Opinion Columns & Blogs

Are Koch groups calling the shots in Topeka?

Statehouse observers note a recurring pattern this legislative session: The fate of key bills seems to depend on whether Koch-backed groups support or oppose them. This includes the school block-grant bill – which nearly every school district and educational association opposed and which was publicly supported in testimony only by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Policy Institute. Similarly, hospitals, doctors and other groups overwhelmingly supported Medicaid expansion, but it was opposed by Americans for Prosperity, which threatened to “hold accountable” any lawmakers who supported expansion. “That’s basically David and Charles Koch that run our state Legislature,” Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, told the Lawrence Journal-World. But Rep. Scott Schwab, R-Olathe, countered that lawmakers aren’t influenced by Koch groups. “We’re doing it because we believe it’s the appropriate way to govern, and the Kansas Chamber just happens to agree with us.” – Phillip Brownlee