A shakeup took place in the Kansas Statehouse today (TUE). Republican state Representative John Rubin, from Shawnee, was removed as chairman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee after challenging Speaker Ray Merrick's handling of a bill. A group appointed to referee rules disputes determined that the Speaker had the authority to send a bill dealing with open records back to committee, to prevent a vote on expansion of casino gambling. After learning of his removal, a visibly angry Rubin stormed out of the chamber. Reporters caught up to him as he headed down the stairs to his office.
Some lawmakers say Rubin's ouster and the public way it was handled is another indication of increasing tension at the Kansas Capitol over the state's continuing budget problems and approaching elections. Yesterday (MON), an angry discussion among Senate Republicans prompted leaders to close a caucus meeting to the media.