Due process – It seems hard to imagine that it is all that difficult to fire a bad teacher. The modest protection offered now seemingly just requires an administrator to go through the same process any other employer should when dealing with a performance issue. If administrators have carefully documented performance failings and demonstrate a good-faith effort to correct them, they shouldn’t have any problem with a hearing officer. This “tenure” for Kansas public school teachers is not some special lifetime job security. It seemingly just is a good employment practice.
Water plan – Gov. Sam Brownback is right about one thing. Kansas needs to begin to plan for its future water supply, now. The governor called for action last fall on a 50-year “Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas.” The Kansas Water Office has been scouring the state for input for this vision. Getting the job done, however, will take a bipartisan readiness to act on the part of legislators and governors now and in the future.
Winfield Daily Courier
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Moving elections – One of the legislative efforts that some observers think may resurface during the wrap-up session that begins April 30 is a bill that would move local elections for school board and city offices from April to November. This is a bad idea that didn’t get any better as it moved through the Kansas Legislature. Legislators should leave this issue alone.
Kochs – The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, like its big-business, social-conservative ally, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is spreading a web of backward-looking legislation that has little to do with liberty and much to do with inciting a social and cultural assault on those who may or may not hold different views than they do. People who teach school in Kansas, for instance, will now likely feel the chilling effect that comes with losing their right to due process. That recently achieved anti-worker swipe by the Legislature was pushed not by parents and educators but by Koch-funded activists. Why are the Kochs misunderstood? Their actions speak louder than their weepy, rhetorical words.
Kansas City Star
Several state lawmakers — namely traditional, more moderate Republicans who wouldn’t serve as puppets for a far-right agenda coveted by Gov. Sam Brownback and other allies of the Koch brothers — were targeted in the August 2012 GOP primary. The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and Kansas Chamber of Commerce unleashed last-minute, misleading ads designed to take down lawmakers who dared to challenge their radical pursuits. But federal records show Koch Industries applied for and received $1.4 million in early retiree subsidies as part of the Affordable Care Act. Kansans should keep such hypocrisy in mind when the next Koch-financed onslaught of political advertising materializes.
Garden City Telegram
Medicaid fraud – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt had good things to say about legislators for passing a bill that imposes stiffer penalties for Medicaid fraud. It is too early to pass out praise for the entire 2014 legislative session, but we can echo Schmidt’s support of the Medicaid fraud bill, which he asked for on the eve of the session. Large pots of government money – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid – attract fraud like sugar draws flies.