Voter law – The U.S. Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s voting law wasn’t so much a ruling on proof of citizenship for registering to vote as it was about the consistency of federal elections. That made it a sensible ruling. And it means that, despite what Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says, Kansas should accept a federal voter-registration form and allow such registrants to vote without conditions.
Kansas’ misguided “proof of citizenship” law is now squarely on the wrong side of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The Kansas Legislature should do the right thing and rescind its unfair law, which will inevitably disenfranchise U.S. citizens.
Kansas City Star
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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt should move quickly to test our state’s voter-registration law in court, so we will know if its provisions are constitutional or unconstitutional before we gear up for the 2014 elections.
Winfield Daily Courier
Kobach protest – Sunflower Community Action, an organization that supports immigration reform, probably did itself and its cause more harm than good when a large group of like-minded advocates visited Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s Wyandotte County home and veered from protest to trespass. There is a right way and a wrong way to peacefully protest. The right way does not include trespassing on private property and using someone’s home as a prop.
Arts – Struggling arts agencies across the state will find little hope for relief in the budget signed by Gov. Sam Brownback. That budget cuts annual funding for the new Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission to just $200,000 for the next two years. That is less than a third of the commission’s previous $700,000 annual budget. The cut is a continuation of the governor’s drive to abolish the successful Kansas Arts Commission and eliminate state funding for the arts in Kansas. Restoration of all or part of those funds would be good news for the state, but the current inept state of the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission leaves some doubt about how much even some additional funding will help the arts in Kansas. It’s a bad situation that, unfortunately, shows few prospects for improvement under the state’s current leadership.
Moderate Party – It’s a sign of how far our state’s leaders have lurched to the right that someone who once worked with then-state Sen. Tim Huelskamp is trying to form a third party because he can’t believe how conservative his Republican Party has become. Aaron Estabrook of Manhattan wants the Moderate Party of Kansas to be more of a centrist option for voters. But if turning back the hard-right GOP is the goal of the Moderate Party, then further fracturing Republicans and the Democratic Party isn’t the answer. A new party will only delay the day when the conservatives no longer have a grip on the state.
Science standards - It’s refreshing that the debate over evolution and intelligent design didn’t dominate the discussion leading to the Kansas State Board of Education’s recent approval of new science standards for public school students. Not that the topic has completely gone away. It hasn’t. But there was little support for creationism on a board controlled by moderate Republicans and Democrats.