TOPEKA, (KSNT)- Despite a historic vote to uphold abortion rights in Kansas, the debate over the issue will continue in 2023.
Newly elected Kansas House Speaker Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, said that members could see abortion bills introduced. Political Analyst Bob Beatty agreed that it’s likely to occur.
Beatty said it will be up to Republican leaders to decide whether it moves forward.
“The big question will be how much does Republican leadership want to put it up for an actual vote of the entire House or the entire Senate,” Beatty said Tuesday.
Kansas lawmakers will return on January 9 to debate several hot-button issues, but Republicans and Democrats may clash when it comes to abortion.
In an interview after his victory on Monday, Hawkins spoke about whether abortion would be addressed next year.
“To say that we won’t see another abortion bill is wrong… everybody’s free to bring what they want when it comes to bills. So, we’ll see those, ” Hawkins said.
Newly elected House Minority Leader Vic Miller, D-Topeka, spoke with Kansas Capitol Bureau after winning his seat Monday.
In response to addressing abortion bills that may come up, Miller said Hawkins’ comments are “not in touch” with what Kansans voted on in the August Primary.
“The message I got was that the vast majority of Kansans don’t want us monkeying with our current abortion laws,” Miller said.
Abortion could be a divisive issue for lawmakers next session. However, the majority of Kansans made it clear where they stand in August.
Almost 60% voted to uphold abortion rights in the state.
Beatty said there’s the possibility of a disconnect between the opinion of Republican leadership and the state as a whole.
According to Beatty, this also applies to issues, like medical marijuana.
Lawmakers are working on a bill ahead of next year’s session to legalize medical marijuana. An Emerson College Polling/ The Hill survey shows that 61% of Kansas voters would support the legislation. However, Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson has said that it’s not a “legislative priority.”
Beatty said leadership in the Legislature appears to lean more conservative, even though polls show that voters appear to be leaning more purple than red.
“Does Republican leadership just put their head down and just trot down the conservative path… or how much are they open to looking at some issues given the data that we have from the 2022 election,” he said.