Olathe & Southwest Joco

Kansas Rep. Arlen Siegfreid resigns

After 11 years, state Rep. Arlen Siegfreid of Olathe has left the Kansas Legislature.

Siegfried resigned his District 121 post in the Kansas House after Gov. Sam Brownback appointed him as a hearing officer for the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals. He has already been confirmed by the Senate.

Precinct committee members will meet at 7 p.m. July 22 at Olathe City Hall to select a candidate to replace Siegfreid in Topeka.

Siegfreid leaves the Statehouse feeling somewhat melancholy.

“It was a tough decision. I liked the people I worked with in the Legislature very much,” Siegfreid said.

As a hearing officer for the Court of Tax Appeals, Siegfreid will preside over cases in the small claims division, generally involving disputes over appraisals for homes and smaller businesses.

He also will serve as a pro tem judge, meaning that he can fill in for judges on the court when needed.

The new job will pay Siegfreid $118,000 a year. The salary is set by statute and is the same as a district court judge.

Siegfreid, 66, was first elected to the Kansas Legislature in 2002. He had the longest tenure of any Johnson County lawmaker except for House Speaker Ray Merrick, who was appointed in 2000. Siegfreid unsuccessfully ran against Merrick for House speaker.

In the past year, Siegfreid has been recovering from congestive heart failure. He was treated with a pacemaker.

This past session, Siegfreid chaired the Federal and State Affairs Committee where he piloted several gun bills through the Legislature, including one that expanded the current concealed-carry law to allow guns in public buildings.

Siegfreid said he was disappointed that he didn’t succeed in getting the Legislature to require insurers to add treatment for autistic children to basic health coverage.

The House passed the bill during the legislative session in 2012 but was derailed in the Senate.

Siegfreid represented House District 121, which covered parts of Olathe and Lenexa.

The district is bounded by Kansas 7 on the east and North Moonlight Road on the west. It extends north of Kansas 10 to West 79th Street and south to Interstate 35.