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Kansas lawmakers consider lack of lobbyist waiting period

December 24, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is one of the few states without a law prohibiting legislators from becoming lobbyists immediately after they leave office, an issue that was recently brought to attention when Rep. Lynn Jenkins began setting up a lobbying firm while still in Congress.

Thirty-eight states have some form of a “cooling off” period for lawmakers who wish to become lobbyists after serving in office, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Jenkins is setting up her new lobbying firm to work at both the state and federal level. Federal rules require Jenkins to wait a year before lobbying at the federal level, but there isn’t a Kansas law that prevents her from immediately registering as a lobbyist after leaving office.

Supporters of waiting period policies have said that they’re intended to stop lawmakers from being influenced by potential future employers while working in the Legislature.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley has tried to introduce legislation in the past to create a two-year waiting period for lawmakers wanting to become lobbyists. Hensley’s bill died in committee last year, but he said he wants to try again.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward, the current House minority leader, also said he will reintroduce legislation to implement a one-year wait.

Republican Sen. John Skubal said a waiting period policy isn’t on his radar.

“I’ve got a lot more on my plate to worry about than that,” Skubal said.

Democratic Rep. Jarrod Ousley said lawmakers becoming lobbyists isn’t an issue that comes up often, but he suggested that a waiting period could alleviate concerns.

“It eliminates any conflict of interest while you’re holding office,” Ousley said.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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