Arguably, everything the Legislature does is related to the next election. But three measures advanced this week by the Kansas Senate would affect the 2012 election year directly. Two are welcome; the third is regrettable but inevitable.
The first is Senate Bill 126, which would pull the plug on public service announcements starring statewide officeholders during the 60 days before a primary or general election when they’re going to be on the ballot. Any other time of the year, such ads are good public relations. But too many incumbents of both parties have used the spots to slyly promote themselves, as well as state programs, to voters. Good for new state Treasurer Ron Estes for leading the way on this sensible change.
The Senate also advanced SB 145, a good measure requiring state candidates, like national candidates, to declare ownership of the content of their campaign ads by stating their name and the phrase, “I approve this message.”
Senate Bill 128, the third electionrelated measure to meet with Senate approval Wednesday, would save the state $1.3 million by canceling the 2012 presidential primary — the latest in a line of cancellations since 1992. Would it be far better if Kansas Republicans had the opportunity to go to the polls early next year, rather than to party-sponsored caucuses, to help pick their party’s nominee to challenge President Obama? Of course.
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But canceling the primary not only spares the state budget some precious cash, but also acknowledges that Kansas is unlikely to be a presidential battleground state anytime soon — at least not until the national parties recognize that Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have had their turns, and that rotating regional primaries or some other system would be far more inclusive, representative and fair.