Death penalty – Thanks to a courageous move by its conservative Legislature, Nebraska will no longer shoulder the emotional and fiscal costs of a death penalty. Lawmakers overrode a veto by their Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, meaning a bill to abolish capital punishment is now law. The reversal of a death penalty law in a conservative Midwestern state is a victory on moral and practical grounds. It ought to provide inspiration for Missouri and Kansas to also end state-sponsored executions.
‘Glide path’ – A recent Legislative Research Department analysis projected dire consequences for Kansas if the “glide path to zero” income tax is allowed to continue. Looking at how steadily decreasing income tax revenue will affect the state budget in the next several years, it’s hard to understand why Gov. Sam Brownback and some state legislators so steadfastly support the policy. Maybe it’s time to look at the facts and set some of the narrow ideology aside.
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Freedom Act – Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., voted last week against the USA Freedom Act – a reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act passed in the wake of Sept. 11 – because, he said, it went too far in reforming the National Security Agency. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., also voted against the USA Freedom Act because, he said, it didn’t go far enough in safeguarding individual rights. Though neither Roberts nor Moran got exactly what he wanted, the citizens may have gotten something important: continued security and a less obtrusive federal government. Americans don’t trust their government as much as they once did, and for good reason. But in our current fight, we need vigilant defenders, with only the necessary shackles.
Partisanship – In measuring the level of partisanship in Congress, a report released last week by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University found that the toxic environment in the Capitol is worsening. And guess which part of the country can claim the distinction of contributing the biggest partisan of them all? Yep, Kansas’ Big First. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Hutchinson/Fowler, ranked last of all members of the House for bipartisanship. Americans are disgusted with the political dysfunction in Washington, and Huels-kamp most certainly is part of the problem, not the solution. Voters should cast him from Congress come the next election.
Reservoir – For the first time since its completion, HorseThief Reservoir dam floodgates were opened recently after heavy rain pushed the lake level up some 11 feet. More rain could flood campsites around the 450-acre lake near Jetmore. Though flooding could cause some inconvenience, such temporary setbacks still won’t erase the long-term benefit of HorseThief Reservoir in a region that had cause to support more water recreation opportunities.
Water use – Right now, the area is flush with water from the abundance of rain we’ve received. We’ve also been helped by cool, cloudy weather. But that doesn’t mean we can afford to be casual about water use, whether it’s for our lawns or for agricultural production. Really, we can’t afford to waste a drop.