Bill would set term limits for Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission

? A proposal to set term limits on members of the panel that enforces the ethics rules that govern public officials was considered Monday.

House Bill 2095 would prohibit any member of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission from serving more than four years.

Rep. Scott Schwab, R-Olathe, and chair of the House Elections Committee, said the change was needed to “make sure that people don’t become entrenched.”

Conservative Republicans have long complained that the Ethics Commission, which enforces campaign finance, conflict of interest, financial disclosure and lobbying laws, comes down harder on conservatives in its rulings.

But Democrats on the Elections Committee said the more experience a commissioner can gain in interpreting ethics laws the better. “Experience and longevity is a good thing,” said Rep. John Alcala, D-Topeka.

Members of the nine-member commission are appointed to two-year terms. The appointments are made by the governor, attorney general, secretary of state, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court and legislative leaders. No more than five members can be from the same political party.

Of the current commission, seven have served for less than four years.

Another bill considered by the Elections Committee was House Bill 2112, which would allow a candidate for state or local office to transfer leftover campaign funds for a subsequent campaign. A Kansas Supreme Court ruling has prevented this transfer.