Teachers everywhere can peg the type of student who pulls an all-nighter to finish homework that was assigned far earlier in the semester.
They’re the procrastinators, the children prone to avoidance behaviors who are easily distracted by less consequential things.
Politicians also seem to fall into this category, especially those in the Kansas Legislature.
But instead of staying up all night in their pajamas guzzling caffeine and cranking out term papers, lawmakers simply slap taxpayers with inordinate bills for special sessions.
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Each day last week, your fine representatives and senators of Kansas racked up a new $43,000 bill. Stew on that a bit, dear voter. Every. Single. Day. $43,000.
And it’s all because they failed to adequately attend to business during their regular session.
Left undone are trifling tasks, measly matters like passing a school finance formula to comply with a Kansas Supreme Court ruling. They’ve got until June 30 to complete that task and comply with the court’s deadline. Otherwise, ask your local superintendent how he or she will manage their ever-shrinking budgets.
Lawmakers also haven’t managed to pass tax reforms to save the state from the fallout from the disastrous cuts instituted in 2012. Legislators can’t quite agree on how to raise individual tax rates and eliminate certain exemptions for businesses. Without these fixes, the state will continue on its path to insolvency.
And still they dawdle.
Here’s one issue that was deemed more worthy of lawmakers’ time last week. Not the financial health of the state. Not the ability of the state’s school districts to educate children.
They passed an unnecessary slapdown on women’s health clinics that was proudly touted by proponents as another “first-in-the-nation pro-life bill.” The Disclose Act requires a consent document to be downloaded, time-stamped and signed at least 24 hours before an abortion, listing information such as when doctors received their medical degrees, whether they have malpractice insurance and in which state they reside.
The wording must be printed on white paper in black ink using 12-point Times New Roman font. Thank goodness that typographical issue has been resolved.
Somehow, legislators are still working on an urgently needed resolution for the implementation of stricter rules for amusement park rides.
Ten-year-old Caleb Schwab died last year in a horrific incident on the Verrückt water slide at Schlitterbahn water park. In April, the Legislature passed a law requiring increased scrutiny of such rides, and Gov. Sam Brownback signed it. The rules were set to take effect July 1.
But the Legislature didn’t weigh the concerns of the Department of Labor, which will help implement the changes and issue permits when the new regulations are met. So carnivals and amusement parks are caught in limbo.
And summer — high season for such rides — is upon us.
Let no representative or senator in Kansas wonder why the state has drawn nationwide criticism.
The Legislature is living up to those low expectations every single $43,000 day that lawmakers continue to meet while still not resolving the most pressing issues for Kansans.