The Kansas Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Kansas. It is a bicameral assembly, composed of the lower Kansas House of Representatives, composed of 125 Representatives, and the upper Kansas Senate, with 40 Senators. Republicans hold a long-standing supermajority in both houses.
Bleeding Kansas 
The Kansas Territory was created out of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. In several of the provisions of the act, the law allowed the settlers of the newly-created territory to determine, by vote, whether Kansas, once statehood was achieved, would be entered as either a free or a slave state. The act created a rush of both abolitionist Northern and pro-slavery Southern immigrants to the territory, hoping that strength through numbers would place Kansas in their camp. Animosities between the newly-arrived sides quickly turned into open violence and guerrilla warfare, giving name to this period known as Bleeding Kansas.
The Bogus Legislature 
During Kansas' first elections for a territorial government on March 30, 1855, nearly 5,000 Missouri men led by United States Senator David Rice Atchison and a group of prominent pro-slavery Missourians, crossed the territorial border to overwhelm the polling places and elect pro-slavery candidates. The Missourians elected a vast majority of the 39 members of the Territorial Legislature. Free-Staters immediately cried foul, naming the new Kansas Territorial Legislature the "Bogus Legislature." Upon convening in Pawnee and shortly later at the Shawnee Methodist Mission, the Legislature began crafting over a thousand pages of laws aimed at making Kansas a slave state.
The Four Constitutions and the Battle for Legitimacy 
In response to the illegitimacy of the Bogus Legislature, Free-Staters convened their own unauthorized shadow legislature and territorial government in Topeka, crafting their own Topeka Constitution in late 1855. While the document was debated and submitted to a vote to the territory, it was never accepted by the federal government as it considered the Free-State body illegitimate and in rebellion. The pro-slavery Legislature's response to the Free-Staters and growing violence was the writing of the Lecompton Constitution in 1857. Due to an electoral boycott by abolitionist groups and the questions regarding the validity of the Legislature itself, it never officially became law.
While the Lecompton Constitution was debated, new elections for the Territorial Legislature in 1857 gave the Free-Staters a majority government, caused in part to a boycott by pro-slavery groups. With this new mandate, the Legislature convened to write the Leavenworth Constitution, a radically progressive document for the Victorian era in its wording of rights for women and African-Americans. The constitution was adopted in 1858, though it too suffered the same fate as previous documents when the U.S. Congress refused to ratify it.
Following the Leavenworth Constitution's defeat, the Legislature again crafted a new document the following year, dubbed the Wyandotte Constitution. A compromise of sorts, it outlawed slavery in the territory, while removing progressive sections on Native Americans, women and blacks. The Legislature successfully passed the document, and submitted it to public referendum. It was passed by the Kansas electorate on October 4, 1859.
Statehood and the American Civil War 
Following long debates in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, on January 29, 1861, President James Buchanan authorized Kansas to become the 34th state of United States. It had entered into the Union as a free state. Only six days later, the Confederate States of America formed between seven Southern states that had seceded from the United States in the previous two months.
The Kansas Legislature is composed of 165 part-time legislators, meeting normally once a year. Meetings begin in January and usually will last for a period of 90 days. The Governor of Kansas retains the power to call a special legislative session if needed.
See also 
- Kansas State Capitol
- Kansas House of Representatives
- Kansas Senate
- American Legislative Exchange Council members
Kansas Legislative Procedure Manual