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Chat about the 2006 campaign with Attorney General Phill Kline

October 9, 2006

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Attorney General Phill Kline

<a href="http://www2.ljworld.com/elections/2006/nov/07/candidates/kline/">Phill Kline</a>, a Republican, was first elected as the state's attorney general in 2006. He faces Democrat <a href="http://www2.ljworld.com/elections/2006/nov/07/candidates/morrison/">Paul Morrison</a> in this year's election. He takes your questions at 2 p.m. Oct. 9.

<a href="http://www2.ljworld.com/news/politics/elections/2006/kansas/ag/">See more about the Attorney General race »</a>

<em><strong>Editor's note, October 11, 2006:</strong> During the chat below, Atty. Gen. Phill Kline claimed to quote Mike Merriam, attorney for the Kansas Press Assn., in support of actions he took during his first term in office. <a href="http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/oct/11/kpa_attorney_disputes_kline_claim/?elections_2006">Merriam has disputed the accuracy of the quote, and Kline's campaign has offered an apology.</a></em>

Moderator:

Hi folks! I'm Joel Mathis, managing editor for convergence. Today we have Attorney General Phill Kline with us, to take your questions about his campaign for re-election. He's here with us, and we'll get rolling.

Attorney General Phill Kline:

Hello, it is my pleasure to be with you today.

justthefacts:

What differences, if any, are there between the type(s) of legal work done by an Attorney General and a District Attorney for a major county?

Attorney General Phill Kline:

First, we have some similarities. My office has prosecuted over 60 homicide cases since I have been Attorney General and we have oversite of the appeals of Kansas criminal cases. Furthermore, the office is generally involved in more serious criminal prosecutions. Much of the office, however, deals with civil litigation - the water cases against Nebraska and Colorado; defending the state in various lawsuits; representing state agencies; the Health Midwest case against Missouri - these efforts consume a tremendous amount of time.

KatieGirl:

What is your response to the Sedgwick County D.A.'s statement that you and your office's investigation into abortion records had nothing to do with the prosecution of sex offender Robert Estrada? Do you think you have a civic duty to issue a correction for your misrepresentations and cease using the false example in your stump speeches and debates?

Attorney General Phill Kline:

The District Attorney was responding to a reporter's question about "prosecution of the case." We do not prosecute unless invited in by the local agency and that generally does not happen in our state's 6 largest counties. The DA did confirm that my office referred evidence involving a child rape to her office in October of 2005. Subsequently, in November of 2005 a man was charged with child rape. He was sentenced this week. The evidence indicates he raped his step-children over a period of years resulting in four pregnancies and more than one abortion. It took far too long to bring this person to justice.

Attorney General Phill Kline:

Additionally, the case illustrates why we need these reports. For years the step-father would claim that the girls were impregnanted by a boyfriend when this was false.

ModerateJo:

Have you actually seen the subpoenaed medical files in Alpha/Beta?

Attorney General Phill Kline:

The District Court has closed this part of the investigation. I can affirmatively state that my office has referred evidence involving child rape to local prosecutors based on abortion records.

youngitized:

Why do you continue your crusade against the abortion clinics, when there are more pressing issues such as identity theft, price gouging at the gas pumps, and preserving our right to privacy?

Attorney General Phill Kline:

First of all, it is the media that focuses on this issue not I. I have devoted my time to successfully arguing before the United States Surpeme Court, passing Jessica's law, establishing the Vulnerable Adults Task Force, breaking open the Kaufman case, establishing the Abuse and Neglect Unit to protect our elderly, initiating the lawsuit regarding the towing company here in Lawrence, etc.

Attorney General Phill Kline:

But I must mention that my office has been involved in over 700 cases of adults sexually exploiting children since I have been Attorney General. Our Cyber Crimes Task Force has placed over 90 Internet predators of children behind bars and we have pursued several cases of child rape.

In every case of child rape you use the corroborating physical evidence reflected in the medical file to support the child's testimony. Child witnesses are often terrified to confront their abusers and you need these medical records. Paul knows this and has admitted that he has sought medical records in his cases.

As it relates to my investigation of criminal late-term and partial birth abortion - we never sought the identity of the adult women and you cannot prove the case without reviewing the doctor's notation regarding the procedure used.

A District Court Judge found probable cause to believe that crimes have occurred and that evidence of the crimes are in the records. The Judge issued a subpoenaed the records. It is my job to enforce the law and I will.

voice:

The Attorney General's Office is charged with enforcing the laws of the land. Currently, the United States Supreme Court provides women the opportunity to choose abortion, without restraint, during the first tri-mester. Will your office vigorously enforce a woman's right to choose AND defend her right to acquire medical treatment to end pregnancies?

Attorney General Phill Kline:

Yes. That is my job.

Laura:

General Kline: My question is straight-forward. I am a Jewish woman in an office with 50 people, three of whom know I'm a Jew. It's simply not relevant. Why do you believe your Christian values have anything to do with your job as Attorney General?

Attorney General Phill Kline:

Our values animate us and are important to each of us. I believe, and I don't mean to assume to much, that your concern is whether I believe government should impose a specific religious belief. I do not believe it should do so. I strongly support the religious freedoms we have in this nation and have great respect for your faith. I also cherish the freedom I have to share my faith to those who desire to know more about it.

Baille:

Justify your position that it is desirable for the law to treat consensual sex between minor partners of the same gender more harshly than consensual sex between minors of different genders.

Attorney General Phill Kline:

I do not support that position and voted against the law you are referring to. This law was a part of SB 149 that passed the legislature in 1999. I voted against the bill. My opponent in this election stated he would have voted for the bill.

When I became Attorney General I inherited a lawsuit challenging the law. Mr. Limon was convicted for his 3rd offense of molesting a child. He was sentenced under the more harsh provision in SB 149 because his actions were homosexual rather than heterosexual. This occurred prior to my becoming Attorney General. General Stovall defended the law as it is the role of Attorney General to do. The case went to the United States Supreme Court and then was remanded for further consideration. That's when I came in office and I also defended the law although I disagreed with the policy. I do believe it was the legislature's perogative and Governor Graves, who signed the law, right to have such a law.

Baille:

SB 323 did not cut any prison sentences. No one got out early. It cut post-release supervison. Lots of examples have been given about how ex-cons have committed crimes following their release but no one has showed that these convicts would not have reoffended if still being supervised. It hasn't been done because it can't be done. There is no causal relationship. Ex-cons reoffend on parole and off parole. Maybe you disagree. Please explain how being on supervised parole keeps ex-cons from reoffending and cite an example of where that has happened.

Attorney General Phill Kline:

False. Read the Capital Journal article this morning. Also, go to www.paulspolicy.com and you can read the original Kansas Department of Corrections source documents that show the impact of SB 323 which Paul Morrison helped write and which I opposed.

The KDOC January 2001 newsletter points out that the bill released early from prison 887 inmates in the first 6 months and that over 50% of those inmates were medium and maximum security inmates.

Furthermore, the bill reduced probation and post-release supervision up to 75% on crimes such as: intentional torture of a child, failure to register as a sex offender, aggravated sexual battery, arson, shooting at a home when no one was hurt, etc.

Since its inception over 1,500 of those inmates with shortened sentences have gone out on our streets, found new victims and committed new crimes and have been caught, tried and convicted and are back in prison. Claims it did not reduce sentences are flat out false.

FormerCentralKansan:

Phill---what is the single biggest challenge you see Kansas facing over the next 4 years? Also, what you have done to protect Kansans from possible terrorist attacks?

Attorney General Phill Kline:

We must expand our prison bed space and stop using our sentencing guidelines as a budget tool rather than tool for justice. This is the primary difference between my opponent and I. I have consistently sought to expand prison capacity while he has consistently sought to release people early and shorten sentences.

I have the honor of overseeing the KBI and we word directly with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice regarding those in our nation who may pose a threat to homeland security.

kugrad:

Exactly how many cases did you try in court, meaning you were the lead attorney in the courtroom giving oral arguments, prior to becoming attorney general? If you must estimate, use small incremental steps such as 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, etc.

Thank you,
kugrad

Attorney General Phill Kline:

My practice primarily consisted of construction mediation and arbitration. Early in my career my caseload was more substantial in number and less substantial in size of the case. I would average about 20 cases at a time. In my specialty of practice, however, I would be primarily responsible for 1 or 2 cases the cases were so mammoth in size. For example, my representation of the State of California consumed more than one year. My representation of Emerson Electric in a terrible accident in Hutchinson involving a salt plant consumed an enormous amount of time. Conversely, I represented the prison doctor at Lansing from inmate lawsuits and I would work 10-15 cases at a time. My experience in the law has been much more broad than Pauls who has had one type of case in one district court and has never entered private practice.

haggisgirl:

Your Director of Consumer Protection has been arrested 12 times. You hired your nephew who had a suspended driver's license for refusing to take a breathalyzer test and was on probation for drug charges. If re-elected will you agree to stop hiring people with criminal records to work in the Attorney General's office?

Attorney General Phill Kline:

Bryan Brown was engaged in peaceful civil disobedience and all charges were misdemeanors. This does not disqualify you from the practice of law and he is a lawyer in good standing doing a great job as the consumer chief.

My nephew made a few mistakes in his youth. He does not deserve a million dollar campaign on his head. He did a good job in constituent service and now has started his own business. Its time to deal with the real issues Kansans are concerned with not this continued mischaracterization and character assasination of those who are not even involved in running for office.

SettingTheRecordStraight:

General Kline,
Can you tell us about your program Operation PADLOC? Thanks.

Moderator:

We're going to pose two more questions to the A.G.

Attorney General Phill Kline:

I initiated an effort to apprehend those who refused to follow the rules on probation or post-release supervision. These are the folks who committed crimes, and afterwards still flaunted the rules. They are most likely to reoffend. We initiating a Task Force and apprehended over 100 absconders or fugitives from justice who had committed some violent crimes. We are in the process of renewing this effort through PADLOC III. We already apprehended one person wanted for child rape who was identified through my investigation involving medical records - the same one that Mr. Morrison says he would end and of which he has been highly critical. We will continue this effort.

Kropotkin:

How can you say you're for "Open Government" and less secrecy, when you met with the six member "Born Again" majority of the Kansas Board of Education on 2/8/05, in two groups, a moment apart, in an attempt to evade the requirements of the Kansas Open Meetings Act? One member of that Board admitted the day previous that it was your intent to do so. AG Stovall had issued opinions that such "serial meetings" violated the Act. You've admitted that the meeting was requested by you to encourage the Board majority to require placement of stickers in textbooks that would have challenged the theory of evolution, though a Federal court in Georgia ruled this illegal only a month earlier.

Attorney General Phill Kline:

The attorney for the Kansas Press Association stated of these meetings: "it is remarkable the length the Attorney General will go to to comply with the law."

I believe that says it all. There was no violation and I am not even subject to the law in this instance.

I can say I support open government based on my record of supporting open government. I helped write the law that opened the books for Schools for Fair Funding. I weighed in on the dispute about whether the books were open relating to the new KU Athlethic Director and it made the difference. I am the only Attorney General in Kansas history to voluntarily release all outside counsel fees (which are significantly less than my predecessor).

moderation:

General Kline,

What are your top accomplishments as Kansas Attorney General?

What do you hope to accomplish in your next term?

Thanks,
Mike
Lawrence

Attorney General Phill Kline:

1. Kansas laws were among the weakest in the nation regarding predatory activity against children four years ago. Now they are among the toughest. We passed Jessica's law; increased the statute of limitations, closed the loophole regarding child pornography, increased the penalties for soliciting children for sex and promoting child prostitution.
2. I helped establish the Cyber Crimes Task Force and we have put over 90 Internet predators of children in prison.
3. Meth labs are down 70% with the passage of Matt Samuel's law and aggressive investigaiton, prosecution and education.
4. I established the Vulnerable Adults Task Force to prevent scams against the developmentally disabled and seniors and was the first AG in the nation to sue for price gouging regarding flu vaccine.
5. I argued and won before the United States Supreme Court.
6. We've won key water victories against Nebraska and Colorado.
7. I won the Health Midwest case against Missouri and we now have a $100 million plus foundation to help the poor get health care.
8. We became the first state in the nation to take trainers into our schools and communities in the Netsmartz program to keep our children safe on the Internet.
9. I took the Salons of Hope program statewide to help with the reporting of domestic violence by enlisting the care and compassion of our state's cosmetologists.

These are a few of the accomplishments.

In the second term I will continue to work for expanded prison capacity; increase penalties; build on our success regarding violence against dependent seniors and work to make protection from abuse orders more effective.

Moderator:

We're thankful that Atty. Gen. Phill Kline joined us today -- and thanks to all of you who posed questions; we're sorry that we couldn't get to them all. We're still trying to get Paul Morrison, Mr. Kline's opponent, in for a chat. In the meantime, join us Wednesday when we have two Democrats running for Congress: U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore and Nancy Boyda. Thanks again, Mr. Kline!

Attorney General Phill Kline:

Thank you Mr. Mathis it was my pleasure to join you today.

Comments

Kodiac 7 years, 6 months ago

Kline is lying about SB323.

His full response on this is "False. Read the Capital Journal article this morning. Also, go to www.paulspolicy.com and you can read the original Kansas Department of Corrections source documents that show the impact of SB 323 which Paul Morrison helped write and which I opposed. The KDOC January 2001 newsletter points out that the bill released early from prison 887 inmates in the first 6 months and that over 50% of those inmates were medium and maximum security inmates. Furthermore, the bill reduced probation and post-release supervision up to 75% on crimes such as: intentional torture of a child, failure to register as a sex offender, aggravated sexual battery, arson, shooting at a home when no one was hurt, etc. Since its inception over 1,500 of those inmates with shortened sentences have gone out on our streets, found new victims and committed new crimes and have been caught, tried and convicted and are back in prison. Claims it did not reduce sentences are flat out false."

The last sentence made by Kline "Claims it did not reduce sentences are flat out false." is a complete lie. There are other fabrications in this response as well but the last statement is a so incredibly apparent as a deception and a lie. Read the KC star's article http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/front/15727397.htm

for the facts regarding SB323.

Why would anyone vote for this known liar.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

And Phill's determined course down the lowest road possible in his bid to remain AG continues unabated:

"A news media attorney said Tuesday that Atty. Gen. Phill Kline intentionally violated the state open meetings law and misrepresented his opinion about the matter during an Internet chat with the Lawrence Journal-World. "My view was, and is, that the serial meetings conducted by the Board of Education members with Mr. Kline were intentional violations of the Open Meetings Act," said Mike Merriam, who represents the Kansas Press Assn. "Mr. Kline has no basis to cite me in support of his actions." Kline, through a spokeswoman, promptly offered a public apology. "The attorney general apologizes to Mr. Merriam, if in fact he did misquote him," said Sherriene Jones, a Kline spokeswoman."

Klassicc

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kawryan 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't have time to read TFA, did anyone ask him why he is such a $%&@ bag?

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HadOurPhill 7 years, 6 months ago

Kline's answers aren't even in line with his own TV spots.

If you search "Phill Kline" on YouTube, his TV ad has been posted there.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=phill+kline

That ad shows him arguing before a jury. In his answer about his legal experience, he makes it clear he has never once appeared before his peers. He also makes it clear in his answer he has never prosecuted a crime, which his ad indicates is the top job of our state's top cop.

I guess if I want an AG whose legal experience is defending a construction firm and one appearance before the US Supreme Court that actually cost as much as we pay Phill Kline every year... I've got my man!

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Cait McKnelly 7 years, 6 months ago

"BTW, as many as 1/3 or more of all abortion procedures are done on women who are not pregnant. Why? The abortion clinic makes money by performing abortions. I'm sure when someone walks in and says, "I think I'm pregnant and want an abortion" that the clinic is only to happy to take care of her."


Not sure where this statistic came from. You can't perform an abortion on an unpregnant woman. A lot of clinics that provide abortions provide total women's health care. Perhaps this is what the poster was referring to? Is this health care provided wrong just because it comes from a clinic that also provides abortions? Or does this mean that this is how "Operation Resuce" skews it's so called statistics? I'm confused. Is this person angry that abortions WEREN'T performed?

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bjamnjm 7 years, 6 months ago

I appreciated his answers to questions. He made a lot of people asking ignorant questions about abortion, abortion rights and abortion records look silly. He seemed quite professional and prepared for the questions he received. I have no problem voting for him again.

BTW, as many as 1/3 or more of all abortion procedures are done on women who are not pregnant. Why? The abortion clinic makes money by performing abortions. I'm sure when someone walks in and says, "I think I'm pregnant and want an abortion" that the clinic is only to happy to take care of her.

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macon47 7 years, 6 months ago

just trust a politician like you would a pit bull, or ex spouse.

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moderator 7 years, 6 months ago

I can't wait to put my vote down for Paul Morrison. The sun will come out tomarrow.

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macon47 7 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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rhd99 7 years, 6 months ago

I read part of the transcript. Kline's answers are not straight forward, & he is on a fishing expedition of people's privacy especially when it comes to women's records that are on file at abortion clinics. Kline MUST be voted OUT next month.

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Lethargic_Bureaucrat 7 years, 6 months ago

Kline also did not give a straight answer to the number of cases he's tried in court. Being assigned to a case as a junior associate is a very different thing from being lead counsel at a trial.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

That's right. The question to Kline was whether the inquest - which he pursued in the most vain-glorious manner possible - produce actionable results. And he responded that he referred evidence based on abortion records to prosecutors. Well, that's not the question is it? Did the medical records produced in camera as a result of the litigitation in Alpha Med. Clinic v. Kline lead to anything? No one cares whether any abortion records ever produced have led to prosecutions. The question is what happened in this case. And he ducked the question like the double-talking politician that he is.

Some of you may remember this case as the one where Kline revealed his true character: "Kline admitted that he attached sealed court records to a brief he knew would be unsealed; that he did so knowingly because, in his sole estimation, he believed it to be necessary to further his arguments; that he held a press conference on this criminal matter merely because he determined that petitioners had painted his previous actions in an unflattering light; and that he later permitted his staff to provide electronic copies of the sealed transcript to anyone who requested them."

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ModerateJo 7 years, 6 months ago

" I can affirmatively state that my office has referred evidence involving child rape to local prosecutors based on abortion records. "

I thought that those records had not been handed over yet due to the lawsuit. Am I mistaken?


That's what I thought too, Porter. And notice he didn't answer the simple yes/no question directly.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

Oh please. Observation my... You did not observe that I spent any definite amount of time on the internet. You suggested I should spend more time on my studies. Implicit in this statement is a criticism of where I choose to spend my time and focus my attention. Call it what you will, it had nothing to do with the issues and everything to do with me as an individual. Save it, OLR. I am not here for a pissing match over semantics. If that is why you joined, there are other forums in town that may be more to your liking. In any case, either participate or not, but spare me your "observations."

And no. You are wrong. I am not a 1L, 2L or 3L. And I did not attend KU's school of law.

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OnlyLawrenceRepublican 7 years, 6 months ago

I didn't criticize, I made an observation. I'm curious if I'm right by the way. 1L or 2L? If I had to bet on it I'd say 1L.

KU presumably???

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

It would be more consistent certainly.

"By the way, I never criticized your argument..."

I know. That is the problem. You find it easy with your JD to criticize my "time managment" yet you offer nothing of substance.

The fact is that Kline has taken indefensible positions on the issues of mandated reporting and the state's Romeo and Juliette Law. He has also insisted on receiving unredacted medical files from medical providers when a less intrusive means of acquirring those records was available. When the heat is on, he has a tendency to violate court orders, act unethically, and distort the record. He continues this pattern with his misleading statements about SB 323, which let no prisoners out of prisons before their time was served but instead released some ex-convicts form post-release supervision.

If you disagree, then please explain your position.

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Joel 7 years, 6 months ago

Hi folks:

We typically let commenters have the run of the place without response, but I just want to clear up one misconception real quick:

No chatter -- including the attorney general -- gets to "pick and choose" the questions they take. The moderator does the picking and choosing, based on the questions you submit.

Hope that helps.

Joel Mathis Managing Editor for Convergence

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SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 6 months ago

It's amazing how thoroughly twisted the lies about Phill Kline can get. He certainly provided insight on many levels about many topics.

It's time to stope the distortion about Phill Kline's record.

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Porter 7 years, 6 months ago

" I can affirmatively state that my office has referred evidence involving child rape to local prosecutors based on abortion records. "

I thought that those records had not been handed over yet due to the lawsuit. Am I mistaken?

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Steve Jacob 7 years, 6 months ago

You have to give the guy credit. I am guessing he gets to pick and choose questions, and he did not dodge the tough ones.

Still no way in heck I vote for him

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oldgoof 7 years, 6 months ago

And a hat-tip, and cheerio to Baille, who helps keep us focused on Mr. Kline's bold-faced deceptions. Baille states the facts on 323 correctly. . This Republican likes Marines, and would not mind having Mr. Kline in the Marines, if he would not twist the military code the way he does with the truth in his civil life. Integrity is integrity...in civil or military life.

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OnlyLawrenceRepublican 7 years, 6 months ago

My knowledge of the law is limited to what I learned in a Jack Nicholson movie, what I learned in three years at Washburn, what I learned from my clerkship, what I learned while studying for the bar, what I've learned in practice, and what I learned while watching My Cousin Vinny - which you'll find to be a very accurate movie when you get to trial advocacy classes. I highly recommend it.

By the way, I never criticized your argument, simply your time management. And it was more of an observation that critique.

As for your invitation, I decline.

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oldgoof 7 years, 6 months ago

....Phill Kline is watching you.....

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

It's Kline. Phill Kline. And if your knowledge of the law is limited to what you learn in a Tom Cruise movie, you have no basis to criticize my arguments. As a matter of fact, I would invite you to rebut my arguments. Argue back. Discuss the issues. If I am wrong, I am wrong. But we aren't going to find that out by being ***holes.

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OnlyLawrenceRepublican 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm sorry, your 1L course work.

I believe Mr. Cline is to Kansas as Col. Jessep was to the U.S. in A Few Good Men. The bottom line is, we need men like Phill Cline on that wall.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow, OLR, you are right. Thank you.

Thank you for worrying about my success and my well-being. My god, if you hadn't spoken out, I am not sure what I would have done. You, sir, are a true Christian gentleman - obviously filled with empathy and driven by a deep-seated compassion to reach out and help those you see heading for trouble. Thank you, sir. Thank you for not responding with some empty ad hominem attack. Thank you for seeing past my positions and my arguments and identifying the true issue in this thread.

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Ray Parker 7 years, 6 months ago

The best answers on Kansas issues I have seen in a long time, General Kline. Please win another term in office.

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Phillbert 7 years, 6 months ago

If the AG were really concerned about SB 323, then perhaps he would have repealed the law at some point over the past 4 years.

Instead, not once was it on his "legislative agenda." He also could have worked for its repeal as a member of the Sentencing Commission.

Instead, the AG NEVER ATTENDED A SINGLE MEETING.

Sounds like he's only concerned about SB 323 for a few months every four years. For the rest of the time, he's more concerned with looking at my medical records.

Thanks!

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OnlyLawrenceRepublican 7 years, 6 months ago

Baille, shouldn't you spend more time on your 2L work load and less time on the internet??

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helix 7 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

Oh, and Kline argued the merits of discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Limon case and personally championed that position in at least one public address held before the appellate arguments were made.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

Not False.

cjonline.com:

"SB 323 shortened sentences for 8,505 Kansas offenders.

"In simple terms, the legislation cut in half the period of post-release supervision the offenders were to serve."

According to all the media accounts I have seen, it did not release anyone from prison early. Apparently, 47 people reoffended between their 12th and 24th month out of prison and then reoffended again. These people would have gone back to prison before the law passed for a parole violation. However, could they not have gone back for the first reoffense? And how would being on supervised probation stop anyone from re-offending?

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