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Archive for Monday, August 13, 2012

Who wins, loses if Senate shifts to right?

Conservatives have big agenda to push through

August 13, 2012

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— So what will happen should conservative Republicans take over the Kansas Senate when the 2013 legislative session starts in January?

Public schools, middle class families and women are in for a rough ride, according to Democrats as they assessed the political landscape after a slew of moderate Senate leaders were defeated in last week’s Republican Party primary, courtesy of a combined effort from Gov. Sam Brownback, the billionaire Koch brothers, Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Kansans for Life.

“The Kansas Republican Party took another hard right turn away from the ‘middle of the road’ politics that have served our state so well for many decades,” said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. In 2010, the House fell into the hands of conservative Republicans.

“Today, the face of the Republican party is more anti-public school, more anti-worker, more anti-woman and more anti-middle class than ever before,” Davis said.

Brownback said he was going to focus on improving the economy.

“Most Kansans want to grow the economy and increase the number of private sector jobs in our state. We will continue working every day to help Kansans fulfill their aspirations,” he said in a statement after Tuesday’s primary results.

His spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag added, “Like in the primary, we look forward to a debate on the issues important to Kansans such as smaller government, repealing Obamacare and properly funding essential services like schools, social services and public safety.”

Even though “Obamacare” — the Affordable Care Act — is a federal law, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity hammered moderate Republican state legislators in Kansas. The groups said the moderates were against giving Kansans a state constitutional amendment vote to opt out of “Obamacare.” Critics of the proposed constitutional amendment said it was a waste of time and money and dishonest because federal law is the supreme law of the land.

Conservative issues

Republicans already hold a 32-8 edge over Democrats in the Senate. But a combination of moderate Republicans and Democrats has maintained a slight majority on some issues in the Senate over conservatives.

That has likely changed.

In the GOP primary, voters defeated eight moderate Republican senators. After the November general election, conservative Republicans may hold 27 seats, maybe more. Under the scenario where both chambers are in step with Brownback, what follows is a sample of some issues that may have a better chance of becoming law.

  • The “Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” was approved 91-33 in the House during the last legislative session, but moderate Republican Senate leaders let the bill lie dormant as the session ended.
  • The measure would prohibit state and local governments from substantially burdening a person’s religious beliefs unless the government can prove that the burden is advancing a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive way of advancing that interest. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer testified in favor of the bill, and the Kansas Catholic Conference and Concerned Women for America of Kansas supported it. It was opposed by Lawrence officials, the Kansas Equality Coalition and the state chapter of the National Organization for Women. Supporters of the bill said it was needed to prevent government from forcing a person to violate his or her religious beliefs. But opponents of the bill said it would invite discrimination against gays and lesbians and invalidate a Lawrence anti-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation.
  • An anti-abortion bill approved by the House proposed numerous changes to Kansas abortion law, including a provision that would prevent state employees, including doctors-in-training at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., from performing abortions on state property or state time. KU Medical Center officials voiced concerns that the accreditation of its obstetrics and gynecology program would be in danger under the bill. Legislators added a provision saying its medical residents could do abortions off-site, on their own time, for a year, but the Medical Center wanted a permanent exception. Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, had said the Senate needed more time to consider the proposal. He declared the bill “materially altered,” which sent it back to a Senate committee with only a few days left in the legislative session. Morris was defeated in the primary, one of the Republicans targeted by Brownback, who is anti-abortion.
  • Brownback has urged approval of a bill that would give him greater control over appointing judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals. Currently, the governor must select an appeals court judge from among three nominees chosen by a nominating commission. A bill that passed the House in 2011 would allow Brownback to make an appointment subject to Senate confirmation. But the bill died in the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by state Sen. Tim Owens, who said the proposed process would inject more politics into the judicial system. Owens was defeated in the GOP primary.
  • As a U.S. senator, Brownback supported school vouchers and there are many legislators who also endorse this view. Last session, a bill surfaced that would have given taxpayers a 90 percent tax credit for contributions made to an organization that would provide scholarships for students to attend private or parochial schools. House leaders also have pushed for a number of education policy changes that the Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, and Vice Chair John Vratil, R-Leawood, resisted. But Schodorf was defeated in the primary and Vratil is retiring.
  • Democrats say Brownback may make another push to try to get rid of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Brownback sought elimination of the state version of the EITC, which helps low-income families, as part of his tax-cutting package. Brownback’s staff said there were abuses in the EITC system, but advocates for the poor said it is a crucial credit to help low-income families. The Legislature eventually left the EITC intact, but Democrats say conservatives will try again.
  • Conservatives and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce also have pushed for a proposal to restrict labor unions’ ability to raise dues from members’ paychecks and prohibit public employee unions from endorsing candidates. That bill also languished in a Senate committee whose chair is now retiring.
  • Last session, Brownback’s plan on changing the way schools are funded didn’t get much love in the Senate Education Committee. But his proposal may get another look with a more conservative Senate.

Comments

jafs 1 year, 8 months ago

The idea that Ryan is the only one to see the problems with Medicare and SS over the long term is wrong, as is the idea that he's the only one with a plan to help fix them.

The bi-partisan debt reduction commission was quite aware of those problems, and presented a plan.

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walterhomple 1 year, 8 months ago

Quick! Leave the Holy Rolling Empire before the Right's mind fogging radiation removes your ability to read a road map. Head for California.

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msezdsit 1 year, 8 months ago

Who wins, loses if Senate shifts to right?

Kansas loses and the people of Kansas will get kicked around in the dirt because of the fake christian conservatives.

As verity says, these people aren't conservatives. They, as is the case with all their policies, think their opinion trumps science, facts, morality, and the common good of the people. They think they can simply declare themselves conservative and therefore they are conservative.

They would be far more accurate to call themselves the "Third world party" because that is exactly what Kansans ,all but the selected few, will be living in.

Ironically, those who support these fake christian conservatives will ultimately become their victims too. How does that go, Cut your nose of in spite of your face. People who vote against their own best interests ain't so bright.

Insanely greedy radical right wing extremist anti people of the "Third world party", disguising themselves as conservatives of the republican party.

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verity 1 year, 8 months ago

Going to keep saying it---these people are not conservatives. They are exteme reactionaries.

Also noted is the many accusations on these boards by the extreme right that those damned liberals are doing exactly what the extremists themselves are doing. Isn't that from the Karl Rove playbook?

Lies, lies and more lies. Policies that have repeatedly failed held up as supreme truth.

On another matter, I have a number of rural relatives who hate the current administration. It's also not fair to lump all rural people into one group.

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Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 8 months ago

I love this demented distinction between "freeloaders" and "us'ns that work".

The unemployment rate in Kansas is 6%.

Something tells me the right wing crazies who are convinced the state, and nation, are overloaded with freeloaders aren't referring to 6% of the population.

They must be referring to retirees and schoolkids. And the disabled. Bunch of freeloaders, that lot.

As such, there is no other conclusion -- The Kansas right wing/GOP hates old people and children. And the disabled.

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JJE007 1 year, 8 months ago

Does power corrupt? Are those who seek more limitless power more corrupt? Is funding from billionaires an indicator of those seeking more limitless power more corrupted? Are those who vote for power structures designed by the billionaire fools, therefore, more corrupted? Are those who believe they are God's right hand on earth more deluded and egomaniacal than those who oppose egomaniacs? Has anyone ever been manipulated by religious belief? Has anyone ever been influenced by a distribution of funds that benefits them? Has anyone ever been influenced by FUNDS? We are promised jobs and support of our righteous indignation. We are told that God is on one side and not the other. Luckily, this has never happened. This has never lead to revolution and desperation. We will all be much better off by slapping down our neighbors. Enjoy the new prosperity of desperation!

I am SAM I AM and I approve of this comic book message, kids!

I'm sure you have all been taught the right words to say to our opponents. Go now, in love and peace, to serve the self-serving.

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Milton Bland 1 year, 8 months ago

All the freeloaders will lose. And those of us who work for a living will be just fine.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 8 months ago

I predict the following:

-many lawsuits filed

-a lot of time wasted on meaningless legislation

-much embarrassment for Kansas

-very few positive things accomplished

-a lot of quotes from Brownback about "growing the economy" and "creating jobs" with very little of either actually happening

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wastewatcher 1 year, 8 months ago

When will the L J World start reporting news and quit being a shill for the extreme LIBERALS? The headline should give the truth about the article and not be a bait and switch like this one is.

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toe 1 year, 8 months ago

Everyone wins, ergo no one lose.

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Liberal 1 year, 8 months ago

“Today, the face of the Republican party is more anti-public school, more anti-worker, more anti-woman and more anti-middle class than ever before,” Davis said.

Very disgusted with Paul's quote here. To say that the republicans are anti-everything is disingenuous at best and an outright lie at its worst.

What the republicans are in favor of is being able to pay for the things we have instead of drowning us in dept and promising all things to all people.

Yes I am sure that republicans Hate children and want to dumb down society. That they hate workers who will take the jobs that are created in the state. They hate women because...well what's to like? And who needs a middle class all they do is take money from the super rich?

Ridiculous and despicable rhetoric from someone who I thought was a respected member of the opposition.

Education expenses have gone up exponentially and yet the education we are getting is ranked 17th in the world. Clearly the liberal policies of the past 40 years in education are not working.

Working on having companies in the state is pro-worker. What Paul Means is that there is great concern over the way public unions operate in Government allowing the "workers" to bid against the taxpayers or to put it another way - Negotiate against ourselves.

Being prolife is not being anti-women. If it is than what the dems are saying is that they are Anti-babies, that statement is just as stupid as Paul's.

Creating incentives for companies to form and relocate to the state is not anti-middle class. In fact it is pro-middle class as it provides the jobs in which the middle class will thrive. Let's see how have the dems been doing on Job creation? I think we all know the answer to that. clearly they do not understand what it takes to create jobs, they do know how to give handouts for votes however....nice.

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irvan moore 1 year, 8 months ago

i'm thinking soylent green is the retirement plan brownback has in mind for us

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 8 months ago

Kansas looses. Brownbackwards has sold the government to the Koch family. This is not a first is history, past history is repleat with evidence of the dangers of facism and extremism. And it has never been more evident that the results of the clueless western Kansas voters than with this last "election" The slippery slide has started, the decent to facism and the ideals of the Nazi party. Could never happen yere??? It happened once when the people gave the government to Hitler and failure of the citizens to be aware of the dangers of that pose a real threat. And don't throw any of your hokey theories about comparing present days events to the nazi ideology, they are out there, they are agigtating for political power and they are a threat to our democracy. And Brownback is a willing tool of the extreme right Romney/Ryan Reich.

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tennesseerader 1 year, 8 months ago

The middle class are taxpayers and will benefit from the Governor's plans. The Low Class are people that leach off of the people that work all the time.

0

Patricia Davis 1 year, 8 months ago

Why do I care? I'm a 62 year old woman, past reproductive years and have no grandchildren attending Lawrence schools. If public schools go further down the crap hole, what is it to me? Why do I care? My house is paid for. I live a rather frugal life. I have enough resources for retirement. Why do I care? I am an atheist. What these evangelicals believe does not concern me.

Why do I care? Because this state has been hijacked by the rich and the powerful using religion as the peanut butter on the mousetrap for the great nonthinkers. Because the powerful keep undercutting jobs, reducing benefits, reducing salaries and keep bleating out, "pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps" while they rape and pillage public funds laughing all the way at the silly people who believe the crap they put out there for them to consume and be consumed by.

I do believe in the power of the pendulum. However, I fear that things will get much worse, before it gets better. Too many Kansans have been brainwashed to think the word "democrat" is evil while they put on their brownshirts and marsh lockstep into their own demise.

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 8 months ago

Was the 'Horoscope' section full in today's JW?

'I' ponder, which 'Zodiac' sign was used for this 'prognostication' hit piece?

0

SageonPage 1 year, 8 months ago

Paul Davis is a histrionic liberal who sees his role as the Obama mouth piece regurgitating the dnc's propaganda for the left in the Republic of Lawrence. Who at the LJW gives Scotty the title of lead attack dog for the left? I would like to know if there are any bounds to his extremist leftward slant, or if any drivel as long as it feeds the foaming mouthed left is approved. This tells me someone who signs the checks approves of throwing this ridiculous daily bone to the extreme left is part of the program, sad. I'm not looking for a column from someone on the right, but a little balance would be great. So Scotty tells us that and I quote-" a slew of moderate Senate leaders were defeated in last week’s Republican Party primary, courtesy of a combined effort from Gov. Sam Brownback, the billionaire Koch brothers, Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Kansans for Life." If my math is correct 5 votes won the day and no other rational thinking Kansans voted. 1- Sam Brownback, 2-Koch brothers, 1- KCC and 1- KFL. I'm sure these groups appreciate being all powerful, but it would actually have taken quite a few other Kansans to pull off this victory for common sense.

2

1 year, 8 months ago

The Guv, AKA "Statehouse Bully," has reinforced his statement of, "I don't want any democratic votes on this budget." Unfortunately, now he has the tea party and Koch family backing in the KS legislature to support his theocentric agenda.

The Guv has no fear of the US Constitution as he continues to legislate rights away per the dictates of ALEC and the Koch family. As others say above: women will have no rights concerning their health care; the LGBT community will ostracized and discriminated against worse than ever before; the poor and those living by the skin of their teeth will be driven into the ground; public schools will wither and die as the wealthy attend the proper "Christian" school of their choice because of school vouchers. In addition, the middle class will be driven into non-existence and the state will become a classist society even more than it already is.

Paul Getto is correct in saying the average citizen will get only a few bucks back as property taxes increase and services are cut everywhere. Keep in mind that school funding at the local level comes from property taxes; as the state cuts school funding (The Guv's intention) communities will have to make up the difference somehow. Lawrence can weather the school funding cut for a year or two, but the little towns in western Kansas won't be able to. Those schools will eventually lose their accreditation through lack of funding, teachers leaving and vouchers covering only a small portion of what it takes to attend a private school. I guess Romney's statement that "People should get only as much education as they can afford," has now worked it's way down to the local level thanks to The Guv.

@beebo, the article is not editorializing, it's a statement of fact.

Welcome to Brownbackistan, the home of The Guv, the Kansas Statehouse Bully.

7

autie 1 year, 8 months ago

Thay say the want less of your money? It's mainly a matter of how they get your money. They will end up with anyway.

2

question4u 1 year, 8 months ago

"His spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag added, “Like in the primary, we look forward to a debate on the issues important to Kansans such as smaller government, repealing Obamacare and properly funding essential services like schools, social services and public safety.”

Another Sherriene gem: they look forward to debating whether "services like schools, social services and public safety" should be "properly funded". No prizes for guessing which side of the issue they will be taking on that one.

Does Brownback want a medal from the Chinese? They no doubt couldn't be happier with Flim-Flam Sam's ideas about public school funding. Who needs an well-educated America when the Chinese are excelling in math and producing so many new scientists and engineers? We can get by on low standards and convince ourselves that it's really true that funding levels have no effect on quality of education. We'll let the Chinese fool themselves into believing that prosperity will increase by educating their workforce. In the short term, they can continue to fill America's needs as we cut back on preparing our own kids to fill those rolls. In the long term, they will develop more advanced military technology and will define the cutting edge of information technology. Our military and industry will have a tough time keeping pace, especially if we get to see Ryan's plans put into effect and funding is slashed for basic research. Chinese prosperity should get quite a big boost from that.

But hey, if you're old and expect to die before those things happen, then debating whether education should be properly funded could be fun.

4

Liberty275 1 year, 8 months ago

conservative, liberal - just two sides of the same coin. Hypocrites, liars and oppressors the lot.

Democrats, do you think Americans want Brownback and Romney? We don't. We just don't want them a little less than we don't want democrat thieves. The only difference of any importance is that the right says they want less of my money.

1

observant 1 year, 8 months ago

Easy answer, Koch wins, rest of Kansans lose. Only good thing from this is, GOP/Teabaggers are on way out once they start implementing their christian nutcase policies.

6

Paul R Getto 1 year, 8 months ago

The average citizen will get a few bucks back. Local property taxes will increase and services will be cut everywhere.

6

beebo 1 year, 8 months ago

This story belongs on the editorial page. It is not "news".

3

FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 8 months ago

As has been said before, DRD4 Genies will 'say anything' to get your money.

0

Flap Doodle 1 year, 8 months ago

And the sounds of weeping and micturition did ascend into the firmament and it was vastly amusing. BTW, what's the version of the Godwin flag for out-of-control Taliban references?

4

scarlett 1 year, 8 months ago

Brownback and his religious wingnuts know exactly what they're doing. Theocracy has replaced democracy in kansas, Taliban style, and the dark ages will be a fond memory compared to what's going to happen to people here. There won't be any jobs because the workforce will be uneducated. Anyone intelligent will leave this miserable state. Ten year old girls will be forced to bear children even if they were raped by their uncle. LBGT people will continue to be victimized in every way possible with no legal recourse. The poor will continue to eat cake and pay a greater share of the tax burden. Humanity and compassion are not important to those who've got it. The brownbackistanis have and will continue to go way too far and they'll be smug about it.

Kansans will either fight back or go quietly into the darkness. It's time to choose. The state is an embarassment to human beings.

11

werekoala 1 year, 8 months ago

"prohibit public employee unions from endorsing candidates"

Compare this with:

“Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,”

Y'know, I would respect these guys a lot more if they had any consistency to their ideology. Any underlying ethos at all, really. Take Paul Ryan. I don't agree with the guy, but his track record shows he is sincere in his convictions.

But the two above quotes demonstrate a completely situational and pragmatic view of the First Amendment, not as essential rights of a free and open society, but as privileges to be enhanced or rescinded as needed to advance your agenda.

Basically, these guys are amoral flip-flopping opportunists like Romney, not sincere antagonists like Ryan.

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Shelley Bock 1 year, 8 months ago

I have lived in Kansas for over fifty years. I remember living in communities where the comment by a fellow Kansan was "how can I help...money, time, effort". Now, that neighbor is saying "get away, it's mine and I'm not giving anything to help you."

I personally see the conservative direction of the state going towards isolation, narcissism and greed. Protection of "mine, mine, mine" rather than sharing for the common good. My grandparents survived the Dust Bowl helping out others, and sometimes being helped themselves. That no longer exists. Guess the would have been classified as socialists or communists by some of the commentators on this website. Regardless of wanting to help their neighbor making them socialists, they were darned good people.

Where are the jobs? Have they come to Kansas or coming? Is public education going down the tubes? I believe in religious freedom, freedom for all religions and not promotion of one. I'm certain that Brownback and friends will take credit for any success in the future. But, if there is failure producing gloom and doom, will he step up and say he's wrong? will he hit the road off to Washington? More than likely, he'll blame Democrats, moderates, independents, the Federal government and others for these failures rather than seeing these were ill-advised decisions.

I hope, I sincerely hope, that I'm wrong. I want the best for the State, but fear this is going to be the "Dark Ages" as Mike49 has said. Time will tell.

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Mike1949 1 year, 8 months ago

Kansans lost their freedom this past election. Middle class will be taxed and will join the poor in this state. Women's rights will be assaulted and restricted freedom will be similar to the early 1900's. One of the first things to happen (not in the article) is Brownback will diluted the power of our judicial system so the middle class and the poor can NOT sue for equal rights. Brownback has already promised that! The Republican party will take away money for education in this state so the rich can get almost free private school assistance. The only jobs they (republican party) will bring is $7.50 part time jobs with no insurance. That is the Republican plan, slave labor! I'm ashamed I was born here, and a lot of other Kansans are feeling the same.

What I can't figure out, why or where do these miss guided people come from that they want to destroy Kansas and our rights & freedoms? It breaks my heart that Kansas has turned into a dictatorship of the far right! Their assault on the bottom 75% of the population will go down in history as a second term of the DARK AGES. Again, religion is behind this second one also, but they have help, they are funded by the top 5%.

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