You made it to Friday. Congratulate yourself right now.
• “Does that mean we should stop trying to find one and continue being perceived as the ‘part of no?’ You tell me.” — Missouri state Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, in an op-ed in which he urged his GOP colleagues to continue searching for an acceptable solution to expanding Medicaid and improving health care in the state.
Silvey continues to demonstrate that he's willing to think out of the box to solve tough problems, and the issue of expanding Medicaid is definitely one of those. The GOP-led General Assembly appears ready to pull the plug again this year on expanding Medicaid. Silvey’s piece is a call to arms to think creatively about the issue as some other states have done and try to find some sort of solution.
• “Education is supposed to be a top priority — not dead last.” — Missouri House Democratic Leader Jake Hummel complaining that Republicans underfunded, and under-prioritized, public schools in the new state budget.
Hummel was upset because Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon proposed a $278 million boost to public school spending next year, but Republicans provided only $122 million more. Schools would receive the remaining $156 million only after “every other expense of state government has received its designated funding.” What Hummel didn’t say was that Nixon over the years has withheld funds for a variety of programs to make sure the state could afford them. Republicans really aren't doing anything different.
• “Much has changed since this discriminatory measure was passed in 2004.” — State Rep. Mike Colona, a St. Louis Democrat, on legislation he introduced Thursday to repeal Missouri's constitutional ban on gay marriage.
The ban passed in 2004 with 71 percent support. A decade later, Colona thinks the state is ready to wipe it out and allow gay marriage in the state. He’s premature with that, and he probably knows it. It’d be interesting to see if a majority of Missourians would now back gay marriage. The guess here is they would not. Still, Colona is trying to pave the way for a change sometime in the future.
• “Without water, agriculture, our state’s largest industry, cannot thrive.” — Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey on the impact of the drought in western Kansas.
McClaskey announced Thursday that the USDA had designated 10 mostly western Kansas counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas, making them eligible for various forms of federal aid. The designation comes as Kansas is attempting to develop a vision for water usage, an issue on which Gov. Sam Brownback has led. Some farmers and ranchers fear the problem is far worse than most of us urban dwellers believe it is.