- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Senate’s top Republican says she won’t reinstate the former chairwoman of the chamber’s health committee.

President Susan Wagle of Wichita said Wednesday that she’s comfortable with her decision to remove GOP Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook of Shawnee as leader of the Public Health and Welfare Committee.

Seventeen of the Senate’s 32 Republicans and 26 of the House’s 97 GOP members signed letters Tuesday urging Wagle to reinstate Pilcher-Cook.

Wagle removed Pilcher-Cook last week after Pilcher-Cook tried to force a Senate debate on expanding the state’s Medicaid coverage for needy and disabled residents in line with the federal health care overhaul.

Pilcher-Cook wanted to kill the idea. Wagle said the move flouted Senate rules.

Asked about the campaign on her behalf, Pilcher-Cook said, “I’m hoping we just need time.”

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