Picking judges – For more than a half century the Kansas nonpartisan court plan has stood as one of the state’s most responsible and respected institutions. Judges selected under the plan have earned the reputation of ruling impartially and sticking closely to the law and evidence. Importantly, the plan shields the justice system from the raw politics that has stained many judges picked by partisan means. Now this model is being dismantled at the hands of Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature. This attack need not be tolerated. Voters who want to restore integrity to Kansas justice have a powerful tool: the ballot box.
Kansas City Star
Concealed-carry – It was no surprise to hear a local judge seek more time before moving forward with a new state law that allows people to bring guns into public buildings. In asking for the six-month exemption – which Finney County commissioners approved – Wendel Wurst, chief judge of the 25th Judicial District, made a case that echoed concerns of many who would rather not have citizens packing heat in public places. In doing so, he expressed sensible thinking that has eluded many others – namely an ultraconservative Republican regime at work in Topeka – who believe more guns would somehow help combat acts of violence.
Garden City Telegram
The Kansas Legislature knows what to do when it passes a law that is likely to be unpopular with cities, counties and other public institutions: Pass another law curtailing their ability to complain about it. Earlier this session, the Legislature approved a measure requiring local governments either to allow concealed weapons on their public properties or prove they had beefed up security enough to ensure residents’ safety. Possibly sensing that local governments would complain about the cost of an unfunded mandate from Topeka – one that requires compliance with the state’s philosophy or a heavy investment in staff and security equipment – the Legislature went to work on another bill to outlaw the spending of state tax dollars lobbying for or against gun-control policies. Protecting a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution doesn’t justify trying to limit protections offered elsewhere in the Constitution.
Tankers – Kansas won one and lost one when the Air Force decided which bases would be the first to receive the new KC-46A air-refueling tanker. McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita was selected as the main, active-duty operating facility for the KC-46As. Forbes Field in Topeka was among the finalists vying to be the first Air National Guard base to fly the new tankers, but that honor went to Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire. Congratulations go to McConnell and Wichita.