By Dave Roberts
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
5:19 PM CDT, August 8, 2012
Having a Republican majority in the Kansas State House and the State Senate is nothing new, but this year something might change about that majority.
"This is taking a turn in a new direction that doesn't happen very often," explains political science professor Dr. Ed Flentje of Wichita State University. "The State Senate as well as the House will be much more closely aligned with Governor Brownback as well as with a series of interest groups that are aligned with Brownback."
He says the direction the Statehouse is headed is away from the center towards the far right. Nine moderate Republican State Senators lost the primary vote to more conservative challengers. Dr. Flentje says this could make it easier for the Governor to push through more of his agenda.
In previous years, some legislation he tried to push through passed the House, but stalled in the Senate because moderate Senators voted with Democrats. Now it appears the moderates will be replaced by conservatives and vote with the other Republicans on things Brownback wants passed.
Political experts say those things include approval of judicial candidates to appellate courts, changes to the state workers' pension plan to look more like a 401k, changes to public school funding and reviews for teachers, changes to the state's income and corporate tax policy and changes to the state abortion laws.
But the only way this can happen is if the primary winners win in the general elections.
"There are eight incumbent Democrats. So, the Democrats have a shot at all this in November."
Democratic House Minority Leader Paul Davis and Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said Wednesday the general election gives voters one more chance to decide how far Gov. Sam Brownback can advance his conservative agenda.
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