Legislative process is being subverted in Kansas

From Dave Trabert

A very sad but not uncommon process is playing out right now in the Kansas Legislature that is designed to avoid transparency and prevent citizens from knowing exactly where their elected representatives stand on important issues.

Kansans expect that all 125 members of the House of Representatives and all 40 state senators will participate in a robust debate in arriving at each chamber’s respective tax plan, but efforts are underway to subvert the full legislative process and put control in the hands of just 6 people and those who appoint them. Continue reading

Other views…

Kansas shows us what could happen if Republicans win in 2016

By Catherine Rampell
The Washington Post

No more pencils, no more books. No more teachers’ dirty looks.

Usually this is an anthem of celebration, of respite from the angst-inducing strictures of K-12 schooling. But this year, across Kansas, the jingle is coming a little sooner than expected, and with mournful undertones.

At least eight Kansas school districts recently announced that they’re starting summer break early this year, and not because kids have already learned so much that they deserve a few extra days off. It’s because these schools ran out of money, thanks to state leaders’ decision to ax education spending midyear to plug an ever-widening hole in their budget. Continue reading

Who does your congressman listen to: Koch brothers, Cantor or you?

Do something you idiots!

It’s the third day of the government shutdown and stock prices are plunging, down nearly 180 points at lunchtime.

Now, I’m not a smart politician like those folks in Washington, all who say they are listening to their constituents and doing what they can to put the government back to work while pointing fingers at, well, at anyone who happens to be near. I’m not part of the rich and powerful who say they know what’s best for me and other Americans, especially those poor furloughed government employees who now have to try and figure out how to put food on the table for their kids and pay the monthly bills while the majority of our elected officials continue to draw their monthly paycheck.

Even Congressman Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., a conservative who is about as right-winged as a person can get politically, obviously is totally out of touch with what’s going on because of the shutdown. In a television news interview, Huelskamp told the reporter that the sun has come up, people are going about their business, the stock market hadn’t closed, and everything is just fine. Continue reading

Brownback has signed 18 bills

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed 11 bills into law Tuesday, bringing the total number of bills signed by the governor during the 2013 Legislative Session to 18.

  • HB 2007 establishes the Insurance Holding Company Act and amends the Insurance Code to modify existing provisions governing insurance holding companies.
  • HB 2030 authorizes the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to issue up to ten wounded warrior deer permits each calendar year to disabled veterans who sustained injuries in combat and have a service-connected disability of not less than 30% through a random drawing if the number of eligible individuals exceeds ten. 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

Roberts, Moran, Yoder Town Hall meeting today at Olathe City Hall

U.S. Senators from Kansas Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran will join 3rd District Congressman Kevin Yoder, all Republicans, for a joint Town Hall Forum from 4 to 5 p.m. today, Feb. 19, in the Olathe City Hall Council chambers, 100 E. Santa Fe, Olathe.

The event is open to the public.


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