KanCare – Many people, including a respectable number of legislators, think Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is moving too quickly on Medicaid reform. In this case, the governor might want to yield to those calling for a six-month delay, from Jan. 1 to July 1, 2013, on implementation of KanCare, the reform program. If another six months will give users and providers time to learn more about the program and become more comfortable with it going in, it could be time well-spent.
Gun law – A bill sent to the Kansas Senate would allow concealed-carry permit holders to bring weapons into public facilities, such as city halls and county courthouses, unless those buildings have metal detectors and guards at all public entrances. Hospitals, colleges and nursing homes could obtain a four-year exemption by sending notice to the Attorney General’s Office. Encouraging people to brings guns into courthouses, city halls or other public places where emotions may run high is a disturbing proposition. Plus, governments hoping to avoid such a predicament and stay gun-free would have to implement new security measures when they’re already short on funds. The Senate should block the senseless pitch.
Garden City Telegram
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School plan – Gov. Sam Brownback should not dismiss the bipartisan school-finance plan emerging in the Senate. That plan would add $100 million to state aid to public education over the next two years. The money would come from the $390 million projected ending balance in the next fiscal year’s budget. With the economy recovering, it is more important to prepare our young people for the workforce at all levels than it is to experiment with income-tax rate reduction for job creation.
Winfield Daily Courier
Children’s fund – It is one matter for the Legislature to budget less money for a program area such as early-childhood education. It is another to divert money that by law is supposed to go to that purpose. Such is the case with Kansas’ Children’s Initiatives Fund, which was created in 1999 as the direction for the state’s share of a huge multistate settlement in a case against the nation’s big tobacco companies. Technically, the repository is the Kansas Endowment for Youth, from which money budgeted for the fund may be withdrawn. The Legislature has diverted $137.3 million of the tobacco settlement receipts from the endowment to the state general fund to spend in other ways. This year, Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing a cut to the children’s fund programs, reducing spending in his budget for next year from $56 million to $39 million. The budgetary raiding of the endowment fund appears to be nothing less than a violation of the law.
Academic champs – There obviously is more than one way to measure the academic excellence of a university basketball team, but it was nice to see the University of Kansas claim the national championship in one such calculation. After the NCAA Tournament bracket was announced, the Inside Higher Ed website applied academic progress rates to each pairing to pick a winner to advance to the next round. The teams’ graduation rates were used to break any ties. KU, Texas, Lehigh and Davidson advanced to the academic Final Four. With a perfect academic progress score of 1,000 and a graduation score of 91 out of a possible 100, KU beat out all opponents to claim the national championship. It also won the contest in 2010 and was in the bracket’s Final Four last year.