Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle just hijacked what looked like a promising and productive legislative session.


Her desire to enhance her U.S. Senate primary resume with Republican conservatives is putting her thirst for political power ahead of the needs of Kansans.


That’s a difficult thing to write. And we would hope that the Senate president is better than that. But her actions since the state House of Representatives failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to send a constitutional amendment about abortion to voters suggest otherwise.


Wagle promptly declared that a compromise Medicaid expansion bill — reached by her colleague Sen. Jim Denning and Gov. Laura Kelly — was effectively dead until the House reconsidered and passed the amendment.


This is no way to govern. Medicaid expansion and the abortion amendment are entirely different issues, and Wagle conflating the two suggests she’s more interested in boosting her profile ahead of the U.S. Senate primary than actually enacting worthwhile policy for Kansas.


“This vote just completely changed the course of the 2020 legislative session,” Wagle said. “I will work with the pro-life community and will persevere to ensure its passage.”


In other words, the session just became “her way” or the “highway” and a one-trick pony.


We aren’t alone in our disgust.


Denning, the Senate majority leader, said Wagle’s statements were “obstructive and not how we should be governing.”


House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita, said the Senate president’s unilateral attempt to thwart movement of Medicaid expansion and to sidetrack an assortment of other bills was “very childish.”


We take no position on the abortion amendment itself. The state Supreme Court decided last year that our Constitution protects the right of a woman to choose whether to have the procedure. Wagle and abortion rights opponents believe the constitution does not contain such a right and want voters to pass an amendment saying so.


Whatever side you fall on, if voters do get a say, the amendment should be on the ballot in the November election, not the August primary as advocates insist. That suggests this entire exercise is more about turning out conservatives than actually knowing what the whole of Kansas believes.


That distinction is likely why the amendment failed in the House. Wagle knows this. But rather than moving Medicaid expansion and retooling the amendment to potentially garner wider support, she’s digging in her heels.


We remain steadfast in our belief that Medicaid expansion is the right choice for Kansas. People in the state will gain life-saving insurance coverage under the bill. These are real Kansans. These are the people that Wagle hopes to represent as a senator in Washington, D.C.


Her preference for partisan showboating over putting Kansans’ needs first suggests that Wagle is an ideologue, rather than a solutions-oriented pragmatist.


Overly harsh? Perhaps. But holding 130,000 Kansans hostage is unacceptable and abhorrent.