Shotgun lawmaking – As soon as this new Brownback-compliant Legislature convened in January, members began shotgunning a wide variety of bills in both the House and the Senate. No issue has been out of reach of the Legislature’s bird shot – corporate farming, judicial appointments, taxes, workers’ rights, restrictions on lobbying (not from business, just from people), election laws and immigration, to name a few. This approach betrays a dire sense of urgency from the governor and his legislative followers – almost as if these changes must happen now, before people have a chance to figure out the truth and perhaps find a change of heart. Shotguns aren’t used for their precision or accuracy; they’re used to spread out a wide pattern in the hope that at least one piece of shot will strike its target. It’s a great tool for bird hunting, but a terrible approach to lawmaking.
Local elections – We would guess those pushing for partisan local elections are the same forces attempting to place all three branches of state government in lockstep. Such an approach, if ultimately successful, will benefit the party in power – but does little for the citizenry. We have no qualm with moving the dates of local elections, or even the year for that matter, if it will result in greater participation. But forcing school board members and city commissioners to declare a party should be rejected by Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliateds alike.
Hays Daily News
Dental care – Recent data collected by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment indicated that 37 counties have no dentist who will accept KanCare clients. Having “registered dental practitioners” in underserved areas of the state may be part of the solution, but the large gaps in KanCare dental coverage also indicate that many dentists in the state are unwilling – for whatever reason – to provide services through the new Medicaid system. Whether it’s convenience, cost or some other issue that is causing them to shun the system, it’s up to state officials to work with dentists to make sure KanCare clients not only have coverage but can access care within a reasonable geographic area.
Abortion bill – With the passage of an anti-abortion bill on Wednesday, Kansas House members revealed themselves as callous and backward-thinking. The bill would prevent almost all abortions after 22 weeks, even if a pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. In rejecting pleas to allow those exceptions, the bill’s supporters displayed a shocking lack of empathy for women. The bill contains several overbearing and offensive requirements for doctors. The worst is a requirement that physicians must falsely inform patients that abortion may increase the risk of breast cancer. We hope the Senate will show some compassion for young women facing the anguish of an unwanted, late-term pregnancy, and understand the negative consequences of promoting a blatant falsehood.
Kansas City Star
House Bill 2253, which is likely to become law, marks the high point of self-appointed moralism among participants in the Kansas political culture. Rather than give women more freedom, a 92-41 majority of House members are telling women what they cannot do with their own bodies even under the most dire circumstances.
Winfield Daily Courier
Tax shift – They call it “the fixtures bill.” It’s legislation pending in the Kansas Legislature that would change the state’s century-old definition of industrial fixtures for taxation purposes. The bill simply shifts the tax load from those who can afford it – large industry – to farms, small businesses and middle-class residents.