Pompeo's choice — Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, has a chance to make a difference. Unlike some freshman Republicans in the House, Pompeo is a businessman. He understands the consequences of failing to raise the federal debt ceiling. Pompeo voted for the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which would close some unspecified corporate loopholes. Instead of quietly going along with the "hell no" bunch of House GOP freshmen, Pompeo should take a commonsense stand, publicly, and call for a compromise with the president. — Winfield Daily Courier
Outside counsel — In recent years, the office of the Kansas attorney general earned a national reputation for transparency and frugality. But current Attorney General Derek Schmidt ignored these good practices when he hired Wichita's Foulston Siefkin firm to represent Kansas in a lawsuit with Planned Parenthood without seeking bids to protect the interests of taxpayers. The no-bid contract comes at a time when taxpayers are being asked to accept deep cuts in education and services. More troubling, Schmidt hired a law firm that is politically connected to him (home to his former campaign co-chairman) and the office of Gov. Sam Brownback (through Wichita's billionaire Koch family, longtime Brownback supporters). — Kansas City Star
Ogallala Aquifer — The Ogallala is drying up, quite simply because the state overappropriated water rights for irrigation. And the prospect for the future is more than just not enough water. It is the potential collapse of an agriculture-dependent economy that would decimate the population of a region already in a multi-decade decline. Too many governors and their administrations have kicked the proverbial can down the road, not wanting to make the tough decision, which seemingly is to roll back water rights for irrigation. Gov. Sam Brownback not only shows the inclination to do something about the problem but might have the right approach. — Hutchinson News
'Caylee's Law' — In the wake of the Casey Anthony trial, Kansas House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, and Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Robert Siedlecki deserve credit for taking a look at state laws regarding the reporting of missing children. But here's hoping the two temper passion with pragmatism as they go about their work on the issue. The state's leaders shouldn't let an unusual case in a state far away lead them into going overboard in crafting changes in the law or failing to thoroughly consider the impact of any revisions. — Topeka Capital-Journal
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Redistricting — The issue of dividing the Kansas map into districts has been described by legislators (primarily the outnumbered Democrats) as "one of the most partisan things we do." A group of 36 legislators has been gathered to see where the political boundaries will rest. Although nonpartisan on the surface, it will be hard not to argue that it will be, since three-quarters of the 36-member committee will be Republicans. But the issue isn't really about politics, at least not in southeast Kansas. Southeast Kansas is in a fight not for party politics, but to hold on to the foothold of political influence it has. The population shift has moved toward the large cities, and the redistricting is likely to add districts in the Kansas City and Wichita metropolitan areas. — Pittsburg Morning Sun