By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog
TOPEKA — Kansas’ legislative bills have never been known for their literary prowess; lawmaker’s writings are known more for their government legal-ese than their use of artful language. But one piece of legislation is flipping all that on its head by tossing in a bit of irony to keep things interesting.
Undoubtedly, HB 2287 means well. The bill would establish the Office of the Inspector General, an elected position charged with hunting-down waste, fraud and corruption in Kansas government. But in a twist of Shakespearian proportions, the office itself is wastefully redundant, as it would take up responsibilities already managed by other Kansas government agencies.
From pursuing criminals to conducting performance audits, HB 2287 is a veritable sampler platter of Kansas’ investigative agencies, cherry-picking responsibilities already managed by the Legislative Division of Post Audit, the State Attorney General’s office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, among others. Rep. Pete DeGraaf, chair of the House Committee on General Government Budget, said he was struck by its apparent redundancy the moment he first laid eyes on the legislation.
“That was my first blush,” DeGraaf said.
DeGraaf, R-Mulvane, added that he was still open to a discussion on the matter, but any opportunity for that was squelched Tuesday after a hearing for HB 2287 was canceled. The issue, he said, was the committee’s inability to find anyone to testify for or against the bill — DeGraaf said even its chief supporter, Britt Nichols of the Kansas Department of Labor, didn’t show up to bolster the legislation.
Nichols did not respond to calls for comment from Kansas Watchdog.
“You’d think the maker of the bill would be interested enough,” DeGraaf said.
But with the halfway point of this year’s legislative session already in the rearview mirror, he added that it’s unlikely the committee will revisit the bill.