Kansas: Bill to give Kobach prosecutorial power receives early House approval in close vote | Topeka Capital-Journal
Secretary of State Kris Kobach would have new powers to prosecute election crimes under legislation given initial approval Wednesday in a razor-thin House vote. The House gave an early OK to Senate Bill 34 in a 63-57 vote. If the House now approves the bill in a final vote it will go to Gov. Sam Brownback. But the outcome of the final vote — which requires 63 votes — seems far from certain. Multiple Democrats voted in favor of the bill in a failed effort to use a procedural maneuver to later kill the bill. At least two Republicans who would likely vote in favor of the bill were absent. Kobach has sought the power to prosecute for some time. He fought his re-election campaign against Democrat Jean Schodorf portraying himself as tough on voter fraud. The bill also would upgrade penalties for several voting offenses to felonies from misdemeanors.