Editorials

Kansas views (Aug. 22)

Voting law — If there was reason to believe that Kansas has a serious problem with noncitizens voting in its elections, it might make sense to rush into a voter-registration system designed to stem such abuse. However, because there is little evidence that such a problem exists, it only makes sense for the state to take a little time to implement the requirement that Kansas residents show proof of citizenship when they register to vote. The county clerks who actually have to run the elections are saying they have enough changes to deal with in the coming year without adding the proof-of-citizenship requirement. Secretary of State Kris Kobach should respect their opinion. — Lawrence Journal-World

Grant — Gov. Sam Brownback's decision to return a $31.5 million federal health care "early innovator" grant is mind-boggling. We recognize that the governor isn't a fan of President Obama's health care reform, dismissed by its critics as "Obamacare." But what has changed since last June? That's when, despite calling health care reform unconstitutional, Brownback said the state would use the grant to establish a health insurance marketplace that could enhance competition among insurers to help Kansas consumers. That was the right thing to do. — Manhattan Mercury

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This thinly disguised move by Gov. Sam Brownback is another example of his commitment to putting the neo-populist politics of the right wing of his Republican Party first. It is also another example of the way the governor and his advisers are willing to trash anything former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had anything to do with. Under the leadership of Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a pragmatic Republican, Kansas had become one of a handful of states to pioneer health exchanges, putting our state in a good position to benefit if the reform law is upheld. Now the governor has thrown Praeger's pioneering effort down the political drain and cost the state at least $31.5 million it can ill afford to lose. Shame on you, Sam. — Winfield Daily Courier

Curfew — Kansas City has seen this before: lots of teens gathering to hang out, occasionally leading to violence. The locations have changed over the past 20 or so years and once included Swope Park, Bannister Mall, Crown Center, Westport and along Prospect Avenue. Now the favored gathering spot is on the Country Club Plaza, traditionally considered among the safest places to walk at night. After the recent shooting that unfortunately wounded three youths — ages 13, 15 and 16 — new strategies are needed to protect the Plaza, the city's pedestrian-friendly architectural gem. A tougher curfew would be a reasonable way to reduce the number of young children out without their parents late at night. — Kansas City Star

Redistricting — Is Kansas ruled by politics or by common sense? Eleven states, including neighboring Missouri and Colorado, use a nonpartisan redistricting committee to undertake the mandatory redrawing of the congressional map. It's time for Kansas to take that step as well. When the next revision of the map becomes reality in 2022, here's hoping the madness of letting politicians make their own rules comes to an end. — Hays Daily News

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