Mobile Navigation
Legislative Branch »

Legislative Branch » The Kansas Legislature

The Kansas Legislature is composed of two bodies like the United States Congress: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Kansas Legislature is referred to as a bicameral body because it is made up of two chambers. The Latin roots of the word bicameral, “bi” and “cameral,” mean two houses or rooms. The Legislature has the responsibility to create, amend or repeal state laws; appropriate money to be spent by state government; review rules and regulations of state agencies and departments; propose amendments to the Kansas Constitution; and approve or disapprove proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Members of the Kansas Senate and House of Representatives are elected by the voters of Kansas. Each state representative and state senator represents a specific area, or district, of the state. A legislator or candidate for nomination or election to the Legislature must be a qualified elector (U.S. citizen, Kansas resident and 18 years of age) and reside in his or her district.

The Kansas Constitution requires that House and Senate districts be redrawn every 10 years (in the year ending in 2) to equalize district population. Districts are based upon the most recent federal census, adjusted to exclude nonresident students and military and to include resident students and military at the place of their permanent residence. By statute, the census adjustment is conducted by the secretary of state, which is part of the executive branch of government. The Kansas Constitution requires that the Kansas Supreme Court determine the validity of legislative redistricting laws before they become effective.

Kansas Senate

The Kansas Senate is the upper chamber of the Kansas Legislature. It is composed of 40 senators each representing one district with a population of approximately 70,986 (adjusted every ten years based on the most recent federal census). Members of the Senate are elected to a four-year term. There is no limit to the number of terms that a senator may serve.

Like other upper chambers of state and territorial legislatures and the U.S. Senate, the Kansas Senate has special functions such as confirming or rejecting gubernatorial appointments to executive departments, the state cabinet, commissions and boards and Kansas Court of Appeals.

Kansas House of Representatives

The Kansas House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the Kansas Legislature. It is composed of 125 state representatives from districts with roughly equal populations of 22,716 (adjusted every ten years based on the most recent federal census). Representatives are elected to a two-year term, and there is no limit to the number of terms that a state representative may serve.

Kansas House of Representatives image
Kansas House of Representatives chamber
Photo courtsey of the Kansas Historical Society