Kansas Views (April 2)

Redistricting – Though no redistricting plan will make everyone happy, the Senate plan is the least drastic, least unbelievable, least problematic plan officially on the table. There is no doubt to us that moving Manhattan into the 1st District is the lesser of many evils. It’s time the issue was properly settled so the Legislature can move on to other issues. And the best way to do that would be for conservative House Republicans to settle for the Senate plan.

Pittsburg Morning Sun

Gun law – A call for repeal of Kansas’ “stand your ground” law in the wake of the Feb. 26 fatal shooting of a black youth in Sanford, Fla., is unwarranted. The law is sound and gives people being attacked the right to use the force necessary to defend themselves without fear of prosecution. That the shooter in the Florida case, a neighborhood watch captain, has claimed self-defense and cited that state’s “stand your ground” law should not be taken as a universal indictment of such laws.

Topeka Capital-Journal

Autism – The deserving quest to have insurance companies pay for therapy for autistic children moved forward in the Kansas House. Research has shown that children on the autism spectrum who receive approved behavioral therapy are much more likely to be able to attend school in regular classrooms and become employed, all of which is good for families and a state’s bottom line. The Kansas effort is far from complete, but the House vote was a good step.

Kansas City Star

Texting – If you needed one more reason why texting and driving don’t mix, then look no further than Wichita State University. Motorists who text increase their chances of having an accident by 2,300 percent, according to a study conducted by researchers at WSU. The research group, headed by psychology professor Alex Chaparro, used a driving simulator and had participants text a message while driving. What the WSU researchers discovered was that texting motorists drove significantly slower, showed severe reductions in reaction times, and weaved back and forth in their driving lanes.

Hutchinson News

Amtrak – Amtrak may be forced to abandon parts of the current Southwest Chief route that runs between Chicago and Los Angeles – namely the stretch with stops in Topeka, Newton, Hutchinson, Dodge City and Garden City – in favor of an alternative route that would send the train south of Newton and on through the Texas Panhandle to New Mexico. Deteriorating track conditions that have forced Amtrak to slow its trains through parts of western Kansas have been cited as a possible reason for the move. City officials in Garden City – in addition to Hutchinson and Dodge City, Lamar and La Junta, Colo., and Raton, N.M. – have passed resolutions in support of Amtrak’s rail service through their respective communities. Next up is a summit in April, when one goal would be to explore funding solutions that would help maintain Amtrak in Garden City and other communities.

Garden City Telegram

Frank Martin – In the matter of Frank Martin’s departure from Kansas State University, let’s keep one thing in mind: Actions speak louder than words. And the most important actions are those immediately ahead. Martin left a tradition-rich program coming off of four NCAA Tournament appearances in five years. He could have had a fat raise here, and he could have had a team with the ingredients for a very successful season next year. Yet he chose to go to the last-place team in the SEC, with very little tradition and horrid recent results. Exactly why Martin made that choice will be a subject debated at sports bars for decades to come. Dueling press conferences did little to clarify it.

Manhattan Mercury