubt Kobach is also doing the above.

Paul Wilson 5 years, 4 months ago

Glad you agree. You're President would be right at the top of that list to investigate then huh?

classclown 5 years, 4 months ago


The reality is that most other salaried state agency employees work a 45 to 60 hour work week, and that is what is expected. I would expect elected officials to work this much as well. So, if he works a 45 to 60 hour work week and then works an additional 10 or 20 for another state, when does he sleep? Sleep deprived officials can't do an optimal job can they?

December 5, 2012 at 7:06 a.m


A week consists of 168 hours. Assuming that a person needs a full 8 hours of sleep every night, then sleep would account for a total of 56 hours per week which leaves them with 112 hours. Now if a person worked 60 per week at one job and an additional 20 per week at another, then that would be 80 hours which still leaves a balance of 32 hours that are not devoted to either employment or sleep.

It is very possible for someone to be able to work that many hours and not be sleep deprived.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

There is a serious mistake in this article. Kobach doen NOT work on immigration issues. He advocates anit-immigration and voter discrimination and obstruction issues against those who would not vote for the Republican facist party in the United States.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

And it is about damned time something was done, but given bleeding and flyover Kansas" proclivity to elect these republican wonks, I doubt if this will flay very far.

Joe Hyde 5 years, 4 months ago

More to the point would be to introduce a bill that prohibits Kansas lawmakers, elected state officials and all professional state employees regardless of position from engaging in any form of work, whether on official or personal time, whose purpose is to benefit the government activities of a state other than Kansas; to include in this prohibition civil and criminal penalties for receiving financial or material compensation from the government of another state.

We elect state politicians and hire state employees to work for us. We pay these fellow Kansans to work for Kansas, not for other states. The other 49 states have populations of citizens from which can be elected resident politicians and civil works professionals who will tend to their own state's interests.

FlintHawk 5 years, 4 months ago

And while we're at it, can we please have legislation that prohibits out-of-state campaign contributions for both candidates and issues? I'm sick of Kansas' policy agenda being dictated, funded and controlled by outsiders. It feels as if we've become a puppet state.

Centerville 5 years, 4 months ago

The real scandal is how Kansas House and Senate members figure their incomes, upon which their pensions will be based. Did you know that they only work a few months, but that their pensions are figured as if they work at the same rate year-round? Do you think Hensley's secretary gets to do that?

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 4 months ago

That Kooky Kris Kochbotch is good for a kazillion laugh riots.

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