Kansas views on gun law, KanCare, gay marriage, prairie chicken

Gun law – Last year, the Legislature passed and Gov. Sam Brownback signed a law declaring Kansas exempt from federal gun regulations. It’s blatantly unconstitutional, but nevertheless on the books. This year, the Legislature has moved seamlessly from defiance to tyranny. Lawmakers are considering bills that would ban cities and counties in the state from regulating gun use, including openly carrying firearms. Local governments wouldn’t even be able to ban the carrying of knives in public buildings. So, Washington shall not tread on Kansas, but Topeka has no problem stomping on the city councils and county commissions that know best what’s good for their communities. Only a legislature blinded by loyalty to the gun lobby would not see the hypocrisy.

Kansas City Star

A recent proposal in the Legislature would call for stripping cities and counties of any power to restrict the open carry of firearms or regulating guns in any way. How ironic that ultraconservative Republicans who do their best to keep the federal government from intervening in what they consider state business now have no problem butting into government decision-making at the local level.

Garden City Telegram

KanCare – KanCare might well prove to be an effective and efficient way to provide health coverage to the state’s disadvantaged residents. But that’s not the case currently. Hospitals are on the hook for back payments, and patients are left navigating a sea of red tape. The move to KanCare was pushed through in an effort to strike while the iron was hot, so to speak. The governor wanted it, the Legislature largely supported it, and there seemed to be little reason to delay implementation in order to learn more about the details. When an opportunity to impose an ideology trumps thoughtfulness and consideration for the state’s residents, it tends to look an awful lot like KanCare and its pothole-filled beginning.

Hutchinson News

Gay marriage – In 2005, Kansas voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that restricted marriage in this state to be between one man and one woman. Since that time, almost 100,000 one-man, one-woman Kansas couples have divorced. Perhaps the argument that same-sex couples threaten the sanctity of holy matrimony should be laid to rest. The marriage amendment has done nothing to decrease the number of same-sex couples statewide. All it has done is allow the state to legally discriminate against them. There is no other way to describe how heterosexual couples are allowed all the rights and incidents of marriage while homosexual couples are not.

Hays Daily News

Prairie chicken – In pushing a state law to exclude the lesser prairie chicken in Kansas from federal protection that doesn’t exist yet, Secretary of State Kris Kobach is picking an unnecessary and probably expensive fight with the federal government. It’s a fight the Legislature should reject.

Manhattan Mercury

A bill approved in a Kansas Senate committee declares that any federal law that protects either the greater or lesser prairie chicken would be null and void in Kansas. Never mind the problems with the state seeking to prosecute federal officers who are doing their job. State officials should put more effort into saving this native species and less into setting up a legal fight with the federal government.

Lawrence Journal-World