You've heard us beat this drum before: this next election is the most important election. EVER. This time it might be more true than usual. In 2014, when Kansas re-elected Sam Brownback, we despaired that this meant many more years of policies that have drive the state into the ground. But now, just two years later, we have been presented with a golden opportunity. In the Primaries in August and the General election in November, every seat in the Kansas Legislature will be put to a vote. Common sense Kansans have the opportunity to set right the mistakes of the past, to put our state back on solid footing.
But before we have that opportunity, we have the Kansas Legislative Session of 2016.
What can we expect this year?
Certainly more of the same. Education will be front and center again, specifically the financing of it, but also the curriculum, the integrity of how we treat our teachers, the health of our school districts and the Constitutionally guaranteed independence of the State Board of Education will be on display.
Education will be examined in the courts as well, and where a controversial court case goes, the Governor's drive to strip that branch of its checks and balances will follow. Watch carefully as the extremists attack both the independence and the integrity of the courts and judges. Retention races, where a judge is voted on by the people, will be targeted by extremists.
The budget will remain an issue, as it will no matter what the state leadership tries. Last year, they increased sales taxes an historic amount, raised come taxes by reducing deductions, and claimed they had lowered taxes. But it did not matter, the State is still behind in revenue estimates, and all the pots have been scraped.
And of course, in a Presidential election year, no amount of common sense arguments, heartfelt pleading, or real-world consequences will sway the extremists from their blindered drive to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid expansion will come up, as it did this year, only if forced by advocates for the elderly, the poor, and the disabled.
Don't take our word for it, come to our forum on What to expect in Kansas politics in 2016
Nov 5, 7 pm mingle, 7:30 - 9:30 program.
We have already begun to see some shifts among the members of the Kansas Legislature worried about their positions. Just last week, Senator Jim Denning (R) came out against some aspects of the Governor's tax cuts, a tax cut he voted for in 2012 as a Representative. Now Senator Jeff King (R) is denouncing the Brownback Administration's single-minded dismissal of Medicaid expansion, a step away from the Governor's shadow just as it is getting a little cold there.
This year, we will be examining the voting records of Kansas legislators, and will report back before the Primaries in August.