Talk about Politics!

The Legislature returns to work this week, with a budget deficit of almost $300 million over the next two years, schools in jeopardy of being closed because of consistent underfunding, and former allies running away from Brownback as fast as they can. This session, and the election it leads up to, are generating an enormous amount of interest. This election is projected to have very high turnout, and people are beginning to show an interest in what is going on, not just on the national level, but in their own states and districts.

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Unbelievable education bill

As you know, the Kansas Legislature is on their Spring break. Ostensibly, they have done the State's business, and are waiting for the Governor to act on proposed bills. Then they return for a short veto session to deal with what the Governor has done.

But this year, as in most previous years, the Legislature has not finished their work. When they return, several bills will still be in the balance, the expected ruling from the Courts on education equity will still hang over them, and, of course, new bills can still be introduced.

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Justice in the Balance

In March of 2012, at a private meeting with then State Senator Tim Owens, Governor Brownback is reported to have said, "Tim, why can’t you go along with us on this judicial selection issue and let us change the way we select judges so we can get judges who will vote the way we want them to?"

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The Waiting Game

While the lawmakers are off on their Spring Break (the Legislature reconvenes on April 27th for the "veto" session), we find ourselves both exhausted from the sprint of the session, and relieved at the sudden "hurry up and wait" place we find ourselves. We thought it would be nice to take a deep breath and check in on the main themes we laid out for this session back in early January.

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How it all started

Nobody denies that Kansans are in trouble. The state continues to lose money, scraping what it can from between the couch cushions at KDOT and KPERS. Hospitals are closing, leaving communities and patients without the health security they need. Schools are being squeezed by naive legislators who think lobbyists know what children need to succeed.

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All Politics are Local

It is an old saw that all politics are local. It holds that, because voters vote on what matters to them (their backyard, usually) then the epicenter of political change begins in that backyard. It is why Presidential contenders eat corn dogs at state fairs.

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Do more than vote, make a difference

Last week was a prelude to the next two weeks, where we are told to expect a flurry of bills and hearings and possible late nights. This shotgun approach is meant to both end the session early (a campaign bonus in an election year after last year's record long session) and to confuse and bewilder the public. “We are in trouble,” Rep. Rooker says of state’s financial condition - PV Post

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Testimony Opposing SB 311 - Defunding KSDE

This is the testimony we presented to oppose SB 311, a bill intended to strip the Kansas Department of Education of the administration of public school finances, transferring them instead to the Department of Administration, answerable directly to the Governor. However, before we could post this here, the chairman of the committee withdrew the bill, complaining bitterly about media reports and "vile emails" in opposition.

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SUCCESS! ACTION ALERT - Stop HB 2457, tax money for private, religious schools!

HB 2457, the tax-credit scholarship (voucher) bill we asked you to act on yesterday, has been pulled from consideration. Hundreds of you sent emails, and convinced leadership that this bill should not move forward, at least today. It may, of course, come back, and we will stay vigilant. But there are still plenty of bad bills out there, and you'll hear from us again when we need you to act.
 
Thank you for doing more than voting.
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Who owns the tax problem?

Kansas has a tax problem. Estimated revenues for the state are almost never met. Every month, what little budget there is gets undercut by shockingly low income. If the state does not take in enough in taxes to meet its obligations, who is to blame? Who owns the tax problem?

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