The Buzz

TheChat: 2016 session leaves one Kansas lawmaker speechless

Good morning.

▪ “While all of the sessions since 2013 have left me nearly speechless, the 2016 session has been particularly bizarre.” — Kansas state Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, evaluating the session so far.

Kelly said key budget decisions are being made “behind closed doors by a select few” when typically they were made in committee in previous years.

▪ “They are trying to get elected, and what is necessary is to reform Social Security and Medicare. And that is not really an electoral winner.” — Howard Wall, a former vice president and regional economics adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, on why presidential candidates aren’t talking about the federal budget deficit.

Times have changed. So has the size of the national budget deficit, which has dropped. Wall’s comments came in connection with a story that noted that federal spending in Missouri in 2014 was the equivalent of 22.8 percent of the state’s economy. (link via

▪ “The clear message is ‘Missourians are demanding a return to law and order.’ And that is true of black, white, brown and any other color in Missouri. We cannot have a peaceful and prosperous Missouri if we had what went on in Ferguson.” — Peter Kinder, a candidate for Missouri governor, commenting on the Michael Brown case in Ferguson.

Kinder and the three other GOP candidates for governor are showing solidarity with law enforcement on the campaign trail when it comes to Ferguson. They also have frequently criticized the protest movement.

▪ “I do think it faces an uphill battle.” — Missouri state Sen. David Pearce, a Warrensburg Republican, on the prospects of passing a small increase in the gas tax this session.

Lawmakers haven’t even taken up the topic of an increase to boost the state’s beleaguered road fund. But Pearce thinks that will change once lawmakers return from their spring break.