TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)— Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop made his first appearance back at the capitol on Wednesday, after being released from Shawnee County Jail Tuesday morning.
Suellentrop released a statement, responding to several charges made during his arrest.
“Today, out of respect for Senate leadership, my Republican colleagues, and the entire Kansas Senate, I have decided to transfer the bulk of the formal duties of my office to the Assistant Majority Leader. I will do so until matters that I am currently dealing with are resolved.”Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop
Suellentrop was arrested and charged Tuesday with driving under the influence, trying to flee law enforcement, speeding and driving on the wrong side of the highway. The district court judge released Suellentrop, citing a lack of evidence.
Other lawmakers responded to the senator’s return to the statehouse. The governor addressed the situation Wednesday morning, after touring a local child care facility.
“If you look at the timeframe, I don’t think it was enough time to get all of that paperwork done,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I expect that it will be done, and it will come up again.”
Fellow Republican lawmaker Senator Dennis Pyle, R-Hiawatha, also commented on Suellentrop’s return.
“I think the question is, there were actions taken, and wrong was done,” Sen. Pyle said. “It puts all of us in a rough spot. So will the senator step up and take responsibility for his actions?”
In an email, Wednesday, the Kansas Highway Patrol stated they are compiling more information on the case.
A blood sample was obtained from the driver and that evidence has been provided to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science Center for analysis. Once all the evidence has been analyzed and reports are completed, we will submit the case to the Shawnee County DA’s office for review and a decision on the final charges, if any.Kansas Highway Patrol
In response to the judge releasing Suellentrop from custody, a Kansas Highway Patrol official confirmed the case was not dismissed. Once the investigation is complete, the agency said it will submit all reports, video and other evidence to the Shawnee County DA’s office for a charging decision.
Moving forward, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Senator Larry Alley, R-Winfield, will be taking on the majority of Senator Suellentrop’s responsibilities.