From the Wichita Eagle

The Wichita Eagle reported that in front of a business audience in Wichita, Senate President Susan Wagle called Gov. Sam Brownback a “rock star and personal hero of mine.” She also asked, “Should (the Kansas Supreme Court) be interpreting law?” and “appropriating money?”

Brownback warned that if the state’s Supreme Court justices ruled against the state in the school finance lawsuit brought by several of the state’s school districts, that would trigger a legislative debate on the way justices are selected and suggested the Legislature would work toward creating a constitutional amendment that would be placed in front of voters. Continue reading

Brownback wins round one of judicial reform

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, in signing legislation giving the state’s governors more power in the selection of Kansas Court of Appeals‘ judges did not move Kansas away from what he called a flawed system, but instead injected bias and politics into the appointment process.

As a result of lawsuits by several public school systems, the state has been told twice by the Kansas Court of Appeals that the Legislature has not fully funded public education as directed by the state’s funding formula. Brownback and legislators have cried foul, claiming the judges are telling the state how to spend money in violation of the state’s constitution.

The selection of judges had been done through a panel of attorneys and lay people who picked three candidates and then sent the names of those nominees to the governor who then chose one to sit on the Court of Appeals. Continue reading

An editorial from the Wichita Eagle

School funding problem isn’t the courts

Instead of following the Kansas Senate’s lead and altering the state’s constitutional requirement to finance public education suitably, House lawmakers should respect why that amendment was approved to start with: The public wanted a higher standard for funding education than whatever the legislative majority happens to decide.

Since its founding, our state has emphasized that education is a public right. That view was reinforced in 1966 when the public approved a constitutional amendment declaring that the Legislature “shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.”

The point of the amendment is that voters didn’t want education funding left up to the whim of the Legislature. They wanted a suitable level of funding to be a constitutionally protected right. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: