KCC – Gov. Sam Brownback expects to announce early next year who will succeed Mark Sievers as chairman of the Kansas Corporation Commission. The governor would do well to appoint someone who has a healthy respect for the Kansas Open Meetings Act and a conviction that government should be transparent when conducting the public’s business. Sievers had neither, and his early departure gives Brownback an opportunity to place someone in charge who can reassure Kansans the KCC is interested in serving the state, its regulated utilities and consumers.
Online sales tax – While much of the country on Cyber Monday was busy buying gifts through online retailers, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a key piece of news for traditional retailers. The court declined to hear a case that sought to overturn a New York law that allows the state to charge sales tax on most online purchases made in the state. The decision should spark an immediate examination by Kansas lawmakers of how the state can begin charging sales tax for online purchases. The sales-tax inequity that exists between traditional brick-and-mortar businesses and online retailers has made life more difficult than it needs to be for many independent retailers who play vital roles in many communities. Now it is time for state officials to demonstrate they do truly care about the plight of small retailers who are seeking nothing more than a level playing field.
Concealed-carry – “We have a wonderful community, but you need to arm yourself,” Salina City Commissioner Jon Blanchard said by way of pointing out the absurdity of those who say we need to allow more guns in the city-county building and other venues. But it was one of the more sensible thoughts uttered when the Salina Building Authority and the Saline County Commission separately debated the numerous challenges facing the county since the Legislature passed its concealed-carry law. The building authority eventually voted 6-1 to seek a four-year exemption to the law, which requires public buildings to be open to people carrying concealed guns. If the buildings are not open, then guards and metal detectors need to be in place.
Plastic-gun ban – Rep. Tim Huelskamp and Sen. Pat Roberts, Republicans of Kansas, opposed the extension of the ban on plastic, undetectable guns. Keep in mind that the National Rifle Association did not fight the simple extension that cleared Congress. The extent of the extremism on this issue is astounding. And when Roberts goes even more extreme than the NRA, you know he is terrified of the election-year backlash from the gun-rights special interest.
Sporting KC – Chalk up the biggest victory yet for the startling growth of soccer in the Kansas City area. Sporting Kansas City won the Major League Soccer Cup after a heart-pulsating finish on a near-frozen field in front of a sold-out crowd in Kansas City, Kan. The victory over Real Salt Lake on sudden-death penalty kicks deserves to be talked about for years in this region. And it will be a catalyst for further growth of the sport, especially among young players around Kansas City.
Kansas City Star