Legislative Update by State Senator Caryn Tyson

Caryn Tyson


April 9, 2021


Protecting Elections

Every vote is important.  “Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process.” Hilary Clinton.  So why are so many Democrats in Kansas trying to block legislation to protect our elections? Even worse, the U.S. House passed legislation that will destroy the integrity of our state elections (H.R.1, For the People Act of 2021).  Hopefully, HR-1 dies in the U.S. Senate.  The Kansas legislature passed HCR 5015 rejecting H.R.1 and S.1 (the senate version of H.R.1).


Kansas didn’t have the problems that other states had in the November 2020 elections but there is room for improvement.  Elections are too important and we need 100% accuracy.  The legislature passed Conference Committee Report (CCR) 2183 and CCR 2332.


CCR 2183 will limit ballot harvesting, make it unlawful to alter postmarks on mailed ballots, and require signature verification on mailed ballots.  It would also make it a crime to act like or try to appear to be a county clerk or Secretary Of State (SOS).  In November 2020, there were advance ballot applications and websites that appeared to be official.  They were not and just confused voters.  The bill would also require the SOS to post registered voter data and stop county clerks from accepting money from 3rd parties for elections – an example would be the Zuckerberg money that some clerks applied for and received in Kansas.  The CCR passed the Senate 27 to 11.


The legislature also passed CCR 2332 that would require residential and mailing addresses to be maintained and strengthen requirements for advance ballot applications, including signature verification.  The CCR passed 27 to 11.


I was able to strengthen election legislation with amendments through the chairman in committee and on the senate floor.  Some Senators argued these CCRs and the HCR promote voter suppression and that they are not needed.  That is not even true.  They help protect the integrity of our elections.  To paraphrase a friend, “What voter integrity checks would they ever support?  When will they opine that banks don’t need safeguards since bank robbery is so rare?”


Hopefully, the Governor will not veto these important bills.


Women’s Sports

CCR 55, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, would stop anyone who is not a biological female from participating in sports designated for females, women, or girls.  The CCR passed the House and Senate.  I was one of 26 who voted yes in the Senate.  There were 11 no votes.  We’ll see what the Governor does with the bill.


Legislature Break

While the legislature is on break for the next few weeks, I will continue to update you on topics covered during session.  All of the legislation is posted online at www.kslegislature.org.


It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.


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