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KS House Votes to Bar Late-Night Work

Rep. John Rubin presents his proposal before the Kansas House. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Members of the Kansas House have voted to amend their rules so they won’t work into the early hours of the morning passing legislation.

The proposal from state Representative John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican, says the chamber can’t work past midnight. That often happens in the final days of the session. Rubin says staying up late to craft bills can lead to bad policy.
 
“We are fashioning public policy that affects people's lives, and we ought not be doing that when we can’t keep our eyes open at three in the morning when we’re taking those votes. That’s the key,” says Rubin.
 
Some opponents say late nights can be needed to wrap up business during the 90-day session. The rule can be suspended with a majority vote of the chamber.

The Kansas House also voted to limit the number of bills that can be bundled together. They rejected a proposal to keep records showing how members vote on most items. As it currently stands, many procedural votes on bills are not recorded.

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(VERSION TWO)

Members of the Kansas House have voted to amend their rules so they won’t work into the early hours of the morning passing legislation.

The rules says they can’t work past midnight, which often happens at the end of the session. Several lawmakers said the late nights can lead to bad decisions.

Republican Representative Barbara Bollier (BOWL-yay), a retired physician, says studies show lack of sleep has effects.

“You are impaired, to the equivalent of being drunk. We do not allow alcohol on this floor for a reason. Because our decision making is supposed to be effective,” says Bollier.

Another Republican, John Barker, says late nights can be needed to get things done during their allotted time in Topeka.

“We don’t quit at midnight and we come in early. But we get the people’s work done because they put a time limit on us. They say 90 days,” says Barker.

The chamber can suspend the rules with a majority vote.

The House also voted to limit the number of bills that can be bundled together.

But they rejected a plan to keep records showing how members vote on most items. As it currently stands, many procedural votes on bills are not recorded.
 

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