Water – It was good to hear something positive on the Ogallala Aquifer, the underground water supply that helps sustain a region heavily dependent on agriculture. A recent report showed that the rate of depletion of the aquifer slowed last year. Late-season rains and a cooler summer helped ease water needs for farmers. But as welcome as the news was, it could not drown out lingering concern over a water source considered the economic lifeblood of the region.
Garden City Telegram
Streaming – Spending $188,000 to webcast the Legislature’s committee hearings and debates sounds like a reasonable investment. Sen. Kay Wolf and Rep. Stephanie Clayton, both Republicans, are to be commended for sponsoring bills calling for a two-year trial of live streaming House and Senate committee meetings. Webcasts will enhance the taxpayers’ fund of knowledge about how their government works and make it more transparent.
Gay marriage – Those actively opposed to gay marriage are in their last days. The world – with the exception of Uganda, Russia and the like – and most of the U.S. are moving on, rapidly, and for the better.
Kochs – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently said brothers Charles and David Koch of Wichita are “about as un-American as anyone I can imagine.” He also accused the Kochs of “spreading lies” about President Obama’s health care plan. Reid may not like the advertisements and messages paid for by the Kochs, but he exposes his thin skin and political blindness when he suggests the Kochs are “un-American,” dishonest and liars.
Compact – Aimed at Obamacare, the interstate compact on health care services is a way to try to nullify the federal mandates under the Affordable Care Act. It would require approval by both houses of Congress, an impossible task at present. This is one of those quixotic tea party attempts to pre-empt a federal policy on behalf of “state sovereignty.” Its purpose is purely political, and its method is without constitutional rationale. We suggest our lawmakers simply lay this idea, and the resolution containing it, aside and forget it. Hundreds of thousands of Kansans on Medicare and Medicaid will thank them.
Winfield Daily Courier
Autism – The Legislature has been tough on children with autism and their families. While half of the states, including Missouri, require life-changing behavioral therapy as a health insurance benefit, Kansas currently requires that benefit only for children whose families are in the state employees’ health plan. Efforts to get help to more children are moving slowly in the Legislature, and are being heavily influenced by the insurance industry. There is still time for Kansas to model the positive experiences of other states and give as many children and families as possible the tools to lead fuller, more productive lives. Helping them is a mark of character. Lawmakers should seize the opportunity.
Kansas City Star
Senate race – Sen. Pat Roberts might well be a Washington fixture who should be retired at this point in his 47-year career, and his desperate swing to the right to preserve his job is sadly pitiful. But Milton Wolf, the tea party candidate who grew up in Lyons, is no less the politician. It promises to be a long, ugly campaign that isn’t likely to produce a victor Kansans will feel proud to have serve them.