Gun bill – State lawmakers seized an opportunity to try to outlaw local control over carrying of guns in public. But the state should exercise care when telling cities and counties how to handle matters related to public safety. No two communities are the same, after all. Local elected officials have the best feel for what’s appropriate in their own backyards, and should be allowed to craft policies accordingly – especially when it comes to something as serious as guns.
Garden City Telegram
Day of reckoning – Decreasing tax revenue and increasing expenses mean that whoever is elected governor in November – Sam Brownback or his Democratic challenger, Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence – will face a serious problem. It would be fitting that when the state faces its day of reckoning that Brownback still is the governor and has to clean up the mess, but we’re not sure that’s what is best for Kansas.
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Prairie chicken – The lesser prairie chicken should be listed as threatened. Without mitigation, this particular bird likely would become endangered and then extinct. State and local stakeholders have the opportunity to ensure that doesn’t happen. They should be grateful, not threatening legal or congressional action.
Hays Daily News
Alternative energy – A bipartisan coalition of House members voted 77-44 to defeat a measure that would have adopted the Senate’s bill rescinding Kansas’ renewable portfolio standards. The practical benefits of alternative energy standards in encouraging wind-farm development in Kansas – now and in the future – trumped the orthodoxy of the libertarian Republicans who thought they had overtaken the GOP. Hooray!
Winfield Daily Courier
Police records – Kansas is the only state that hides police records from citizens. And if the state Senate has its way, it will retain that arrogant distinction. After the House voted 113-10 to open arrest records and search warrant affidavits to the public, a Senate committee passed an amendment to keep secret the evidence that prosecutors use to file charges against a suspect. The Senate should reconsider and end this travesty.
Kansas City Star
The Kansas Senate’s shameful treatment of proposed legislation that would have opened to public scrutiny the probable cause affidavits that law enforcement officials and prosecutors use to obtain search and arrest warrants was a disservice to all Kansans. The Fourth Amendment protects this country’s citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. Without access to the probable cause affidavits used to obtain search and arrest warrants, citizens have no way of knowing whether the actions of law enforcement officials and prosecutors, and even the judges who sign off on the warrants, pass constitutional muster.
Any legislator who supports open government or is worried about unwarranted government incursions into citizens’ private lives should be embarrassed that Kansas keeps probable cause affidavits closed – and that Senate leaders apparently believe that is perfectly all right.
College merger – The potential merger of Dodge City Community College and Fort Hays State University is an exciting prospect. It would, at long last, put a four-year college in western Kansas. Merger talks should begin in earnest now that DCCC trustees have voted to pursue four-year status. It’s a good move.