Who do they represent?

We spend a lot of our time arguing that legislators should represent their constituents, the people whose lives they affect by their vote. The people who they represent in their elected office. They should not, we say, represent only their donors, nor even solely the people who voted for them, as there are many issues that affect all Kansans. And they should certainly not represent only the views of the leadership of their party.

In fact, a few weeks ago, as we were perusing the makeup of this Kansas Legislature in relation to their MainStream score (see our scorecards here), we realized something. The leadership of the Republican party in the Statehouse does not represent the majority of their members. From that Update, we found that while Republican Leadership in the Senate is 25% in line with MainStream, the Republicans in the Senate come in at 35% with MainStream. In the House, it is worse. Republican Leadership is 17% with MainStream, while the House Republicans as a whole are 38%. Democrats are more in line, with leadership and the body in both chambers all hovering around 98%.

Whatever you think of how they should or should not align with MainStream, it's interesting that the body of Republicans differ significantly from their own leadership. It implies that the Kansans who voted for those legislators are not well represented by the leadership of their party in Topeka.

That's the long way of getting to our point.

Several bills working their way through the Kansas Legislature right now are not good for Kansans, of any political stripe. They are, in fact, good only for the politicians pushing them, and the donors who support them.

The prime example of that right now is Senate President Susan Wagle's (*M score:7%) bill to "refund" taxes to "Kansans," SB 22. She created a new special "Select Committee" just for this bill, then appointed herself the Chair to be able to control its submission. The rhetoric you may have heard is that Kansans have had their Federal tax refund stolen from them by the state, and that it is imperative that we "return" those taxes to the people. But $137 million of that "refund" (2/3 of the $191 million total) will go to corporations sited in Kansas, not to Kansas voters. And if the bill passes, it will leave the state unable to fulfill its basic obligations to education, roads, etc. Of course it will also help secure Sen. Wagle's ultra-conservative bona fides ahead of her run for U.S. Senate in 2020.

But it is not just Sen. Wagle pulling a fast one on Kansas voters. With an opportunity to finally fulfill our Constitutional obligations to fund public education, ultra-conservative leadership is sounding the horn of "fiscal responsibility" to re-write the entirety of the school finance plan passed in 2016. "Fiscal responsibility" is a bitter draft to accept from the very legislators who sank Kansas so far into debt even Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner (and former State Senator, *M score:0%) is sounding the alarm!

And amid the saber rattling around how expensive Gov. Kelly's Medicaid expansion plan is (her plan is virtually identical to the one that missed overcoming Brownback's veto by 3 votes in 2016, among them Sen. Wagle's vote), we find SB 32, a little gem that attempts to allow an insurer to skip out of oversight, and fleece their customers any way they like. This bill, we might add, has no listed sponsors, indicating a lack of willingness on the part of whomever introduced the bill to bear the wrath of Kansas consumers.

Who, we wonder, are these legislators representing?

Kansans, the vast majority of whom are either harmed or see no benefit from these bills? Or the corporate sponsors, businesses, and donors who suggest and lobby for these measures?

Are these your legislators? Find out at ksleglookup.org, and let them know how you feel.

Do more than vote.

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