November 2022 Kansas Constitutional Amendment

Kansas! It’s election time. On November 8, 2022 you will head to the polls or have submitted your mail-in ballots (hopefully). There are a couple of State Constitutional Amendments on the ballot this year and we want you to know what you are being asked. So, we prepared a plain-language explainer to help.

  • Question 1: § 17 Legislative Oversight of Administrative Rules and Regulations

The Kansas state government is set up the same way the federal government is. There are three branches of government, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches. The legislative branch is made up of people who are elected to represent the citizens of the state of Kansas. The legislative branch makes the laws for the state. The executive branch is led by people who are elected by the citizens of the state of Kansas. The elected members of the executive branch then hire people to do the work needed to make the laws passed by the legislature work. As part of the way they make the laws work, the employees of the executive branch sometimes have to pass rules and regulations. Rules and regulations tell people who are affected by laws passed by the legislature what the laws mean, and how they apply. When the executive branch agencies making the rules and regulations write them or change them, they let people know what they want to do, and they give people time to make comments on what they are saying they want to do. After people have had a chance to say what they think about the rules and regulations, they go into effect. Once the rules and regulations go into effect, the executive branch agencies can enforce the rules the same way laws passed by the legislature are enforced.

The change being voted on would change the authority executive branch agencies have to make these rules and regulations. Instead of allowing the agencies to make rules and regulations the way they do now, the change would make it possible for the legislature to stop rules and regulations they do not agree with.

A YES vote would make it so rules and regulations passed by the agencies putting laws into effect could be taken back by the legislature.

A NO vote would allow state agencies to continue to use rules and regulations to do their work without the legislature being able to take them back.

  • Question 2: § 2 County and Township Officers

The people who live in all but one county in Kansas vote on the person they want to be sheriff. Since the people vote on their sheriffs, other elected officials in the counties, like county commissioners, cannot “fire” the sheriff. If the people in any county wanted to change it so their sheriff was hired by their local government, not elected, they could change their county laws. This change to the Kansas Constitution would say that counties cannot change their laws to make it so sheriffs are hired, not elected. Since sheriffs would only be elected, the people in the county would have to have a vote to remove them from office, or the attorney general would have to file a case to have the sheriff removed.

A YES vote on the amendment would keep the election of sheriffs that happens in almost all counties exactly as it is now. But if any of those counties wanted to change how the sheriff gets into office in the future, they could not. The sheriff would only ever be an elected office.

A NO vote on the amendment would not change the way sheriffs are elected. It would keep it so counties could change this if they wanted to in the future.