Statehouse Live: More school districts consider funding lawsuit; Democratic Party petition opposes GOP health care amendment; Tiahrt compares Democratic Party to communism, report says

? In school board votes earlier this week, the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville, Hays and Newton school districts have said they will join a possible lawsuit against the state to increase funding for schools.

There are now 30 school districts in Schools for Fair Funding, the organization that several years ago filed the successful lawsuit that led to court-ordered increases in school finance and changes in the way funding was allocated.

But this year, public schools have been cut by state officials because of dwindling tax revenues. More cuts are likely to be announced in the next few weeks, prompting some school officials to consider filing another school funding lawsuit.

The school districts say lawmakers have a constitutional duty to properly fund schools, and that they have shirked that duty by cutting taxes over the past few years.

3:23 p.m.

The State Democratic Party reported it had a petition signed by 7,700 Kansans urging lawmakers to reject a proposed constitutional amendment that is designed to block federal health reform in Kansas.

The petition drive started last week following news conferences by state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, and state Reps. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichtia, and Peggy Mast, R-Emporia. The legislators said their proposed amendment would prohibit requiring Kansans to buy health insurance under any government plan.

But Democrats said the proposal offered by the GOP lawmakers was partisan and hypocritical.

The Democratic Party petition stated:

“Americans are on the brink of benefiting from substantive and meaningful health insurance reform. Unfortunately, Republican legislators in Kansas are moving quickly to opt out of the reform and deny Kansans the options that will be made available to consumers in other states. Kansans deserve the opportunity to benefit from that legislation — not failed leadership from extreme right-wing politicians looking to score cheap political points.”

11:11 a.m.

In a talk given at Pittsburg State University on Monday, U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, used the terms “communism” and “socialism” to describe the Democratic Party, according to the Pittsburg Morning Sun.

Tiahrt faces U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, for the GOP nomination to run for the Senate seat being left open by U.S. Sen. Sam Browback, R-Kan., who is running for governor.

This from the Morning Sun: He (Tiahrt) said that Democrats wanted to get people “into a life of dependency” from “cradle to the grave.”

“That didn’t work in Russia,” Tiahrt said. “And it didn’t work in Germany.”