The legislative session in Kansas begins Monday, January 11, 2016. The Kansas Legislature has a website that can be helpful in accessing information about legislation, legislators, committees, and more. This brief tutorial will highlight how to access that information.
The easiest way to access information is this menu on the left side of the page. The arrows on each tab will drop down search boxes to find a specific bill, legislator, or deadline.
At the top of the home page you will find this menu. You can click directly on each tab or hover your cursor over them for a drop down menu.
For example, the “Legislators” tab takes you to this page. You can browse through the list by letter (oval), or you can search for a specific legislator by name (rectangle). The House list is at the top of the page as shown; the Senate list is below.
When you click on the name of a legislator, the site takes you to a page with their specific information. For example, look at Senator Hensley’s page below. At the top you will find his district information and voting record. Below that, there is information about his committee participation and schedule. To the right hand side of the page there is information to contact him both at the capitol and at home. Below the committee information (not picture here) there is information about bills he has sponsored or co-sponsored.
Under the “Committees” tab, you will find links to specific committees. Each committee page has the information you see below on the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee page. At the top you find information about time and location of the committee meetings as well as an action index. Below that is a list of bills assigned to and sponsored by the committee. On the right hand side of the page is a list of committee leaders and members; each name is also a link to that legislator’s personal page. Below the committee list is a list of staff assigned to the committee. The Committee Assistant coordinates testimony and scheduling and is the primary liaison with the public.
Clicking on any bill number or title will take you to a page of specific information about the bill itself. At the top is the bill number (SB 122 means “Senate Bill 122”, therefore this bill originated in the Senate). Under “Bill Versions” there are clickable PDF files of any documents related to the bill–original text, edited text, financial impact statements, and summaries. Under “Bill History” you will find a step by step list of the process of the bill to date as well as the next step in the process. In the example below, the bill was referred to the Committee on Public Health and Welfare and was assigned a hearing date of February 10, but it did not progress past that point.
These are the basics on how to navigate the Kansas Legislature website. Most often constituents use it to find information on specific legislation and how to contact legislators, but there is a lot of other information as well. Take some time to explore the website. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or contact Kansas NOW directly for assistance.