Kansas Sen. Greg Smith wants employment protection for state lawmakers



Smith is thinking about jobs. His job.
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  • Smith is thinking about jobs. His job.
In an effort to keep Kansas lawmakers from clogging up the unemployment rolls, Kansas Sen. Greg Smith (R-Overland Park) introduced Senate Bill 119 Monday. The bill would require an employer to keep a legislator's job open while the Kansas Legislature was in session. Here's Smith's explanation of the proposed legislation:

This bill does one thing - it places a hold on the person's position while they are serving in Topeka. After the session is over they must report within 72 hours to their employer for reassignment.

Smith contends on his website that this bill is needed in order to protect and broaden the pool of "citizen legislators." He believes that a whole crop of potential Kansas lawmakers are prevented from running because they don't have the flexibility to leave their job for the three-month legislative session. As he explains, serving in the Kansas Legislature is akin to serving in the National Guard.

It is the same principle and, in fact, is based on the language of the law, that protects our military reservists and/or national guard members from losing their job when they go on active duty for training or other reasons.

If Smith's bill is successful, citizen legislators won't have to join the ranks of the 80,401 citizens who were unemployed in Kansas in December 2012.

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