Politics & Government

Capitol beats: ‘Government software seems to have problems’

Kansas Gov. Brownback talks during a news conference last week at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. (Feb. 25, 2016)
Kansas Gov. Brownback talks during a news conference last week at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. (Feb. 25, 2016) Associated Press

Check this spot on Sundays for a few quick hits about what’s driving the debate in the Legislature.

Say what?

Government software seems to have problems.”

– Gov. Sam Brownback, when asked about delays in processing Medicaid eligibility applications, which have been caused by glitches with the state’s software system.

“So does marijuana, but they want to legalize that.”

– Rep. John Whitmer, R-Wichita, after another lawmaker warned that concussions can cause permanent brain damage during a floor debate on a bill to allow chiropractors to clear student athletes for play after a head injury.

69 percent

That’s the percentage of Kansans who say they are dissatisfied with Gov. Sam Brownback’s job performance, according to a poll from Fort Hays State University released Friday.

Trending

Gov. Sam Brownback is not “feeling the Bern.”

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticized the Brownback during a Kansas City rally Wednesday, saying “in Kansas, you’ve got a governor who likes to beat up on the poor.”

The governor called a news conference the next day to push back on Sanders’ criticism. He touted a study that found average incomes for able-bodied Kansans who left food stamps under changes enacted by Brownback saw their incomes rise by 127 percent. The governor’s critics pointed out that the study, from a free-market think tank called Foundation for Government Accountability, shows the average annual income for an individual rose from $2,453 to $5,562, still far below federal poverty level of $11,770.

Brownback’s office carried the tiff with Sanders into the weekend, sending out an e-mail Saturday saying the Vermont senator’s statements were “rife with error” and “plucked from the parallel universe.”

News ahead

The Kansas presidential caucuses take place Saturday. Expect a lot of politicking from members of the Legislature on behalf of candidates from both parties and from Brownback, who recently endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

— Bryan Lowry

For more legislative news, go to www.kansas.com/politics and follow @BryanLowry3 on Twitter.

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