The normally staid House Speaker Doug Mays sounded like he was auditioning for an HBO special on Friday.
Mays, a veteran Republican from Topeka, bristled at comments by Wichita lawyer Alan Rupe, who is the lead attorney for schools that have successfully sued the state over school finance.
More about school finance
- Webcast of live arguments before the Kansas Supreme Court (requires Windows Media Player)
- Brief of the Montoy suit (.pdf)
- Timeline of events in school finance lawsuit
- 6News video: School finance bill to face court
- Plaintiffs: School finance bill fails grade (06-13-06)
- State wants high court to dismiss school suit (06-02-06)
- Legislature approves school finance plan (05-10-06)
- Chat with Bob Corkins, Kansas Education Commissioner (02-02-06)
- House roll call on $148.4 million school finance plan (07-07-05)
- Supt. Weseman's contingency plan (07-06-05)
- More about school finance »
- Conference Committee on Senate Bill 549
- House bill info
- Senate bill info
- Kansas public schools cost study
- Kansas public schools cost study executive summary
- Public Education Finances 2004 (.pdf)
- Senate roll call on $148.4 million school finance plan
- Supreme Court's Show Cause Order (07-02-05)
- Supreme Court's Order Denying Extension (.pdf)
- Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 1603 (.pdf)
- Supplemental Note on Resolution No. 1603 (.pdf)
Rupe blasted a three-year, $500 million school funding increase as inadequate. Mays responded, telling his hometown newspaper on Thursday: "Alan Rupe can shove it up his ass. He's just another greedy lawyer trying to make millions off the schoolchildren of the state."
When questioned Friday about the outburst, Mays was unapologetic.
"I don't apologize one bit. I'm sorry I used what some may consider a cuss word," he said.
Mays said his wife scolded him for the comment.
"I will refrain from using anything that approaches a cuss word in public again as long as I'm a public official," Mays said.
But about two hours later, Mays went PG-13 again.
Rupe had said he wouldn't ask Mays for an apology, saying, "If he were to apologize for things he should apologize for, it would just take too long."
Mays responded, "It's like my Dad used to say: Never get in a pissing match with a skunk."
Rupe said Mays needs to focus on the problems of school finance.
"It's important to keep focused on what the issues are. We can certainly disagree but not be disagreeable," Rupe said. "Our focus from Day 1 is Kansas kids that aren't getting an adequate and equitable education."
Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said he was disappointed by Mays' remarks.
Of Rupe, Hensley said: "He's only representing his clients - clients who happen to have a pretty strong case."
The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled the school finance system unconstitutional because it shortchanges all students, especially those from low-wealth districts.
Mays conceded he may be more free with his comments because he's in his last year in the Legislature. Last year, he had briefly jumped in the race for governor, but then bowed out and announced he would not seek re-election in the House.
"If I were still running for governor, I sure wouldn't say that," he said.
Mays was teased and applauded by some Friday as he presided over the House. Rep. Bob Grant, D-Cherokee, quipped, "I've been saying that stuff for years and never got a standing ovation."