Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): House derails

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

House derails

Obviously, yesterday was a pretty explosive day in the #ksleg.

Rep. John Rubin, Shawnee, was gagged for attempting to bring a bill to the floor that House Speaker Ray Merrick didn't want to discuss. Rubin was removed as chairman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee. Merrick also removed Rep. John Barker, Abilene, from the chair of the House Rules Committee. 

These dramatic matters occurred on the House floor. Rubin wanted to bring a gambling bill previously scheduled above the linen to the floor. Merrick had scrapped bringing the bill to the floor earlier. (He was kind of making up rules on the fly when he did so.) 

Rubin then announced his resignation, however, he was walking that back almost as soon as the words left his mouth. So stay tuned.

Rubin had already decided he wouldn't seek re-election. True story, Rubin is one of my very favorites, simply because he is dedicated to governmental transparency. He led efforts to open probable cause affadavits in Kansas--the only state that locks those away from public view. A former judge, Rubin could always be counted upon to fight to open records. He will be missed. Eric Jenkins, a Shawnee City Council member has announced he will seek the seat.

So, Rubin and Barker are out of chairmanships, due to heated moments in the House. I think Merrick has gone too far. Just because you have it within your authority to do something, that doesn't mean you should. And taking drastic steps in the heat of an intense debate is never advisable. 

Maybe House Republicans should consider replacing Merrick next year with someone who can keep his cool and follow the rules he set. (And it would be just awesome, since the House Speaker has so much power, if constituents could be let in on the secret of which Speaker candidate our representatives voted for. Somehow Rep. Peck received a few votes last time.)

Ramon Gonzalez, Perry, will replace Rubin as Corrections chair, and Jan Pauls, Hutchinson, will replace Barker. 

I hope Rubin and Merrick (and Barker and Merrick) make amends and hug it out. 


  1. Hey, Gidget, any idea what's up with this?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. No clue, I will do some sleuthing. Traditionally, Speaker of the House serves only 2 years, and Merrick has bounced around. Maybe Merrick has decided to hang up his gavel, leave elected office and will find a nice resting place as a well paid JCCC employee. (Or lobbyist, I suppose.) There are 3 other candidates already filed for that race, which leads me to believe Merrick will not run again.