A group of about 30 young adults delivered a loud election-year warning to lawmakers as they returned Monday for the start of the legislative session.

They gathered outside the Senate chambers flashing signs that demand "climate action now," "we deserve a future" and "what is your plan," shouting and chanting their desire for a Green New Deal and asking in song, "Which side are you on?"

Their message: Do something about the "greatest crisis of our time" or risk defeat at the polls.

“We’re not going away," said Michael Wolfe, policy lead for the Sunrise Movement of Kansas City. "We’re going to show up with more people until we get a Green New Deal.”

The welcoming preempted the ceremonial banging of gavels in the Senate and House that launch lawmakers into their yearly whirlwind of policy debates and political showdowns.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, praised a bipartisan effort led by Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Assaria, and Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-Kansas City, Kan., to encourage civility in political discourse.

"It's not just the debate," Ryckman said. "It's the way we conduct ourselves outside of the building, it's what we put on social media, it's the way we respond to the press. I think a lot of the things that have happened in D.C. have trickled down to Kansas."

Rep. Brandon Whipple, a Democrat from Wichita, said farewell to the body where he served since winning election in 2012. Whipple is relinquishing his seat in the Legislature to take over as mayor of Wichita.

Whipple thanked his colleagues for giving him opinions even when he didn't appreciate them or know he needed them.

"The time you invested in me really made it so I can be in a greater position to go down and help lead the largest city in Kansas," Whipple said.

Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, led the chamber through formalities necessary to bring to life the 40-member Senate. Wagle let it be known she is no fan of the Medicaid expansion plan developed by Gov. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Johnson County Republican who is resigning, will be replaced by Republican Mike Thompson, a retired TV meteorologist selected to complete the remainder of Pilcher-Cook's term in the Senate. Thompson, of Shawnee, is expected to bring a conservative perspective to the chamber that mirrors that of Pilcher-Cook.

"It's exciting. It's an awesome responsibility," Thompson said. "I think there's a lot of very important things coming before the Senate this session."

In the entryway outside the House and Senate, members of Moms Demand Action, the Poor People's Campaign and other groups lined up to greet lawmakers as they filed inside.

Marsha Cox, a retired teacher from Topeka who wore a red Moms Demand Action T-shirt, said she was happy to hear news last week of a breakthrough in negotiations on Medicaid expansion. She also wants lawmakers to give attention to safer gun laws, the state prison system and public schools.

“We appreciate them, and we appreciate them working for us," Cox said. "Everybody works better when they’re appreciated.”

The activists with the Sunrise Movement ranged in age from high schoolers to individuals in their early 20s. They spoke about the erosion of the Ogallala Aquifer, pesticide and nitrogen pollution, low-paying jobs, predatory lenders, a world on fire, and student and medical debt.

“Right now, this climate crisis is bearing down on us — from fires to air pollution from factories, to water pollution, from the lead that’s allowed to contaminate neighborhoods like mine," said Khiana Harris, a librarian from Johnson County. "All of it threatens the places we call home, and all of it threatens our freedom.”