Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kansas' Part-time Legislature

Due to our agricultural heritage, Kansas has a part-time Legislature; this means that our Representatives and Senators meet daily from January through May to make or amend laws. Seventeen other states have part-time Legislatures and our closest neighbors, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado, have two-thirds-time legislatures. Senators and Representatives receive $88 per day they are in session plus a $123 subsistence pay per day they are in Session. This equates to around $18,990 for a 90 day session, thus most legislators hold other jobs aside from being a Senator or Representative. The dates for Session are convenient for those legislators who run farms, especially since there is a break in session in early April to get spring crops going. 12.7% of Kansas legislators are retired from other occupations.

But just because the Legislature has left Topeka and gone home for the remainder of the year, does not mean that they have stopped working for their constituents. The period between Sessions is known as “interim.” During the interim, legislators prepare arguments, work on boards or commissions, hold interim committee meetings called for by the previous Session to discuss potential bills or legislation, and meet with their constituents. Interim is also the time that legislative state agencies perform audits and studies that were either called for by legislation in the previous Session or are in preparation for the next Session. So while the Capitol building is quiet, legislative business is still buzzing.

Learn more about the make-up of our Legislature at (click on Kansas from the map):

Once the 2011 interim committee schedule has been decided, it will be posted under the interim link on

After each interim committee meets, it develops a report to the following Session. See 2010’s reports:

See an index of all interim committee reports since 1934:

See what audits are being performed this interim and find older audits from the Division of Post Audit:

Interim is a great time to speak to your legislators with any concerns. Your legislator does not have staff during the interim so you will need to contact them at home. Their home numbers are published and they expect calls from constituents. You can find their numbers by going to and clicking on either “House” or “Senate” from the tabs along the top.

For a complete directory of the Legislature go to (available in PDF or Excel):

If you do not know the name or contact number for your legislator go to and input your county and your address. Or you can call the Legislative Hotline, 1-800-432-3924, to learn how to contact your legislator or to leave a message for your legislator.

Article contact: Kim Harp, Legislative Reference Librarian

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