Ron Ryckman Sr. being sworn in to serve in the kansas senate

Ron Ryckman Sr., the father of current Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., was selected to fill the Senate seat left open by the death of Senator Bud Estes due to a prolonged illness in February.

First Branch News | Legislative Headlines, Week of March 8, 2021

By Gene Rose | March 12, 2021 | State Legislatures News

First Branch News is NCSL’s weekly roundup of legislative headlines from news sources across the country and throughout the territories.

In this installment, states challenge the U.S. Census Bureau over the delayed release of data, Utah ends its legislative session, New York legislative leaders call on the governor to resign and the Kansas House speaker’s father joins the state Senate.

Legislative Operations

The Utah Legislature ended its 45-day session, which started with a closed Capitol. Utah Representative Jon Hawkins (R), who is fighting COVID-19, made an emotional appearance from his hospital room via video chat. The Maine Legislature is moving its session location from the Capitol to the Augusta Civic Center to allow for social distancing. The North Dakota Legislative Assembly dropped a mask mandate for legislators in the chambers. Pay raises are being considered by legislators in Oregon and New Mexico.

Many legislatures have adjusted their rules for public participation during the current year. Vermont’s leaders laid out their agenda for 2021. The New York Legislature approved a measure to roll back the governor’s emergency powers. Tennessee’s leaders filed a bill to prevent legislators from conducting business with the state. The South Dakota Legislature is producing its 2022 legislative calendar.

Authority of Legislatures

Alabama is suing the U.S. Census Bureau over the delay of data needed to redraw districts, and the Oregon’s legislative leaders filed a petition with the state Supreme Court over the issue. Leaders in Kentucky continued their efforts to challenge the governor’s authority. The New York Senate majority leader and Assembly speaker have asked the governor to consider resignation. Ohio’s governor says he will veto a bill aimed at reducing his emergency powers. A Missouri proposal would prevent the judiciary from changing ballot language. Several bills in the Massachusetts General Court would limit the governor’s emergency powers.

Legislators and Staff in the News

The Kansas Legislature will feature a father-son duo, as Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman’s father, Ron Ryckman Sr. (R), was selected to fill a seat opened by the recent death of Senator Bud Estes (R). Staff changes continue at the Rhode Island General Assembly. Craig Hickman (D) won a special election in Massachusetts to fill a seat left vacant when Shenna Bellows (D) was elected secretary of state. New Jersey Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R) was named to fill a Senate seat opened by the death of Senator Gerald Cardinale (R) in February.

This Week From NCSL’s State Legislative News

Articles from news sources curated in First Branch News are provided for information purposes only and do not reflect NCSL views.

Gene Rose is NCSL’s communications director.

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