Open it up
Thank you to The Star for the series on Kansas legislative secrecy. It is very interesting to read after the fact about representatives who have been aware of the secrecy and have done nothing about it, but rather adopted policies of blind acceptance.
To me, these revelations from people who are supposed to be representing the people of Kansas are too little, too late. If you submit a bill, put your name on it. If you are in a meeting, keep minutes and publish them. Be proud of your votes for or against and publish those votes for everything.
This is called transparency and is what most logical residents of this state expect.
We already knew
I appreciate The Star’s recent stories about systemic problems in the Kansas Legislature, in particular the “gut-and-go” philosophy where significant parts of a bill are changed, often secretly, to insert controversial unrelated items, without further discussion or hearings.
Often, especially until a few years ago, legislators had to vote not knowing what was actually in a bill because they were provided either no copy of the bill or insufficient time to read it.
My question is: Why did it take you so long to publicize this? I learned about some of these practices at least three years ago (though it had been going on earlier) by attending Mainstream Coalition forums and “Legislative Coffees” programs sponsored by the Johnson County Library and League of Women Voters.
With the Republican supermajority, there was no way to change the rules. Now that some (but not all) of the most extreme legislators have been replaced by moderate Democrats and Republicans, we are starting to see changes, but we still have a long way to go for transparency.
We need The Star to be a watchdog and the voters to pay attention and vote in 2018.
Finally we have bipartisan agreement: Let’s make America grope again.
Too much activity
I attend Liberty High School, and I believe there should be a system that considers a student’s participation in school sports as a credit in physical education.
Forcing athletes to partake in demanding, unnecessary physical education classes can hinder their athletic performance. It can also take away from the education they could be getting if they were attending academic classes instead.
The goal of physical education classes is to develop students’ physical activity. But student-athletes are already achieving this goal.
In some cases, these students practice twice a day. Forcing them to work out a third time is plainly too much.
Luke Wachob’s commentary “Danica Roem’s win proves we don’t need to restrict spending” provides an interesting, albeit convoluted, glimpse into the thinking of those who want “free speech” to be very expensive. (Nov. 16, 17A)
He argued that Roem’s political victory in Virginia shows that because Roem received large amounts of money from out of state, it proves there is no need to be concerned or regulate spending on political campaigns.
If that sounds awkward, it certainly is. It is illogic that doubles back on itself in an attempt to appear logical.
Curious about Wachob’s background and business ties, I went to the website of the Institute for Free Speech, where he works. Sure enough, the institute takes positions that reflect a notion that there should be no campaign spending limits and that dark money is free speech.
It would be interesting to know who funds the Institute for Free Speech in its attempt to make speech very expensive.
Keep it in the U.S.
This new tax bill would hurt me and my family. It is aimed directly at my lower-middle-class tax bracket, and it is aimed at my employers by making it easier for them to move my job overseas.
If I lose my job, it is going to make providing for my wife and 9-month-old daughter terribly hard.
Our members of Congress should all vote no on this new, disastrous tax bill that would gut the American middle class like a hunter guts a five-point buck. It would ship jobs to foreigners.
If this passes, it will create a whole new Rust Belt.
And I won’t forget how they let me and my family down come Election Day.