Opinion Columns & Blogs

Legislative sessions have been worse

As bad as this year’s legislative session has been, it’s not as extreme as the one in 1893 – as reflected in a historical photo that has been circulating on social media. In mid-February that year, People’s Party (Populist) members, who were in a bitter dispute with the Republican Party about control of the Kansas House, barricaded themselves inside the House chamber, the public radio station KCUR in Kansas City, Mo., reported last week. But Republicans broke their way into the chamber using a sledgehammer. Populist Gov. Lorenzo Lewelling then called out the National Guard and several militia companies including Battery “A” of Wichita, which was instructed to bring its Gatling gun. After a 48-hour standoff, the Populists backed down. The dispute was finally resolved when the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of Republican control of the House. – Phillip Brownlee