Renewable energy – There is yet some courage in the Kansas House of Representatives, and it was on full display Wednesday when its members refused to go along with the Kansas Senate’s repeal of a renewable energy standard that has been in place since 2009. That’s the sort of courage Kansans expect from their lawmakers, who are sent to Topeka to work for their districts – not to become faithful, dutiful and unquestioning servants of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity.
There seems to be little doubt that the renewable portfolio standards helped kick-start the wind-energy business in Kansas, one of about 30 states with RPS laws. Some state legislators apparently see the RPS as an impediment to free enterprise in the state, but the standards have helped support a growing industry that takes advantage of a clean, renewable and abundant natural resource in Kansas: the wind. Legislators shouldn’t risk jeopardizing those advances.
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ALEC – It turns out the charter-school changes in a House school-finance bill were recommended by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group supported by the Kochs. Republican Reps. Kasha Kelley and Marc Rhoades took the opportunity to add this outside group’s recipe to the bill without consulting their leaders. We thought Kelley was elected to represent her district in southern Cowley and eastern Sumner counties and Rhoades his district in and around Newton. It looks more like they are representing ALEC and the Kochs.
Winfield Daily Courier
Public schools are among targets of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a “bill mill” supported by the billionaire Koch brothers and other special interests. ALEC promotes concepts of free-market enterprise and limited government, which are worthy of discussion in legislative pursuits. The problem is lawmakers who mindlessly sign off on ALEC’s one-size-fits-all approach without weighing constituent input or interests. And that’s what we’re getting from ultraconservative GOP lawmakers handpicked by Gov. Sam Brownback’s camp to forward an extremist agenda coveted by the Koch brothers and tea party faithful.
Garden City Telegram
Party-switching – Kansas lawmakers have changed state statutes once again to prevent an imaginary problem. As soon as House Bill 2210 reached his desk, Gov. Sam Brownback signed it into law. Once it takes effect, Kansas voters will be prohibited from changing their political party affiliation in any election year from the date of the deadline for candidates to file for office until the August primary results are certified. Prohibiting party-switching for three months out of every two years will not fix a thing, either because there was nothing to fix or because the solution is practically worthless.
Hays Daily News
Threatened species – Legislators veered off the smart path as they advanced regressive policy on Kansas wildlife. House Bill 2118 carries an amendment to repeal conservation of non-game, threatened and endangered species in Kansas. Bad idea. News spreads quickly, and Kansas’ burgeoning reputation as a national destination for ecotourists, birders, hikers, cyclists, hunters and outdoors adventurers would definitely be harmed by this bill becoming law.
Phelps – An era has ended with Fred Phelps’ death, and Topekans have reason to hope others come to know the community for some of its better qualities. Topeka is more than one man and his message. It always has been.