Kansas legislative leader retains his pay, influence despite felony charges

photo by: Associated Press

Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, majority leader of the Kansas Senate, is pictured Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

TOPEKA — One of the Kansas Legislature’s most powerful lawmakers is eligible to be paid nearly $500 every two weeks he remains in leadership while he fights charges of driving under the influence and trying to elude law enforcement.

The Kansas City Star reports that the payments can continue even though Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop turned over the bulk of his duties before he was charged Friday in the March 16 incident in Topeka. But he has given no indication he plans to resign or give up his prestigious leadership position, meaning he continues to hold powers that can’t be delegated and remains influential.

Senate President Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican and business partner of Suellentrop, has made clear he doesn’t plan to pressure the senator to step down.

As majority leader, Suellentrop receives an allowance of $487.14 every two weeks during his term of office. The sum is in addition to up to about $200 a day in pay and allowances lawmakers receive during session.

Suellentrop’s chief of staff, Eric Rucker, didn’t respond to questions on Tuesday, including whether the senator was still accepting compensation paid to the majority leader. Suellentrop himself was absent from the Senate on Monday.

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